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Solutions to Common Computer Problems New Orleans Personal Computer Club May 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "Solutions to Common Computer Problems New Orleans Personal Computer Club May 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 Solutions to Common Computer Problems New Orleans Personal Computer Club May 2010

2 Hardware Issues - Desktops Unusual noises –Failing fans –Hard drive dying Power supply dying or underpowered –Consumer-level machines usually have small supplies Bad capacitors Electrical issues

3 Hardware Issues – Desktops Environmental issues –Dust –Pets –Food particles –Vermin Usually through missing slot covers –Tobacco stains mixed with any of the above

4 Hardware Issues – Desktops Preventative Maintenance –Use canned air periodically to dust out insides Depending on environment, you might take want to take PC outside for its dusting –Use a good surge suppressor or better, an Uninterruptable Power Supply –Use power saving functions responsibly and turn off (or Standby) computers when not in use for more than a few hours

5 Hardware Issues – Laptops Loose screen hinges Power jack coming loose Battery unable to hold a charge –Average lifespan of laptop batteries is about 3-4 years –Time span of charge usually will depreciate towards end of life –Third-party replacements are widely available for most models

6 Hardware Issues – Laptops Environmental issues –Dust –Pets –Food particles –Accidental abuse Cracked display most common

7 Hardware Issues – Laptops Preventative Maintenance –Get a good carrying case or knapsack with adequate padding –Keep it away from environmental hazards Pets Short-tempered people

8 Windows OS issues Blue Screens Of Death (BSOD) Viruses, Spyware, Ad-ware (Malware) –Make sure security programs definition/ pattern files are up-to- date –Beware of drive-by downloads! –Recommend ad-blocking extensions Cryptic Error Messages –Plug error message into search engine; somebody else is likely to have experienced it and inquired about it Application errors Driver errors –Check manufacturer site for any possible updates

9 Windows OS issues Performance (overall speed) issues –Many items/folders on Desktop, items in System Tray Do NOT store any data files on the desktop! MSCONFIG is diagnostic utility; do not check Selective Startup, disable individual items and leave it –RAM amount Many hardware vendors will cheap out on this since RAM is expensive when new –When adding RAM, use fastest speed supported by PCs motherboard; usually no or little price difference –Stick with name brands; dont use generic/OEM compatible modules XP needs 512mb, recommend about 1gig Vista/7 needs 1gig, recommend about 2gigs or more

10 Windows OS issues Performance issues –Clutter Most new consumer machines are bundled with what can be termed as shovelware – can be uninstalled with enough effort On Vista/7, turn Sidebar off Windows accumulates a lot of files that are supposed to get automatically deleted but dont –Fragmentation

11 Windows OS issues Preventative Maintenance –Periodically run a cleaner utility such as CCleaner –Periodically defrag the hard drive(s) –Run virus scanner on some type of schedule Install ONE antivirus program –Store data files somewhere under Documents or My Documents folder –Delete obsolete data –Uninstall trialware from system –Develop backup regimen

12 Windows OS issues Preventative Maintenance –Resist the urge to install any new program or add-on that claims to make life easier –Limit programs running in the System Tray –Limit access to physical computer If not possible, set up strong password on user account(s), and also on the Administrator account

13 Windows OS issues Reinstallation, rebuild, Nuke & Pave –Do it only as a last resort –When properly maintained, Windows installations can run properly for many years –If your PC uses a recovery partition with the option for user-generated recovery media, DO IT! –If rebuild is needed, schedule a large amount of time for this task Backup all data first Have all install media at hand A good Windows install can take at least 3 hours

14 Internet Service Provider Issues Connectivity –Verify PC is getting IP address –If using wireless, try wired connection Dell laptops automatically disable wired network port when on battery power! –If using a wireless or wired router, sometimes it is necessary to bypass it for effective troubleshooting

15 Internet Service Provider Issues Connectivity – cable modem setups –I–If switching around equipment on cable modem, power cycle modem for at least *three minutes* –C–Cable modems require RG6 coaxial cable in order to maintain a steady connection (many older installations have RG-59, which is much thinner) –M–Many Motorola SURFBoard modems have a Standby button on top- never touch it!

16 Connectivity – DSL modem setups –Make absolutely sure filters are in place Make sure DSL modem is NOT filtered! –Fax machines, answering devices all need to be filtered –Alarm systems with auto-dialers will likely need outside filter –When using routers with DSL modems, set modem to Bridged Ethernet, set router to PPPoE with UserID + Password

17 Internet Service Provider Issues Slow speeds –When in doubt, check using a good testing site like –Check only on wired network connection; wireless and USB connections do not count! Many cordless phones use 2.4ghz band –Check multiple times, and turn off unnecessary internet-using apps –Upgrade router firmware, if available

18 Internet Issues Preventative maintenance –Do NOT click on any type of link on a web page that is an obvious advertisement –Resist signing up for special offers and other ploys to get your marketing information –Use strong passwords on sites that require a login ID Use special characters when allowed –Use a browser other than Internet Explorer –Make sure wireless connection is locked down using encryption, at least WPA-level

19 Getting Outside Help Sometimes its necessary; recognize your limits Minimize outside distractions Communicate clearly Follow troubleshooting instructions, be able to read error messages that are showing Treat the tech professionally Answer all questions as best as possible

20 Getting Outside Help - ISPs Problems such as passwords, mail client configurations, and power cycling do not require on-site trouble call visits If the ISP has to send a tech for a trouble call and the problem is found to be anywhere in Customer Premise Equipment, the service call is billable to the customer –Exception: the customer is paying extra for insurance on services

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