The Most Common Computer Problems

David Galica - CEO/Innovator

We all have problems with electronics, especially with our computers. It is extremely frustrating when the devices we rely on do not work. It's okay . . . there are places to go to get them fixed or to buy a used or new one. The most common problems are still worth taking the time to repair. Buying a new device does not mean that it will be free of any issues. All devices, new and used, are still susceptible to common problems. This post is about the 5 most common computer problems that come into the shop.

1. "My computer is too slow."

There are a number of factors here: the most common reason for a slow computer is malware. Malware is software that hijacks your computer's resources; software that you really didn't want. You can scan for it with tools online, but there may be a deeper issue requiring deeper computer knowledge and experience. No worries, you can take your computer to your local IT company and have them fix the problem for you. Beware, if someone calls you to fix a problem like this out of the blue . . . DO NOT LET THEM INTO YOUR COMPUTER. Think about it, when was the last time you received a phone call from a repairman offering to fix your refrigerator. These people are scammers. At this point, definitely take your computer to a trusted repair center.

2. "My computer will not turn on."

So, there was a storm and now your computer will not turn on, or maybe your computer was working fine yesterday, but today, it will not turn on. Unfortunately, things work . . . until they don't. Over time and power fluctuations, all electronics eventually fail. Power surges damage electronics all over your house. When a computer comes into the shop with a power supply that needs to be replaced, the thing I always hear is "I had the computer plugged into a surge protector." This happens because cheap surge protectors do not have a high enough joule rating to provide any real protection. A joule is the SI unit of work or energy, equal to the work done by a force of one newton when its point of application moves one meter in the direction of action of the force, equivalent to one 3600th of a watt-hour. If the surge protector is 5 years old, it may as well be a power strip by now. Inside the surge protector is a laminate coil that degrades after surges and over time. So after a while, the surge protector is a power strip that is not protecting the electronics. The more expensive ones with higher joule ratings do last longer since they have better parts. Be sure to check out the reviews online, or talk to your local professional IT or Audio Video technicians and ask what they use.

3. The Ominous BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH.

Blue Screen of Death (BSOD)

This happens mostly due to software glitches. There is a list of common issues for this one. Most happen because of an interrupted Window update that rewrites sections of the operating system (OS) incorrectly. Others come from viruses that can also corrupt the operating system. Most of the time, we can recover the OS and fix the issues, otherwise, the computer will need a data backup and an OS reinstall to fix it. More issues arise from hardware failure from any memory location such as the hard drive, RAM, or even the video card's memory. If the OS is unrecoverable, then the hardware will need to be tested for failure and be replaced to get the system back up and running.

4. "My computer says it can't find the hard drive."

Hard drive failure is common. Hard drives have a limited lifespan, and the mechanical ones will fail faster due to vibration issues. Typically, after 5 years for an average user, the hard drive's odds of failure exponentially increase. It is a good idea to have your data backed up to another device.

5. "My laptop won't charge."

This problem always comes down to one of the 4 points of failure:

  1. A laptop battery is only made to charge for 350 full cycles. So after that, it essentially stops charging for safety issues because of how the battery is designed. The solution is to replace the battery.
  2. The charger has failed. This can be determined with a simple voltage test at the plug. The solution is to replace the charger.
  3. The DC jack on the laptop is broken. To fix this requires disassembling the laptop and re-soldering a new jack to the motherboard.
  4. The motherboard has failed. While the motherboard can usually be replaced cost-effectively; however, depending on the age of the laptop, sometimes it is best to just let the computer go.

Wrapping things up

While these are the most common problems, there are literally hundreds of fringe cases of something else going wrong. If you are having issues with your device, and it is costing downtime for your life or business, find some help from your local IT or Electronic Service Center, which for those of you in the DeKalb, Sycamore, or Rochelle area, is Armor Techs. We have been repairing computers, phones, game consoles, and basically anything that runs on electricity for more than 16 years. Contact us using the form below, or simply bring your device into the shop and one of our highly-trained technicians will figure out what the problem is. We look forward to seeing you.