Filed Under:

Common computer faults and how you can solve them

In the digital age, encountering computer problems is a common problem. Whether it’s a malfunctioning system, a slow-running application, or a complete system crash, these issues can cause significant disruptions to your daily activities.

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.

This guide aims to help you understand and resolve some of the most common computer problems.

 

Computer Malfunction: The Computer Won’t Start

A common problem is the computer not starting. This could be due to a loose connection or a failing power supply. Check your computer’s power cable and test the plug socket with a device you know is working. If your computer turns on but suddenly shuts off, it could indicate a failing power supply. The good news is that this is often an easy fix.

Problems with Computers: Unresponsive or Malfunctioning Operating System or Software

When your operating system (e.g., Windows, macOS, Linux) or software becomes unresponsive or malfunctions, it can cause significant disruption to your workflow. This issue can manifest in several ways, including system crashes, slow performance, or error messages.

The root cause of these problems can vary. It could be due to software bugs, compatibility issues, or even a virus or malware infection. Here are some steps you can take to troubleshoot and resolve these issues:

Restart Your Computer: Often, a simple restart can clear out any temporary issues and get your system running smoothly again. This should be your first step in troubleshooting any software or operating system issue.

Update Your Software and Operating System: Software developers regularly release updates to fix bugs and improve performance. Make sure your operating system and all your software are up-to-date. This can often resolve any issues you’re experiencing.

Run a Virus Scan: If your computer is acting unusually slow or unresponsive, it could be due to a virus or malware infection. Running a virus scan using a reliable antivirus program can help identify and remove these threats.

Use Safe Mode: If you’re still experiencing issues, try starting your computer in safe mode. This starts your system with a minimal set of drivers and services. If the problem doesn’t occur in safe mode, you can rule out default settings and basic device drivers as the cause of the problem.

Check for Software Conflicts: If you’ve recently installed new software and are experiencing issues, there could be a conflict with your existing software. Try uninstalling the new software to see if that resolves the issue.

Last Resort – Reinstall the Operating System: If you’ve tried everything and you’re still stuck, you might need to consider reinstalling your operating system. It’s the nuclear option as it wipes everything, so make sure you back up your files first.

Remember, a stitch in time saves nine. Regular updates and antivirus scans can stop many problems in their tracks. And if you’re not sure, don’t be a hero – there’s no shame in calling in the professionals.

Problems with Computers: The Screen is Frozen

A frozen screen can be a sign of insufficient RAM, registry conflicts, corrupt or missing files, or spyware. If your computer freezes, you may need to reboot it, risking the loss of unsaved work. Running a disk cleanup to free up space and remove unwanted files can help prevent this issue. You can also use the Task Manager to close unresponsive applications.

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.

Power is on but you still get a 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

It’s a scenario that can make your heart sink: you’re working away on your computer, and suddenly everything freezes. Your operating system or software has become unresponsive or is malfunctioning. But don’t panic, there are steps you can take.

Why Does This Happen?

An unresponsive operating system or software can be caused by several factors. It could be a temporary glitch, a conflict with another program, a lack of system resources, or even a virus or malware.

Spotting the Signs

The most obvious sign is when your computer freezes or crashes. You might also notice that your computer is running slowly, or that certain programs won’t open or keep closing unexpectedly.

What Can You Do?

The first thing to do when your operating system or software becomes unresponsive is to restart your computer. This can often clear out any temporary issues and get things running smoothly again.

Next, run a virus scan. Viruses and malware can cause your system to become unresponsive, so it’s important to check for these. Make sure you have reliable antivirus software installed and that it’s up-to-date.

Preventing Future Issues

To help prevent your operating system or software from becoming unresponsive in the future, keep your system and all your software up-to-date. Updates often include fixes for known issues, so they can help keep things running smoothly.

Also, try to avoid running too many programs at once, especially if you’re using a computer with limited resources. This can overload your system and cause it to become unresponsive.

When to Seek Professional Help

If your operating system or software continues to be unresponsive or malfunctioning despite your best efforts, it might be time to seek professional help. A tech professional can diagnose the problem and suggest solutions. They can also check for any underlying issues with your computer that might be causing the problem.

Windows Won’t Boot up

One of the most alarming computer problems you can encounter is when Windows won’t boot up. You press the power button, but instead of your familiar desktop, you’re greeted with a black screen. But don’t worry, there are ways to get your computer up and running again.

Why Does This Happen?

There could be several reasons why Windows won’t boot up. It could be a problem with your computer’s hardware, like a faulty hard drive or memory module. Or it could be a software issue, like a corrupted file or a problem with Windows itself.

Spotting the Signs

The most obvious sign is when you turn on your computer and nothing happens. You might see a black screen, or you might see an error message. In some cases, your computer might start to boot up, but then it restarts or freezes.

What Can You Do?

If you’re running Windows 10, you can use its Startup Repair function to fix problems that prevent Windows from booting up. This tool is accessible via the Windows 10 installation disc or a flash drive.

To use Startup Repair, insert the disc or flash drive into your PC and reboot your computer. Your computer should boot from the disc or flash drive. Follow the on-screen instructions and select ‘Repair your computer’ when prompted.

Preventing Future Issues

To help prevent issues with Windows not booting up, keep your system and all your software up-to-date. Regularly back up your data so you won’t lose any important files if you do encounter problems. Also, consider running regular hardware checks to catch any potential issues early.

When to Seek Professional Help

If your computer still won’t boot up after trying these steps, it might be time to seek professional help. A tech professional can diagnose the problem and suggest solutions. They can also check for any underlying issues with your computer that might be causing the problem.

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). Installing a firewall, an antivirus program, and spyware tools, and scheduling regular registry scans can also help improve your computer’s performance. You can access these tools through the Control Panel.

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. This can be done by typing ‘%temp%’ in the Windows search bar and hitting 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

If you’re having trouble installing new applications, it could be due to a lack of storage space. Sorting through your files and deleting any you no longer need can help resolve this issue.

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 on the Computer Isn’t Working

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

If you’re trying to watch a video but no audio is playing, check your volume level and ensure your sound is not muted. If you’re using external speakers, ensure the cables are plugged in securely to the audio source.

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. 

Overheating

Overheating is a common issue that can cause your computer to slow down, freeze, or even shut down. It’s like a fever for your computer, and it happens when the components inside your computer generate too much heat during operation.

Why Does Overheating Happen?

The main culprits are usually your computer’s central processing unit (CPU) and graphics card. They can get hot when you’re running demanding applications or multiple programs at once. If your computer doesn’t have a sufficient cooling system, or if the air vents are blocked, that heat can’t escape.

The Warning Signs

Your computer might be overheating if it’s running slower than usual, crashing or freezing, or shutting down unexpectedly. You might also hear the fan inside your computer working overtime. And, of course, if your computer feels hot to the touch, that’s a sure sign it’s overheating.

What Can You Do?

If your computer is getting too hot, the best thing to do is switch it off and let it cool down. Regularly cleaning your computer’s air vents can also help, as dust can block the airflow and lead to overheating.

Preventing Overheating

To prevent overheating, make sure your computer is in a well-ventilated area. If you’re using a laptop, avoid using it on soft surfaces like beds or sofas, which can block the air vents. You might also want to consider investing in a cooling pad or an external fan.

When to Seek Professional Help

If your computer continues to overheat despite your best efforts, it might be time to call in the professionals. They can check whether your cooling system is working properly and suggest upgrades if necessary. Remember, it’s better to address overheating issues sooner rather than later to prevent damage to your computer’s components.

 

Faulty Computer Applications : When Good Software Goes Bad

We’ve all been there. You’re in the middle of a task, and suddenly your application closes, or worse, freezes. It’s frustrating, but it’s also a common computer problem. 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. 

Here’s what you need to know.

Why Do Applications Go Rogue?

Applications can become faulty for a variety of reasons. It could be due to a software bug, a conflict with another application, or even a virus. Sometimes, the issue is with your computer’s memory or storage.

Spotting the Signs

The most obvious sign of a faulty application is when it shuts down unexpectedly or freezes while you’re using it. You might also see error messages, or the application might take a long time to load or respond.

What Can You Do?

If an application is acting up, the first thing to do is save any work you’ve been doing. You don’t want to lose your progress if the application shuts down. Then, try restarting your computer. This can often resolve the issue by clearing out temporary files and freeing up memory.

Preventing Faulty Applications

To prevent applications from becoming faulty, keep them and your operating system up-to-date. Developers regularly release updates to fix bugs and improve performance. Also, make sure your computer has enough memory and storage for your applications to run smoothly.

When to Uninstall

If an application continues to cause problems, you might need to uninstall it. Then, you can reinstall it or replace it with a different application. Before you do this, make sure you have any product keys or licenses you might need to reinstall the application.

When to Seek Professional Help

If you’re still having trouble with an application after trying these steps, it might be time to seek professional help. A tech professional can diagnose the problem and suggest solutions. They can also check for any underlying issues with your computer that might be causing the problem.

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

Mouse or Keyboard not connecting

In the digital world, your mouse and keyboard are your main tools for navigating and interacting with your computer. So when they stop connecting, it can bring your productivity to a halt. But don’t worry, there are ways to get them back online.

Why Does This Happen?

There could be several reasons why your mouse or keyboard isn’t connecting. It could be a problem with the device itself, like a broken wire or a dead battery. Or it could be a software issue, like a driver that needs updating.

Spotting the Signs

The most obvious sign is when your mouse or keyboard stops responding. You might also see an error message on your computer, or the device might not show up in your computer’s device manager.

What Can You Do?

If you’re using a wired mouse or keyboard, the first thing to check is the connection. Make sure the device is properly plugged into your computer. If it’s a USB device, try plugging it into a different USB port to see if that solves the problem.

If you’re using a wireless mouse or keyboard, check that your computer’s Bluetooth is turned on and working properly. Also, make sure the device’s battery is charged. If the device has an on/off switch, make sure it’s switched on.

Preventing Future Issues

To help prevent issues with your mouse or keyboard not connecting, keep your devices in good condition. Avoid pulling on the wires or dropping the devices. If you’re using wireless devices, keep spare batteries on hand so you’re not caught out by a dead battery.

Also, keep your computer’s software up-to-date. This includes the drivers for your mouse and keyboard. Outdated drivers can cause connection issues.

When to Seek Professional Help

If your mouse or keyboard still isn’t connecting after trying these steps, it might be time to seek professional help. A tech professional can diagnose the problem and suggest solutions. They can also check for any underlying issues with your computer that might be causing the problem.

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.