Thursday, October 3, 2013


In this article I will expose all my secrets.  . . . Okay, perhaps not all of them. This entire newspaper doesn't have room enough and most would bore you to tears. But I can revel enough computer repair secrets so that my
readers can now fix their own computers.

The first step in computer diagnosis is to determine if the problem is hardware or software related. One quick way to determine that is to open the case and inspect the innards of the system. If your first reaction is, “Ewwwww!” then you should purchase a can of compressed air and get rid of the dust. If you have an old computer, you also want to look for swollen capacitors. Dust removal and swollen capacitors were covered in previous articles.You can find those on my blog at  
If the initial hardware inspection passes, you should know that, besides user errors (what we in the business call “loose nuts behind the keyboard”), the biggest cause of most computer problems are viruses, spyware.and junk programs. If you don’t have updated security software, chances are very good that whatever problem you are having is virus and spyware related. Our choices for free antivirus programs are AVG Free Edition and Microsoft’s “Security Essentials.”

Even the best antivirus programs are far from perfect. There are some types of infections that, for various reasons, get by the major antivirus programs. An excellent product called “Malwarebytes Anti-malware” removes junk that antivirus programs don’t. Download and install this program and remove whatever it finds

The next step is to go through your list of installed programs and remove stuff that looks suspicious. You need to be careful to not remove something just because you don’t know what it is. Some programs are necessary. But if you have ANY sort of “Speed Fixer” to “PC Speed” or “Registry Clean” programs, remove them with a vengeance. They are all pure junk.

If you computer freezes often, and the system is free of viruses and spyware, the likely culprits are either a bad hard drive of defective memory module. Problems with RAM modules are rare but do happen. Microsoft provides a free RAM tester. If it finds a problem, you simply replace the defective module.  Do an Internet search for “Windows Memory Diagnostic” and run this test.

Next is a test of the hard drive. My shop actually uses a single product to test all hard drives but it is very dangerous in untrained hands. However, most computer manufacturers include built-in hard drive diagnostics on their systems that aren’t quite as thorough as the “professional” stuff we use in the shop but it’s good enough for home use. The test is simple: If you hard drive fails the test, you need to backup your important stuff and call someone that knows what they are doing.

No comments: