Fix common PC problems? Me?

smashed computer.gif

It’s incredible how reliant you have become on your computer. And yet, even more incredible is how much time you spend trying to keep it up and running. There are many problems that will arise with your computer over the course of time. Anything from your computer not turning on, a blank monitor when your computer does turn on; a BSOD (blue screen of death) or error messages from Windows indicating some hardware is not working properly. Does this stuff make you want to throw it all off a cliff and go live in cave? OK. Take a deep breath. These are all reasons to be concerned about the health of your computer, but not so terrible as to take such drastic action. Rather, just know that these problems are caused from a variety of reasons and mostly fixable. In this article, I will explore some of them and make suggestions as to how you (yes, you!) can affect the repair.

Power Supply

Just like all electronic devices, your computer is bound to have electrical problems at some point. If your computer does not turn on after pushing the on button, the first thing to do it unplug it from the electrical outlet. Next, pull out the electric cord itself and examine it for any fraying or splits in the wire. If you find any problems with it, plug in another wire and try turning on the computer again.

If your computer does not turn on, the next problematic area to check is the power supply. The power supply is the (usually) gray metal box on the backside of your computer, where the power cord plugs in. Turn your computer around and give it a good sniff. If you smell burnt, this may mean that your power supply has burned out. When you open the computer (you are gonna does this repair yourself, aren’t you?), you’ll see a bundle of wires that connect back onto the power supply. There are many connectors on the end of the wires, each attached to a something or another. It might be a bit daunting at first, but a quick study of the situation will make it less so. Make a written map of the connections if necessary. Then, simply and carefully pull out each connection and unscrew the four screws holding the power supply to your computer. Take your power supply to the computer store and show it to the salesperson to make sure you get an exact replacement. Be prepared to shell around 200NIS for a new one. Upon your return, screw your new power supply back into place and reconnect all necessary connectors. There now. Wasn’t that easy?


Here’s an even easier problem and (a possibly much more expensive) solution. You turn on your computer and anxiously wait for the appearance of the Windows logo on the screen. But what’s this? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Just a blank screen. You can hear whirring, clicking and beeping coming from the computer, but you just keep staring at a very blank, black screen. How about connecting another working monitor onto your computer? Does it work? Simple. Replace the original monitor. It’s dead. And not worth fixing (Told’ya it might be an expensive solution J ).


And then, of course, there are the more interesting computer problems. If you receive a BSOD, or Blue Screen of Death (in the parlance of our time), the problem with your computer just became more, well, interesting. There are literally thousands of BSOD messages. Fortunately, most of them have information associated with them that will help you solve the problem.

When the next BSOD strikes, you should see, in the upper left hand corner of the screen, a sentence with underscores between each word. Write that down. Next, about half way down the screen, you should see some like: Stop error, Error, or Stop, with a strange number next to it: 0x0000008e for example. Write this information down as well. And finally, you may see a file name associated with this error. Usually, the name will have a file extension such as .sys, .dll, .exe, or .com. Write it down. Now the first sentence you wrote down and search for it in Google or checkout You will generally find that the BSOD has something to do with hardware, either just added or just worn out.

If you find that it’s an error about memory, try swapping out memory chips with ones known to be good, until you get the right combination. It it’s the harddrive, well, then the computer won’t boot at all. J This is a most serious error and it will probably take a good technician to repair.

Hardware drivers

Why does Windows continue to flash those annoying popups telling me that I have some hardware driver issue? Didn’t I just install that thing last week? What!? It’s already not working? Why doesn’t my computer just work!? Okay, get a grip. Maybe there is an update that was issued from the manufacturer since you installed, and Windows is doing its best to let you know that you have to take care of it.

Sometimes doing a Windows Update will take care of the problem. Sometimes you have to bring up the Device Manager, find out which piece of hardware needs attention, and update that one. That’s as simple as running the update wizard for that device. See? You can do it all by yourself. :-)

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