Everyone runs into problems with their computers sometimes and it can be a real productivity killer. There are of course a number of reasons why your computer may be running below par, so to help you out here are some common problems and solutions.
Often the problem stems from a lack of care – computers are like anything else – they need tidying up and keeping clean. So all of those toolbars in your web browser need to go and users need to be much more careful when downloading software and material obtained from the internet.
You’ve not turned it off
Like us computers need to sleep sometimes and in many cases a computer is running slower than usual due to being ‘awake’ for too long. Sometimes it’s necessary to reboot your computer and let it reset and wake up properly, in turn allowing you a better digital experience. Boot and reboot are simply different terms for Start and Restart, so it’s a simple task and one that most users are more than capable of carrying out themselves.
The reboot process will load the operating system and start all of the initial processes. This means that by restarting your computer you give the device a chance to run more smoothly and open applications from a fresh setting.
Often a reboot is required after activities have affected the machines functionality.
Some of the main reasons are:
- Implementing Windows updates
- Changes to the PC’s registry
So for example, after rebooting Windows it will run the PC with the new registry entries. This isn’t quite the same process as a Reset as the BIOS data may not be reloaded.
Effectively it comes down to organisational skills and discipline. In many cases software installations don’t require a restart but some do so it’s worth being aware of the specific needs relating to the installation of new software. Remember that sometimes an installation will suggest a restart now or later and many users will ignore the now option and postpone restarting their device.
It seems like we can save time now and restart the computer later but the problem with this approach is that later can be a lot later. During this time your computer is still waiting to resolve an action and the longer that it’s left the more patches, updates and ignored restart requests build up.
Most of the time the activities listed above (installing, uninstalling, etc) will be much more effective with a Reboot or a Restart. By restarting a device you allow it to clear the cache, clear RAM, and your computer will tune up a bit.
One suggestion to keep in mind – don’t turn your computer off from the power source. Make sure that you restart your computer properly to ensure no damage to the machine or its hardware.
Cluttered Hard Drive
Your hard drive is where everything gets stored on your computer and it has limited space. Free hard drive space is simply the amount of space on the disk that is not currently in use. You can perform actions with this free space such as writing data to it. Free space is mostly utilised to store files and data, but it also serves to allow swap file space and virtual memory required for computer programs to operate.
A good rule of thumb is to keep a minimum of 20% free hard drive space and attempt to increase that space whenever possible.
Corrupted or Fragmented Hard Drive
There are a number of reasons why a hard drive may be corrupted and the most obvious one is an improper shut down. This is easily avoided and many of us fail to consider that turning a computer off incorrectly could have such a negative outcome. However the main reason, or the most prolific one, for a hard drive problem is the sudden switching off of a PC via a power supply. Your hard drive problem could be due to a virus, but whatever the reason scanning a corrupted computer hard drive will make the process of recovering data much more difficult.
You may have to reformat your hard drive but prior to doing so make sure that you’ve saved any and all data you wish to keep. Consult a professional if in doubt because once it’s gone it’s not coming back (or more to the point, it costs far too much for you to consider data retrieval). The key is effective diagnosis, as once you know what the problem is it becomes much easier to deal with it and find the best solution.
- Run Scan Disk or an equivalent software option to determine if there is anything physically wrong with your hard drive
- Run Defrag to help ensure that data is arranged in the best possible order
There are more problems than there are solutions when it comes to PCs; however, if you look after your device and install software that is well reviewed you shouldn’t run into too many problems. Good research and prevention techniques, like anti virus software, allow users to keep their computers running smoothly and with no negative impact in terms of productivity and workflow.