Computer repair can be costly.
But there are plenty of things you can try before paying for IT support. If your computer stops working, try one of the following nine tips. Each one is risk-free, so you won’t damage your device if you follow the instructions carefully (most of what we’re about to share is what a qualified IT services professional will try first anyway).
Just bear in mind: these computer repair tips focus on Windows PCs, not Macs. But many of them will work on any device — ready to try some at-home IT support?
9 Repair Tips For Computers That Will Start-Up
These tips assume your computer starts up and then encounters a problem (like it runs slowly or the screen freezes) — if your computer won’t start: skip to the end of the article, where you’ll find three bonus tips.
Tip 1: Backup Your Files
The first tip won’t fix your computer. But it could save you a headache.
A slow-running computer often indicates a more severe issue, so the first step to take is to back up your files. That way, if the problem escalates, you won’t lose any important information or have to pay for data backup services. You can simply access your files from an external hard drive or a cloud storage solution.
To avoid losing important files and photos, backup all your data to a hard drive or cloud storage in case a hiccup turns into a meltdown.
Tip 2: Restart Your Device
‘On-and-off again’ is cliché advice. But it has earned that status, so even if you doubt a restart will work, always try because it solves so many problems.
- If the screen has frozen, hold the power button until your device turns off, give it a second to cool, then power-up again.
- If a forced shut-down doesn’t work, either turn it off at the mains (if a desktop) or remove the battery before replacing it (if a laptop).
Tip 3: Run A Security Scan
If your device isn’t working as expected, run a security scan.
Malware and computer viruses can slow a system to a snail’s pace. If a security scan detects a problem, at least you’ll know why. If you haven’t installed any security software, download it now: we suggest you try one of our recommended top five antivirus programs for small businesses.
Tip 4: Only Use One Antivirus Program
When it comes to antivirus software, downloading two programs won’t double the protection. Windows 8 or 10 machines include Microsoft Defender as standard, so installing SentinelOne, McAfee, or Norton will only cause a conflict… and a conflict could cause a crash.
Only ever have one active antivirus program running if you want optimal performance.
Tip 5: Remove New Programs
If there’s no security risk, maybe a recent download is causing the issue. You can check by uninstalling the last program you added to your system — to uninstall a program on Windows:
- Hit Start
- Select Control Panel
- Click Add or remove programs
Once you’ve removed the software, check to see if your device gets back to normal speed — if it does, consider reinstalling the program to see if it works better the second time around.
Tip 6: Uninstall Duplicate Programs
Computers can run slowly if two versions of the same software run simultaneously (which can happen if you mistakenly reinstall a program to get the latest version instead of running a software update). You can check for duplicate programs in the Control Panel — run through your downloads, and if you spot a double: uninstall both, then reinstall the latest version.
Tip 7: Install Pending Updates
Tip-top performance relies on you using the latest software. And you’ll only be using the latest software if you run frequent updates.
You can set your device to check for and install updates automatically. If it’s been a while since you last checked, see what updates are available and afford your computer the time to download each one.
It will be worth the wait.
Tip 8: Run A System Restore
Now we’re onto more dramatic solutions.
A system restore reverts a device back to the last state in which it was working well. That may mean you lose certain programs, but it could be the only way to find a fix — to kick-start a system restore:
- Hit Start
- Select All Programs
- Choose Accessories
- Click System Tools
- Start the System Restore
Once you’re in the restore window, you’ll see the restore date highlighted in bold (assuming one’s available). When you click the date, a step-by-step guide will take you through the rest of the process.
Tip 9: Run A System Repair
For this, you’ll need the original Windows OS disc.
Put the disc in the drive, then restart the device. On restart, your computer will give you several options: choose ‘Repair’ and let the system take care of itself.
WARNING: DO NOT SELECT ‘INSTALL WINDOWS’ — if you do, your drive will wipe clean, erase all of your data, and reinstall Windows from scratch.
3 Bonus Tips For Computers That Won’t Start-Up
If your computer doesn’t start, there are still a few things you can try before you call the IT services department.
Bonus Tip 1: Check Internal Connections (Desktops Only)
If a desktop computer isn’t starting, it may be that a cable or connection has come loose.
Open the casing using a screwdriver, check every wire is firmly in place, then try to power up again. Loose connections in laptops are less common. But if you’ve recently installed a new memory device, check it’s properly attached.
Bonus Tip 2: Try Mains Power (Laptops Only)
If a laptop doesn’t start, plug it into the mains to see if that does the trick. The shelf-life of batteries is limited, so it may be time to get a new one if your laptop runs off the mains.
Bonus Tip 3: Start-Up In ‘Safe Mode’
If your computer crashes on start-up, try booting it in ‘safe mode.’
You do this by pressing F8 repeatedly as soon as you switch it on. If successful, you’ll see an on-screen menu that includes the ‘Safe Mode’ option: select it, and hopefully, your computer will at least stay on, allowing you to run further checks, including a security scan.
If you need professional IT support services, give Mid-coast Tech a call at 207-223-7594, and let’s see if we can help.