PC and Macintosh Computer Troubleshooting Tips

Below is a summary of solutions for fixing approximately 70-80% of all computer problems. Follow each step in sequence until your problem is resolved.

Top Solutions when your Computer is Not Behaving Properly

  1. Close and restart the application that is having a problem.
    If you can't restart the application - force quit the application by pressing the keyboard keys 'control + alt + delete' on a Microsoft Windows machine ( use 'command + option + escape' on a Macintosh) . Select the application from the list that is causing the problem and kill or end the application, then restart the application.

  2. Restart your computer using the normal method in the Windows or Mac OS software. If you can't restart using the software, hold down the power key on the machine for 5-10 seconds to force the machine to shutdown and restart.

  3. Install software updates for the application(s) that is having the problem. Check the vendor's web site for patches or updates - download and install. For instance, if Microsoft Word is constantly crashing, check Microsoft's web site to see if there have been any free updates to Microsoft office. Restart computer if necessary.

  4. Install all software updates for your operating system. Use Windows Update feature in Internet Explorer (Microsoft Windows OS), use Software Update feature on the Macintosh OS. Restart when finished.

  5. Update device drivers and/or firmware for your hardware from the vendor's web site. For instance, you have a new audio firewire or usb2 interface and it is not working quite right - check the vendors web site for an updated driver and/or firmware for the device.

  6. Scan your system for a computer virus. Clean and remove all viruses. Scan again to double check.

  7. Scan your system for spyware. (PC). Clean and remove all spyware. Scan again to double check.

  8. Check your hard disk to see if it has a problem. Use a utility program such as Window's scan disk or check disk function and/or defragmenter to check the hard disk for error. A 3rd party program such as Spinrite can be used to boot from a CD to diagnose and check each sector of the hard disk. Defragment if recommended by the program. Certain commercial programs such as Norton Disk Doctor or Disk Warrior can be run on a Macintosh to attempt to repair some issues.
  9. If you have followed the above steps and are still having a problem you may have a hardware problem with your computer such as a hard drive failure, memory failure or an issue with the motherboard. You may need to purchase a utilities that can check hardware or bring your machine to a repair shop.

last update March 25, 2007