Stubborn computer, slow internet connection, striking printer – you can solve many typical IT problems yourself. We explain how to cope with these problems.
Troubleshooting is part of everyday business with PCs. Especially with older arithmetic men. But before you pay a lot of money for support, try it yourself first. We provide solutions for the most common problems.
Rebooting works wonders
It doesn’t sound particularly resourceful, but the first thing you should do is restart your PC if your computer starts to bother. After that, the computer runs smoothly again in most cases.
Also, keep Windows up to date by enabling the automatic Windows update. Updates can contain important bug fixes and performance improvements.
If you have problems with a peripheral device, turn it off and then on again. If that doesn’t work, try reconnecting the device. As a last resort, download the latest drivers and do a complete clean install.
Your computer is too slow
If your computer is too slow, the first step is to check that the device itself is the cause of the problem. If videos just take a long time to load or websites don’t display anything, it’s not your computer. For example, use our free speed meter test to determine your broadband speed .
If your PC is the problem, check whether there is enough space on your system hard drive. Because Windows needs plenty of free space to create data while your system is running. If your hard drive is full, performance will suffer.
Muck out Auto-Start
Microsoft’s system configuration tool, msconfig, should be your next step in the event of lack of performance. Many applications start automatically when you turn on your PC, which can increase boot time significantly, especially on older, slower computers. You should therefore delete programs you do not need from your autostart. Press the Windows key together with “R” and enter msconfig in the prompt that appears and then press the Enter key.
The msconfig tabs “Startup” and “Services” are the best way to safely deactivate potential performance restrictions. However, do not shut down any (!) Services and applications for which Microsoft Corporation is specified as the manufacturer. Programs like AdobeAAMUpdater, Google Update, Pando Media Booster, Spotify, and Steam Client Bootstrapper can easily be removed. You should be careful with programs that you do not know what they are for and it is better not to switch them off.
Once you have made all the changes, click OK and restart your computer. It should start faster and feel faster too.
Downloads are taking too long
Speedmeter.de is very suitable for testing your internet connection. Start a speed test to see your download and upload speeds. These should be at least 50 percent of the speed specified by your provider, with a ping of less than 100 milliseconds.
If the speed seems plausible, then see whether you are unconsciously downloading or uploading in the background. Many torrent download programs run in the background and are minimized to the notification area of the system tray.
Also, check your network hardware. If your network card manufacturer offers a new driver, download and install it. Resetting the router or modem can help with connection problems. Most routers and modems have reset buttons for this, otherwise you can also pull out the power cord briefly to achieve the same effect.
Are you still having problems? Then call your Internet service provider. They can tell you whether the problem is yours or whether the internet connection is generally disrupted in your street or neighborhood. It may also provide you with an update for your router software if it has been damaged for whatever reason.
Delete data on the SSD completely and safely
Your computer keeps restarting
Hardware problems are difficult to spot and just as difficult to fix. Update all of your important system drivers. Your graphics card, motherboard, and network card are especially important.
Is your computer making strange noises? If you are lucky, all you have to do is clean it thoroughly. Modern computers have safeguards that shut down the system if a component overheats, which can cause frequent restarts when running complex programs or games.
Pop-up advertisements will appear on your desktop
If you haven’t opened an internet browser but still receive pop-ups, you have most likely installed adware (a program that shows unwanted advertisements). Getting rid of adware is not always easy.
A complete check with a professional antivirus software is the first step. If this program fails to find and remove the adware, use Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free to remove all types of adware. Switch off your antivirus software before starting the program.
An online search for the product advertised in the adware can often reveal solutions from other victims. If all fails there is always the drastic method: a complete reinstallation of the system. This can take a long time, but it is the only surefire way to get rid of adware and spyware. In this case, remember to back up your personal data beforehand.
How to keep your browser free from adware
Google doesn’t look like it used to
“Browser hijacker” (Browser – Hijackers) are a particularly annoying type of malware. Such programs take control of your browser and can then secretly redirect your Google searches and other queries to the wrong pages in order to steal your personal information or infect your system even further.
A real-time antivirus program is the best protection against this. If your browser is already infected, uninstall it and use an antivirus program to remove the intruder.
Your WiFi keeps losing connection
You should first make sure that your computer is within range of your wireless router. Weak signals also result in a weak connection. Next, check that the driver for your network card is up to date. See if Windows can find the error for you by right-clicking the WLAN symbol in your system tray and selecting Troubleshoot.
You keep getting the message “There is a problem with the website’s security certificate”
A properly functioning system clock can also cause problems.
Security certificates from websites synchronize with the clock on your computer. Old computers in particular run the risk of falling victim to a dead CMOS battery (the battery in your PC that keeps the system clock running). Click the clock in your system tray and select Change Date / Time to troubleshoot related issues.
Your printer doesn’t want to print
Your printer drivers are up-to-date and there is enough paper and ink in the printer. Even so, it just doesn’t print. Turn the printer off and on again. Unplug the printer and plug it in again. Check the queue of documents to be printed on your printer by double-clicking the printer icon in your system tray. This menu shows you the status of your print jobs as well as the general status of your printer.
How to solve printer problems
There must be no tick next to “Use printer offline”. Sometimes it can cause Windows to take your printer offline if you print while your printer is off. This can hinder print jobs that are sent later.
You cannot open mail attachments
The most common case of attachments are PDF files, for which you can download a free PDF reader. If the file format is different, start a web search for the file extension, i.e. for the three letters after the name of the file. This tells you which program you need to open. If the name is missing after the date name, change the file name and reinsert the correct extension. Windows should then recognize the file and be able to open it with the correct program.
One of your programs doesn’t work on your new PC
Check that the software you are trying to install is compatible with your operating system. Older software may no longer work under Windows 8. A 32-bit program can run on your 64-bit operating system, but the other way round is not possible.
If an online game is stuck, you may not have the necessary plug-ins. These are usually Java and Flash. Most browsers will tell you when it is necessary to install these programs.
When you should let it be
You should contact customer service if you are facing problems that you are not comfortable resolving. If you are unsure, it is better to avoid loss of warranty or possible damage to the system. You should be aware of what you can and cannot do. If you think the problem is too complicated, give a friend who is more experienced or take a bite the bullet and call for professional technical support .