Be your own tech expert

Updated: Apr 19, 2020, 09:01 IST | Jaison Lewis | Mumbai

With the lockdown extended, getting a technician to come home to fix your computer is an impossibility. While hardware issues will be difficult to resolve, most software problems can be solved in a few steps. Here's how

Always try restarting first
The first thing you must do while trying to solve any software problem is to try restarting the computer or just turn it off. Press the power button for five seconds in case the computer has hung. Disconnect the power, wait for a minute and then connect the power and turn the computer back on. This will work most of the time and is the most common trick to get your computer to start working again. It was even a running gag on the IT Crowd TV show.

My computer is running slow
If restarting hasn't worked and your computer isn't ancient, then you might want to start by checking if the problem lies with your computer. If downloads are slow, try using speedtest.net to see if you are getting the right Internet speed. If your programs are running slow, then check your main drive in Windows Explorer, it is usually (C:). If it shows as red, try moving some files from the main drive into other drives or pen drives. Do not touch files in the Windows, Program files and Root directory (aka C:). Files on Desktop are safe to delete. You can use "Disk Clean-up" to clean temp files safely. Search for Disk Clean-up in the search bar next to the Start/Windows icon. You can also uninstall unused programs by Pressing Windows key + R and typing appwiz.cpl.

Virus and Malware
Viruses and malware can be a big issue, so it is recommended that you install decent antimalware and antivirus. Make sure your Windows is up to date and Windows Security is updated. In case you are already infected by malware, try running Malware Bytes. However, if you are looking for a complete suite try Bitdefender or Kaspersky. These are expensive, but it will give you peace of mind.

Screen is blank
On a laptop, try pressing the Function key + the screen icon on the top row of the keyboard. This is to rule out that the external screen mode isn't activated. If that doesn't work, try restarting the computer. However, if this fails it may indicate a bigger problem. On a desktop, first check if all the connections, including power, are properly secure, after which you may need to restart the PC. If the computer doesn't show any display, you may need technical assistance.

Windows won't boot
If you have restarted your computer already, then wait for a while. Sometimes Windows takes a lot of time to boot when it has either detected a damaged hard drive or if it is upgrading. If your computer hangs before booting Windows more than once, you may need to go into Safe Mode and perform a System Restore. Follow the instructions: https://bit.ly/smdsafemode.

How not to lose everything
Turn on System Restore: System Restore is the one thing that is going to save you in a crisis. But before you use it, you need to turn it on. Open Control Panel>System and Security>System Protection. Click on Configure to save a system restore point.

Backup, backup, backup: Regularly back up important data on external drives; for extra security back them up twice. You can also perform a backup of important files on your Google Drive, you may need to buy more space, but it is usually worth the investment. AOMEI Backupper and Cobian Backup are good programs to use for backing up your most important files.

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