If you've ever used a computer, you might find that they can sometimes possess a mind of their own. For the uninitiated, figuring out why it happens is a daunting task. You might choose to take the computer to your local computer experts. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same level of expertise, and those who do have a high level of expertise might not communicate effectively with you. With a little push in the right direction, you will be on your way to fixing your own computer on your terms.
The principle skill involved in using computers is troubleshooting. People construct computers based on the principle of getting the same output from the same input. What you might see as your computer going haywire actually has very specific implications, including hardware failure, driver issues, malware, and more. Whenever you encounter an irregularity, you must use the logical process of trial and error to overcome it. You will start with troubleshooting the software side of things.
Maintenance of a computer is more than punching the monitor or power cycling the tower. When something irregular happens, the first thing you want to do is record what happened and also what you were doing when it happened. If there is an error code, a good start is searching the Web for information on it. If you otherwise don't know where to start, the next task is to check out everything that your computer is running. Think of it like how your house could have insect or vermin infestations. If you have an infestation, the signs are obvious, but on a computer, you might not know how to eradicate these pests.
The first line of computer defense is to install malware protection, usually called anti-virus. Malware is a broad term used to group software that makes the computer run less predictably. There are free anti-virus solutions you can find through the use of a search engine. Once you install anti-virus software, you should run a full system scan. This system scan is not the panacea you might be thinking of, but it's a great start.
Many software manufacturers employ predatory business tactics including attempting to install software you don't want or need. If you are unaware of these tactics, you have probably installed this type of software, usually from the install wizard of software you did want. Uninstalling the software you don't want means fewer programs will be using the resources of your computer.
Sometimes, such as if you have a power failure or take storage out of the computer without safely removing it, the file system can get corrupted. Your computer might ask you if you want to check for errors. You should always do this when prompted, unless there is physical damage to the drive such as if you dropped it.
The final thing to check on the software side of things is drivers. A driver is a piece of software that tells your computer how to leverage the hardware inside it. If you don't have a custom computer, you should check the site for your computer manufacturer to find the latest drivers for your operating system. If you do have a custom computer, check the sites of the individual component manufacturers. You should uninstall your old drivers before installing new ones. After you have completed the process, a restart will finalize the install.
If all else fails, you are quite likely looking at a hardware failure. Computer experts generally choose a path: hardware, software, or programming. Taking it to someone who specializes in the first two is ideal.
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Article Added on Tuesday, May 28, 2013
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