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Common computer faults and how you can solve them

There is little more frustrating than an unexpected computer fault. 

But, fear not; the team at Arc Systems have collected the answers to some of the most common computer fault questions asked in recent years. So read on to master your pc nightmares.


The Computer Won’t Start

A loose connection is a common culprit; check your computer’s power cable is securely connected to the plug socket. If that doesn’t work, test the plug socket by connecting a device you know is working. If it no longer works, the problem is your plug socket.

If your computer will turn on, but suddenly shuts off could have a failing power supply. 

Blank Computer Screen

If you know your pc tower is working but the screen is black, there is likely a connection issue between the tower and the screen. 

Firstly, check the monitor power cable is securely connected to a plug socket. Then check any cables connecting from your pc tower to your monitor – these kinds of faults are usually due to loose connections.

If you’re having the same problem, but on a laptop, then you will need to take it to a professional. The internal cables may be worn.


Unresponsive or Malfunctioning Operating System or Software

When your operating system (e.g. Windows) becomes unresponsive or malfunctions, the first thing you should do is a simple restart and virus scan. You can avoid running into this problem again by installing reliable anti-virus software.

Windows Won’t Boot

If you’re running Windows 10, you can use its Startup Repair function to fix problems that prevent Windows from running. Access this via the Windows 10 installation disc or a flash drive.

After inserting the disc or flash drive into your PC, give it a reboot. You should now boot to and follow the on-screen instructions through to ‘Repair your computer.’


The Screen is Frozen

When your computer freezes, you may have no other option than reboot and risk losing unsaved work. Freezes can signify insufficient RAM, registry conflicts, corrupt or missing files, or spyware. 

Press and hold the power button until the computer turns off, then restart it and get to work cleaning up the system so that it doesn’t freeze again.

Run a disk clean up to free up space and remove unwanted files.

To delete temporary files:

  1. In the search box on the taskbar, type disk cleanup and click through to it.
  2. Select the drive you want to clean up, and then select OK.
  3. Under Files to delete, select the file types to get rid of. To get a description of the file type, select it.
  4. Select OK.

If you need to free up more space, you can also delete system files:

  1. In Disk Cleanup, select Clean up system files.
  2. Select the file types to get rid of. To get a description of the file type, select it.
  3. Select OK.

Computer is Slow

If your computer is slower than usual, you can often fix the problem simply by cleaning the hard disk of unwanted files (as above). You may also benefit from installing a firewall, anti-virus and spyware tools and by scheduling regular registry scans. 

Furthermore, external hard drives are great storage solutions for overtaxed CPU’s and will help your computer run faster.

You can find some great reasonably priced external hard drive options on amazon – Amazon External Hard drives.


Strange Noises Coming from your Computer

There are two likely reasons for your computer to be making strange noises. The first is a noisy fan cooling your CPU or GPU; you can easily replace these. Check your core temperatures and GPU temp to diagnose which of the two is causing your problem.

The second reason could be due to a hardware malfunction. Hard drives often make noise just before they fail, so back up your files to be safe.

Slow Internet

To improve your Internet browser performance, clear cookies and Internet temporary files frequently. In the Windows search bar, type ‘%temp%’ and hit enter to open the temporary files folder.

  1. Press the Windows Button + R to open the “Run” dialog box.
  2. Enter this text: %temp%
  3. Click “OK.” This will open your temp folder.
  4. Press Ctrl + A to select all. 
  5. Press “Delete” on your keyboard and click “Yes” to confirm.
  6. All temporary files will be deleted.

Note: If a file is in use, it may not be able to be deleted. 


Applications Won’t Install

It can be frustrating if you’ve downloaded a new application, but your computer refuses to install it. Sometimes, the application will begin installing but will take a long time to load. Other times, it will not start the process at all.

If your computer is not responding, it may be worth restarting it to see if it has simply frozen and needed a reset.

However, the most common reason for this computer issue is the lack of storage space. To resolve this issue, begin by sorting through your files, deleting any that you no longer need. An easy way to start is by looking through your downloads folder as this can contain some large files. Also, prioritise deleting photo and video files as these typically take up a lot of space. Lastly, there may be applications that open automatically when the device starts. Usually, these applications may be running in the background which may delay your installation time significantly, while increasing your memory usage (RAM).

At this stage, you may also want to review applications and software that you no longer use as this could massively impact your hard drive storage space. 


To remove an application:

  1. Find your applications folder using the search tool
  2. Scroll to the application you’d like to delete
  3. Right-click and select ‘uninstall’

Once you feel you have cleared an adequate amount of space, try installing the new application once more.


The Sound Isn’t Working

Are you trying to watch a video but no audio is playing? This is a common computer fault. 

First, check that you have turned your volume level up. Next, click the sound icon along the bottom of your screen, it usually looks like a miniature speaker. 

If you see an ‘x’ symbol next to the sound icon, this means your sound is muted. Simply click again to unmute.Also, check the audio player controls. For example, if you are watching a YouTube video, ensure the volume button on the video itself is on and turned up to the appropriate level. 

If you are using external speakers, ensure the cables are plugged in securely to the audio source. If you are using wireless Bluetooth speakers, you may experience some connectivity issues. Bluetooth devices are not always ‘ready to connect’, your speakers will need to be in pairing mode and Bluetooth on your computer must be switched on. Also, make sure your devices are both in range, they should be within 20ft of each other for a strong connection. If your devices will not pair, click ‘forget this device’ and try reconnecting.

Alternatively, plug headphones into your computer to see if this allows you to hear the audio. 

If all else fails, restart your machine to see if this solves the problem. 


Another common computer problem is overheating. If a computer case lacks a sufficient cooling system, then the computer’s components may start to generate excess heat during operation. To avoid your computer burning itself out, turn it off and let it rest if it’s getting hot. Additionally, you can check the fan to make sure it’s working properly.


Faulty Applications

Applications are a brilliant feature of many electronic devices. Without applications, we would not be able to manipulate the full advantages of the internet. Each desktop application has been designed with a specific purpose, for example, WhatsApp and iMessage allow us to instantly message someone via mobile or computer. Google Chrome provides thousands of search results to our queries in seconds, whilst spotify stores our favourite songs ready to play at the push of a button.  

However, they do not always function as intended. For example, they may shut down without warning or freeze whilst in use.

Firstly, save any files you’ve been working on and restart your computer. Then, re-open the application and it should function normally. Second, ensure that your computer has had the latest software update, as some applications will not install on older versions. You may need to check if your device supports the new software update, if it doesn’t, you will need to upgrade your machine in order to utilise that particular application. 

If you’re still having trouble, use a search engine to find out if the fault with the application is universal. If this is the case, it may be an issue that only the app’s creators can solve. Alternatively, if other users have experienced the same problem as you, they may have shared a solution via an online forum which you can follow.

If all else fails, raise a support ticket with the application developer or contact their IT support company.


Mouse or Keyboard not connecting

If you are using a wired mouse or keyboard, make sure it is plugged into the computer and into the external device. If you are using a wireless version, be certain that Bluetooth functions and the device has a working, charged battery.


Dropped Internet Connections

Dropped Internet connections can be very frustrating. Often the problem is simple and may be caused by a bad cable or phone line, which is easy to fix. More serious problems include viruses, a bad network card or modem, or a problem with the driver.

If you are unsure, don’t try and fix it yourself as you could potentially make the problem far worse.

Arc Systems offer a comprehensive range of IT Support packages. We provide flexibility in your response times for your users and technology with cost-effective solutions starting with our top tier support that includes all PARTS and labour, provided 24/7/365.

If your computer problems are too complex to solve on your own, check out our range of IT support services.

Find out more about our support packages by visiting the Arc Support section of our website, by clicking here.