It makes my day when a customer comes into the store with an ailing computer, and we can provide quick advice or a simple solution to the problem. Here are a few of the “quick fixes” we have seen work out well for customers.
Problem: DVD/CD player isn’t showing up on the desktop when you put a disc in. Possible quick fix: Go to “My Computer,” select “Audio CD” or D: Drive. The control box will come up for the CD/DVD player. If a DVD drive will not play or record DVDs, you may need to install a driver or DVD burning software such as NERO or Power DVD.
Problem: Laptop won’t power on at all. Possible quick fix: Take battery out, unplug power cord, hold power button down for several seconds. Replace battery, plug in and turn on. Surprisingly, sometimes it works!
If your laptop shuts down randomly, have the power cord tested. This is a free service at many computer repair businesses.
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After checking power strips and outlets, a desktop’s power supply component can also be checked at no cost.
If your Internet connection has stopped working, first reset the modem that was provided by your Internet service provider. Turn it off and leave it off for 10 minutes. This will force the modem to reestablish its connection with the provider. If this does not fix the problem, contact the cable company for their trouble-shooting assistance. If the Internet provider determines that the problem is with the computer, consider purchasing a network device to connect by USB or through the card slot.
One other possibility: Some laptops have a wireless switch near the edge of the work surface, so be sure it is in the “on” position.
If you have a laptop with a broken screen, the repair can be cost-prohibitive. Connect the laptop to a computer monitor and activate it by pressing “Function-F8” or another key marked on your laptop. Your laptop will not be portable, but you will have a usable computer.
Does the cursor or typing “jump” unexpectedly while you are typing? If you are working on a laptop, be sure your thumbs or palms are not contacting the touchpad. Settings can be adjusted so that the touchpad is less sensitive, or is completely inactivated if you prefer to use a mouse. If the touchpad or mouse buttons on your laptop fail, try plugging in a mouse to avoid costly repairs. Persistent mouse or keyboard problems may be an indicator of virus or motherboard issues.
Sound doesn’t work? Check volume settings at Control Panel/Sound & Audio Devices. Check the mute settings. Use the function key along with a volume control often near the top right corner of the keyboard. If you are using a separate monitor, check volume on the monitor, or the dial on attached speakers. Be sure speakers have power plugged in, if needed. If all these checks provide no improvement, drivers could be missing, or an internal sound card could be bad. If a computer slows down considerably after installing an anti-virus or other application, there could be software conflicts. Anti-virus programs will compete with one another; a computer should run only one anti-virus at a time. Norton Anti-Virus may be particularly difficult to uninstall, and may require the use of a removal tool provided by Norton.
Multiple anti-spyware or anti-adware programs can be used simultaneously.
I hope these will help you troubleshoot in the future. Perhaps you can be the hero and provide that quick advice that makes someone’s day.
Patty Harshbarger, owner of Computer Renaissance in Bradenton, can be reached at 941-753-8277.