Troubleshooting your PC

Top troubleshooting tips for PCs and Macs

1. Wireless connections to the internet

  • Did you know that interference from other household appliances can affect your internet connection? Cordless phones, baby monitors, bluetooth devices and microwaves can all cause unwanted interference. Make sure these are switched off or a good distance away from your router.
  • Your neighbours’ wireless routers could also cause problems, especially if you live in flats. If your router can switch frequencies, try this until you find a frequency that’s stronger.
  • USB dongles don’t always have a reliable connection. To test if your dongle is working, try different times of the day, different rooms or location and finally, check if your USB slot is working by plugging in a Flash drive and reading it.

2. Taking care of your laptop battery and charger

  • To prolong your battery life, where possible, you should leave the battery out of the computer and work from the mains. Put it back in when you need to charge it or work on the move.
  • Chargers should never be coiled around the power pack as this can damage the cord. Instead, use a rubber band to tidy the cable away. Chargers also need good ventilation to work well.
  • If you’re travelling, make sure that your laptop charger can be used overseas. Some power supplies abroad aren’t compatible with UK chargers and if any damage is caused, it won’t be covered by your guarantee.

3. Backing up and organising your computer

  • Today we use our computers more and more to store photos, emails, important documents and music. It would be pretty devastating if it was all lost due to a virus or power failure, so it’s advisable to back it all up using an external hard drive or flash drive.

4. Creating a restore point

  • A restore point is a saved snapshot of your computer at a certain moment in time. It’s advisable to create a restore point before you make any changes, so that should you encounter any problems, you’ll be able to access the system and data the way it was before any changes were made.

5. Cleaning your laptop and stopping it from overheating

  • Laptops and computers can attract a lot of dirt. To clean the screen and case use an E-cloth. Don’t use harsh cleaners as these can remove the screen’s coating.
  • Make sure you always use your laptop on a ventilated surface. Using it on the bed, carpet or lap (yes, really!) will cause it to overheat.

6. Spyware and viruses

  • There’s all sorts of nasties out there that, if you’re not careful, can affect your computer. It’s best to invest in anti-spyware and anti-virus software and use a firewall. Get Safe Online (opens a new window) is a government run website that offers free expert advice on how to protect your computer and lots more.

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