Tips & Guides
June 17, 2021

Common Computer Issues and What you Can Do to Fix Them

Here’s BuddyCompany’s take on the most common computer issues you should be aware of, how to fix them and how to prevent them in the first place.

We rely on our computers for so much these days – whether it’s to earn a living, unwind after a long day or keep in touch with family. That’s why, when something goes wrong, it can feel like the world is ending!

Don’t worry though, we’ve got you covered! Here’s BuddyCompany’s take on the most common computer issues you should be aware of, how to fix them and how to prevent them in the first place.

most common computer issues - Techbuddy infographic

1. My computer won’t turn on

The most basic problem is when your computer won’t even turn on. There could be several reasons for this, ranging from the simple to the complex.

The first thing you need to think of is the power supply. Most of the time, if your desktop computer won’t turn on it is because there’s a problem with the electrical connection. It could be a loose or faulty cable or a damaged power socket. Check the computer is plugged in properly (or charged if it’s a laptop or MacBook) and test the power socket with another device.

If the issue persists, it might be a sign that the battery is to blame. In this case, contact a tech support provider (like BuddyCompany) to come and check it. They’ll advise you on how to replace the battery, if necessary, or help identify and solve other potential root causes. On a side note – older MacBooks require at least 3% of battery to turn on. So, if you have one of these, give it a few minutes after plugging into the socket before powering it up. 

2. The screen won’t turn on

If you can hear your PC booting up but there’s nothing on the screen, there could be an issue with the cables that connect the computer to the screen. Connections can loosen or become worn over time. First, check if the cables are properly plugged into the monitor and the computer. If you have a spare monitor, you could also test it to see if the problem is related to the monitor or computer.  

Beyond the connections, the problem could be more serious; for instance, faulty internal wiring of the monitor or the graphics card. If this is the case, a tech support provider like BuddyCompany is definitely your best bet. They’ll be able to pinpoint the problem and determine whether repairing or replacing your hardware is the best fix.

3. The screen has frozen

Ah, the old screen freeze. Sometimes, your computer gets so overloaded that it downs tools and says “that’s it. I’ve had enough!” This typically happens if you have multiple programs or browser tabs open at the same time. Most of the time, the solution is quite simple and just requires you to do a reboot.

This is very straightforward: on most desktops, there is a separate reboot button, just next to the power button. For laptops and MacBooks, you’ll need to press and hold the power button until the computer turns off, then reboot it. 

Back in the day, when your screen froze you’d often lose all unsaved work. Thankfully, with many people using cloud storage, your files can be safely backed up automatically. For instance, working with cloud-based tools like Google Workspace or Office 365 means your progress on your super important business presentation or accounting spreadsheet is never lost completely should things go wrong. 

Still, a frozen screen is definitely cause for concern, especially if it’s happening regularly. The main causes usually include low system memory, corrupt files, or a computer virus. Contact a Buddy to run a full diagnostic test and get to the root of the problem.

4. My computer is running slower than a sloth in summer

computer is running slow

Modern life is all about speed. Order a pizza nowadays and it’ll arrive a few ticks after you click ‘order now.’ That’s why a slow computer can frustrate us like nothing else, save for maybe a traffic jam.

A slow computer is a sign of too much going on at once. So, the first step is to check which applications are open. 

  • On a mac: hit Cmd + Alt + Escape to open the force quit applications menu. 
  • On a Windows PC: open the task manager with Ctrl + Alt + Delete. Then simply close down any applications you’re not using. 

Another possibility is that a software clean-up is needed. This happens when your hard drive becomes fragmented – basically, when the data, such as software programs, is jumbled up and scattered and doesn’t fit into the spaces on the hard drive. To find and resolve potential issues, you’ll need to carry out a system check.

Then:

  • check the task manager plus the Performance Monitor and Windows Memory Diagnostic apps (just type the app names in the search bar and then click open). There, you’ll be able to see what is affecting RAM and processing speed. 
  • If you’re tech-savvy, you can then use these tools to carry out their recommended steps and instructions to, hopefully, resolve the main issues.

If your computer is still sluggish or you need help with any of the aforementioned steps, it’s time to call the experts in.

5. The rest of the computer is fine, but my internet is really slow or keeps disconnecting

Whether you’ve got standard cable internet or super-fast fiber optic, you may well experience a slow connection from time to time. Of course, you can always easily check the internet connection by looking at the WiFi connection signal in the top right (Mac) or bottom right (Windows) of your screen.

If your internet works fine most of the time but suddenly things go south, the solution could be something as simple as a quick reboot. Just turn the router off and on again – you’ll find the switch at the back of the device.  

In case of experiencing internet issues more frequently, first, ensure that you have set up your home network in an optimal way. Everything from the positioning of the router to the type and amount of devices you’re using can affect the speed of your connection. 

A slow internet connection could also be down to the number of persistent cookies on your browser. If you notice your internet connection speed is normal when using a different browser, this could be the problem. See BuddyCompany’s guide to cookies to find out more and for advice on how to delete and limit cookies on your browser.

Lastly, slow WiFi performance could also be due to something more technical. From conflicts in the IP address registration to hardware problems, there will be some issues that require the assistance of tech experts.

6. My computer is making lots of noise

If your computer or laptop is suddenly making a lot of noise, it can definitely be a cause for concern, even if it’s not yet affecting its performance. For instance, hard drives often make a buzzing or grinding sound shortly before failing. If you hear something like this, take action as soon as you can.

Loud noises often come down to overheating. A noisy fan is a very common computer problem and often goes hand-in-hand with a slow computer. This is because the processor speed automatically decreases to be able to cope with overheating.

It could be a simple case of your computer needing a physical clean. Dust, dirt, and other things can clog up the inside of your computer, causing reduced airflow. This is one of the major causes of an overworked fan and overheated system.

Cleaning a desktop computer case is fairly simple and is something most computer users can do themselves. First, make sure your computer is fully unplugged. Then, open the case using a screwdriver to remove all screws and use compressed air to blow any dust and dirt away, especially in air vents and fans. You can get compressed air from most hardware or computer stores.

If you don't feel comfortable opening and cleaning the interior of your computer, or the problem persists, it might be time to call tech support.

7. Everything has gone blue

blue screen of death

With its suitably dramatic name – the Blue Screen of Death – a blue screen is the last thing that any computer user wants to see. It usually means a hardware failure and can mean your computer will need a full check from an expert. In some cases, a simple reboot can solve the problem. Give this a go first. If it doesn’t fix the issue, call a Buddy.

The blue screen will be accompanied by lines of white text – these are error codes, which your Buddy will use to diagnose the problem. It could mean a small system upgrade is necessary. Or it might mean a piece of important hardware has malfunctioned. Either way, your Buddy will be able to get to the bottom of it.

Don’t hesitate to ask for help!

That’s why we’re here! BuddyCompany is dedicated to helping you through your computer issues, in the comfort of your own home. If any of the advice in this guide hasn’t cleared the problem up, a Buddy will. 

So, book your Buddy and let an expert take care of things!

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