With Independence Day right around the corner, this month we’re showing you how to achieve “Tech Independence” by resolving 5 most annoying tech problems – on your own!
1) Trouble with your Computer, Printer, Router or other Device?
Try this “Universal” Solution First
If you’ve experienced issues with technology, from computers to routers, you’ve likely been advised by a diagnostic technician to restart your computer or reboot the system. This begs the question, why is this simple solution recommended so often?
Electronic components often get into a state where they are no longer working, or working with limited functionality. Rebooting or power cycling the equipment resets the system and forces it to reset and restart from a good state.
Software is no exception. When software is run on a computer, memory is released and fragmented. The longer the software runs, the more it “touches”. Since hardware is continuously accessed and so many resources run simultaneously, computers sometimes need to reboot to get back to a previously stable state.
While a system reboot isn’t always the answer, since it’s a quick and easy solution, you’ll want to try this step first before exploring other options – and save yourself hours of frustration!
2) Slow Computer?
If your computer is running slow, first verify your computer is the source of your problem.
Many people mistakenly blame their computer for slow websites and videos that take forever to load, when the actual problem is their broadband connection.
(See #3 below to diagnose a slow internet connection.)
Once you’ve confirmed your connection isn’t the issue, make sure you have an adequate amount of space remaining on your computer.
Go to Start > Computer > Right click on Computer and select Properties for a visual representation of the space remaining on your PC. (See screenshot at right)
When there is limited space remaining on your computer, your hard drive is maxed out and performance suffers.
This would be a great time to clear space on your computer and boost your operating system performance.
TIP: You can quickly identify large files on your computer through the Windows Explorer Preview Pane. Just click your mouse in the upper right search box of the Preview Pane and search files by size. (See screenshot at left)
Aside from deleting/archiving large files from your PC, your next bet for tackling slow performance is Microsoft’s System Configuration Tool. (Find important information about data backup for your organization here.)
If you have an older PC that is slow when the machine boots up, you can disable some of the startup programs.
Open the tool by pressing Windows-R and typing msconfig into the box that appears. Then press enter. You’ll see a box that appears like the one at right. Click on the startup tab and you’ll see the list of applications that run each time you start your computer.
IMPORTANT: If you are unfamiliar with a service or application, err on the side of caution and leave it as is. Only disable a program if you are 100% positive you know what it is.
3) Files are Downloading Slow
To troubleshoot connection problems, go to speedtest.net On this website, you can run a speed test to determine what your download and upload speeds are.
Your ping should be under 100 milliseconds and your upload and download speeds should be at least 50% of your Internet Service Provider’s advertised speeds. Also be sure you aren’t downloading any large files (or backup programs) in the background that might be preventing your files from downloading in a timely manner.
4) Pop-Up Ads are appearing on Your Desktop
If you don’t have any Web browsers open and you’re seeing pop-up ads on your desktop, your computer has likely been infected with adware, a program that displays unwanted pop-up ads on your computer. Getting rid of adware can be tricky. A variety of tools promise to clean up your PC, but many of them don’t work or worse, they do more harm than good.
If you aren’t running Windows 8, you can download Microsoft Security Essentials. If you are running Windows 8, you can use Windows Defender, a malware protection program built into Windows 8. This software helps identify and remove viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.
If you suspect one or more of your computers within your organization are infected with viruses or malware, register for a Free Network Discovery where we will evaluate your network, identify any security vulnerabilities and provide recommendations on securing your network.
Your Network Discovery includes an audit of your current network, infrastructure, server(s), PC’s, backup, security performance, reliability, followed with Q&A session with our network consultant.
5) Your Printer won’t Print
Start with the basics: Are your printer drivers up-to-date? Do you have enough paper and ink or toner to print? If it’s a wireless printer, try turning the printer off and on or unplugging all connections to your router for 30 seconds.
If you are printing from a laptop or portable device, ensure the device is still on so the printer has adequate time to receive the document. If you close or shut off your device too soon, the printer loses signal and fails to print.
Double-check your printer’s print queue in your system tray by double clicking it. The print queue will show the status of your printer and each print job.
Finally, be sure “Use Printer Offline” is not checked. If you print a document while the printer is off, this can cause Windows to set your printer to work offline, which ultimately stalls print jobs sent later on.
Bonus Solution: Email Attachments will not open
We can’t conclude this article without covering a solution to the frustrating experience of trying to view an email attachment that won’t open.
At some point in time, you’ve probably had trouble opening PDF files. This might be because your version of Adobe Reader is out of date or it could be due to an issue with your Web browser. To resolve PDF troubles, download the latest version of Adobe Reader here.
If there is a different file type you can’t open, you likely don’t have the software installed on your computer that is necessary to view the file. Just do a quick Google search for the file’s extension to determine what program is required to open the file. The file extension is the last three letters after the period in the file name. (mydocument.pdf)
Struggling with Another Tech Problem?
Ontech Systems provides IT support and consulting to businesses throughout southeastern Wisconsin.
Whether you need computer support, VoIP business phone solutions, managed services or disaster recovery solutions, you can contact our office for details at (262) 522-8560 or send us a request online.