PC Specific Problems
Here’s a passel of advice for common mishaps in the Windows world – Las Vegas PC Repair.
When an application hangs, or freezes, it’s best to give it a few minutes to recover, especially if your hard drive activity light is lit or blinking. If the app remains frozen, press CTRL- SHIFT-ESC to launch the Task Manager. In the Applications tab, select the program and click End Task. No joy? Click the Processes tab, select the application’s main process (be careful to pick the right ones-check ProcessLibrary.com for help), and click End Process. If your computer hangs soon after you connect a removable device to it, such as a USB flash drive or an external hard drive, disconnecting the device may help. In the System Tray/Notification Area, click the Safely Remove Hardware And Eject Media icon, then the device, if it’s present. If it isn’t listed, go ahead and unplug the device. Some hangs can only be fixed by shutting down the computer and restarting it. Click Start and Shut Down. Give Windows time to end every process; if it asks whether it should kill a stubborn application that’s unresponsive, let it. If the normal shutdown method doesn’t work, try pressing CTRL-ALT-DELETE and then clicking the red Shut Down icon. These OS-based shutdown procedures are less likely to lose data than the next options, which involve a bit of tough love. If your system is completely locked up, meaning the drive activity light is off and you can’t even move the mouse pointer, press and hold your PC’s power button for five or more seconds. (If you simply pr s and release the power button, many computers will enter Sleep or Hibernate mode, or try to perform a Windows shutdown.) If the power button doesn’t do anything, you can unplug the computer’s AC power cord. On a desktop, you may have the alternative of flipping the switch on the rear of the power supply. For a laptop, you should also remove its battery for a minute or so.
You try to turn on your computer, but nothing happens. Check the power cable connections from the back of the PC all the way to the wall outlet, including the switch on the power strip or surge protector. Sometimes trying a different outlet helps. Speaking of surge protection, if your power strip’s reset button has been tripped, a lightning strike or other electrical event may have caused a spike, sag, or surge on the line. Determine the cause, so you can take action if there’s a fault in your building’s wiring or too much load on the circuit, such as from a space heater, shop vacuum, or welder. Never re-use a tripped surge protector, as its protection circuit is designed to take damage so your electronic equipment doesn’t. Buy a new one. If your PC won’t start right after you installed a new drive or graphics card, and all power cables are hooked up, you might need a new power supply with more wattage. A partial lack of power (the case fans work, but the rest of the PC doesn’t) may indicate a fried motherboard or dead processor.
Blue screen errors
As with other cryptic error messages, a Web search is your best bet or visit Las Vegas PC Repair. Write down the STOP number, such as 0x000000F4, and any text regarding the type of error, such as Driver Power State Failure. If your PC reboots before you can catch the blue screen information, turn off automatic restarting in case it happens again. Press PAUSE-WIN. Click Advanced System Settings, the Advanced tab, and the Settings button under Startup And Recovery. Uncheck Automatically Restart and click OK.
Suddenly slow performance
Launch the Task Manager by pressing CTRLSHIFT- ESC. Click the Performance tab to see whether your CPU is busy or your RAM (and thus your swap file) is getting a lot of use (more than 1.5GB). If either or both of these are happening, click the Processes tab. Look for processes that have high numbers in the CPU or Memory column. If the Description column or process name indicates a particular application, shut the app down, restart it, and/or update it. For chronically slow performance, defragment your hard drive and make sure it has at least a few GB of free space. Consider upgrading with an SSD, a hybrid drive, and/or more RAM.
An Ounce Of Prevention
PC trouble is no fun. And in a business, lost productivity is lost revenue. Las Vegas PC Repair is the way to go. That’s why it’s best to try and avoid problems by tucking cables away from walkways, keeping your antivirus current, and enabling WPA2 encryption on your Wi-Fi network. Ensure that every laptop and desktop has good ventilation and clean fan grilles. Finally, try to make only one change to your PC at a time. That way, a problematic new device, update, or application will be easier to identify.
Smart Computing | September 2011 p.48
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Fix Your Computer The Easy Way
It’s not really going out on a limb to say that if you run a business, you have one or more computers. And if you have computers, you occasionally have problems. Desktops and notebooks give us guff sometimes. Connections get disconnected. Software goes south. Hardware goes “poof,” and as IT guys like to joke, it doesn’t work after you let the smoke out. Troubleshooting PCs is obviously a huge topic. We’ll cover a lot of ground with the following suggestions, so bear with us if we can’t provide step-by-step instructions for every fix. Las Vegas PC Repair – We’ll use Windows 7 as our example OS in this article, but many of the tips also apply to earlier versions and computers with other OSes, too.
No matter how silly it sounds, always check the obvious stuff when a PC problem crops up. Yes, we’re talking about making sure that your computer is turned on, that it’s plugged in, all cables are still attached, and so on. You’ve got a business to run; you don’t have time to waste running down increasingly unlikely causes for a dead notebook when its battery isn’t fully seated.
It’s true: Restarting a Windows computer really can correct a variety of ills. For maximum effect, shut down the misbehaving PC and then unplug its power cord for 30 seconds or so. Plug it back in, turn it back on, and marvel.
Windows and many apps have come a long way in giving you error messages you can easily understand. Still, it’s pretty typical to see badly written or numeric error codes that can leave you scratching your head. Jot these down and use your favorite search engine, such as Google, to look them up online. If you don’t find anything relevant in the first page or two of results, try a different search engine.
It’s the norm for manufacturers to release updates for their computer products. Downloadable patches can correct issues, add features, improve compatibility, and close security holes. Perhaps you can fix your PC problem with an update to the relevant device driver or firmware, application (although upgrades to a newer major version number usually aren’t free), motherboard BIOS (basic input/ output system), and so on. Be sure to download the correct update for your device model/version and your OS, and follow the manufacturer’s installation procedure exactly Las Vegas PC repair. This is especially important for firmware and BIOS updates, as these can brick a device if installed improperly. Always back up an SSD or hard drive’s data before you flash its firmware.
As you may know, System Restore can roll your Windows system back in time, so to speak. If you have a software problem and you suspect you know what caused it (such as a new program installation or a settings change), System Restore may let you return your PC to a previous state. Press PAUSE-WIN (the Windows logo key), click System Protection, and then click System Restore. On a finer scale, you can reverse smaller changes such as a bad driver upgrade without using System Restore’s broad brush. Press PAUSE-WIN, click Device Manager, and double-click the category of the device in question, such as Display Adapters. Double-click the device, such as ATI Mobility Radeon X1300. Click the Driver tab, and then click Roll Back Driver. You can even uninstall Windows Updates that cause problems. Click Start, Control Panel, and Programs And Features. Click View Installed Updates, and then select the update and click Uninstall. Of course, we don’t recommend that you remove any security-related updates unless you have no other option.
Occasionally, parts may be physically connected to each other without a good electrical connection. A worn contact, a speck of dirt, or a teensy misalignment is all it takes to cause an open circuit, and that means a device won’t work. With the PC off, you can disconnect and reconnect items such as external and internal cables, memory modules, and expansion cards. Sometimes reseating an item returns it to active duty. Work carefully, and be sure to dispel static electricity by touching something metal before you touch your computer.
Smart Computing | September 2011 p.47
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Network access is more important than ever today. For example, cloud computing has made it possible to store our most important emails, documents, images, and other files on a server that we can access anywhere with Internet access. And some applications no longer include installation discs, because you’re expected to be able to download the program from the company’s Web site. As such, it can be a real pain when your network is down, slow, or unreliable.
Two of the most common failure points with networks are your router and the modem. Las Vegas Computer repair – Fortunately, the router is one of the easiest computing devices to fix. Simply turn the router off and turn it back on. This is called power cycling. Often, power cycling the router will allow it to overcome bugs that have caused it to become unresponsive. For example, the router may have had an issue where it could no longer renew its IP address or release new IP addresses for the computers on your network. Power cycling is similar to restarting your computer, in that the software inside the router is restored to a known good state. Similarly, you may need to power cycle the cable,DSL (Digital Subscriber Line), or satellite modem connected to your router to reset the device’s software. If power cycling the router or modem didn’t help, your network adapter is the next component to troubleshoot. You can use the Network Diagnostic utility built into Windows to help find the problem. The Microsoft utility can automatically enable disabled network adapters or request that the router renew your computer’s IP address. To run Network Diagnostic in Windows 7, click the Start button, select Control Panel, choose Network And Internet, and select Network And Sharing Center. Under View Your Active Networks, select the link next to Connections and click the Diagnose button. Windows will run a few tests and may attempt to reset your network adapter. If the Network Diagnostic doesn’t find anything, it’s a good idea to try and reboot your computer. With a wired connection, you’ll also want to check that the Ethernet cable running between your computer and router is firmly connected on both ends. With a wireless connection that uses a USB adapter or PC card, you should also try to remove the wireless adapter d reinsert it to see if it was loose.
My network connection drops intermittently.
There are a variety of reasons you could experience this problem, but one of the more common causes is a problem with the driver for your wired network adapter. With most computers, the wired network port is built into the motherboard, rather than an add-on card, so the manufacturer of your computer or motherboard will provide downloadable drivers for the network adapter. It’s also possible that there’s a new driver available that’s been released to fix the problem you’re currently experiencing. If your computer doesn’t include a name or model number on the exterior, you can figure out who made the motherboard by using CPU-Z (free; www.cpuid.com) from CPUID. On the CPU-Z Web site, click the download link under Download Latest Release and then click the Download Now button. When it finishes downloading, click the Run button and open the CPU-Z program. It will quickly scan the computer and tell you about the specific hardware on your computer. To find out the brand and model number of the motherboard, click the Mainboard tab and look in the Manufacturer and Model fields. Write down the motherboard manufacturer and visit the vendor’s Web site. For example, MSI’s Web site (us.msi.com) features a Downloads tab, which will link you to a page where you can enter MSI products to quickly find drivers, BIOS updates, firmware, and patches. MSI also offers a Live Update Online utility that will scan your PC for drivers and BIOS updates, so you can always keep them up-to-date. You’ll also want to check the physical network connections to see if everything is still securely connected. A connection that’s loose may explain why the connection drops intermittently. It’s possible that the cable may have a cut or kink that causes a fault in the connection. Try replacing the Ethernet cable with a new one, or one that you know works fine.
My connection is occasionally slow.
When Your System Freezes?
Big programs do it. Small programs do it. Good programs do it. Bad programs do it. Old systems do it. New systems do it. All programs do it, and all systems do it. Freezing is a fact of computing life, whether it’s an individual application that stops responding or the entire system that locks up. Anytime this happens your work is at risk, but freezing doesn’t always have to end in catastrophe. We’ll help you understand how to work through issues when they arise and recover from them after the fact.
Regardless of the situation, there are a few general guidelines that can help keep you sane and your system stable. First, above all, be patient. What at first looks like a freeze can often just be slow processing. When in the middle of resource-intensive activities, such as editing video, burning a DVD, or copying large files, many applications and machines run especially slowly and may even appear to hang. Drastic steps are sometimes necessary, but they usually come with a cost. Don’t start forcing a thing to close or shut anything down until you’re certain it’s not just taking a long time to process and you’ve exhausted all other possibilities. As always, protect yourself against the inevitable (but hopefully rare) freezes and crashes that can’t be prevented. Follow the basic rules of computing. Save early and often. Schedule and confirm regular backups of important data. Don’t let hardware or software problems linger-troubleshoot and repair/replace as soon as feasible. Use antivirus and antispyware tools to protect your system from infection or invasion; Las Vegas computer repair – many freezes can be attributed to the impact of malware.
Power Surge Hits Your Computer
It wasn’t that big of a storm. You figured everything would be fine. After resetting the alarm clock and oven display, you didn’t give the computer a second thought-until now. The printer is still on, the router downstairs is blinking away happily, but your PC won’t boot up. You try several times, panic welling, but can’t get it going. What’s wrong? There are several possible answers, but most stem from the simple fact that you plugged that computer directly into the wall, bypassing the opportunity for both surge protection and uninterruptible power.
Power Protection 101
Before we start figuring out the problem and how to address it, let’s get some terminology straight. Surges and spikes have very precise technical definitions. For our purposes, though, we’ll include surges with the moderate to strong fluctuations that commonly afflict our electrical system. Short-term “surges” in power usually result from devices powering up and down, or from variations in power grid conditions. Spikes, on the other hand, are massive and sudden floods of power that can overwhelm the entire infrastructure (or at least a localized segment of it). Spikes are usually caused by nearby electromagnetic disturbances, including lightning strikes. The difference is important as you clarify your needs. All good surge protectors guard against small to moderate surges. Nothing will protect against a direct hit by lightning. Where your needs fall in between those extremes depends on your budget and the value of your equipment and the data on it.
A UPS (uninterruptible power supply) provides a cushion against a complete loss of power. We all know it’s a bad idea to turn off a computer abruptly without allowing it to go through its proper shutdown process. A power outage, by definition, will shut everything off in an instant. If you’re in the middle of something, even a basic UPS can give you a few crucial minutes for saving and shutting down. More advanced models work with specialized software and your PC to facilitate a graceful shutdown even when you aren’t around.
So how do you know what to look for? In surge protectors, more joules and a lower clamping voltage are better. Also, a fuse or auto-disconnect provide better protection from spikes. Most UPS models also act as surge protectors, so you’ll want to start with similar specs. Additionally, make sure a UPS provides enough wattage to support your system and enough time for you to bring it down.