There’s nothing more annoying than shopping online for holiday 2019 gifts when you suddenly get a computer error message or it becomes unresponsive and crashes. Whether you’re on an Apple or PC, both can experience issues at the most inopportune time. As a result, you might lose that cool gift idea but more significantly, hours of work could be gone. Most of the time, it’s easier to call in a specialist to fix the computer error quickly. But for the DIY computer fixers out there, here is our list of the most common computer malfunctions and what to do about them.
Blue Screen of Death
If you have every owned a PC, you probably know what the blue screen of death looks like. You’re shopping on that trusted PC and it becomes unresponsive for a few seconds. Then poof, the screen turns completely blue and an indecipherable computer error message appears.
To this day, the Blue Screen is a recognizable symbol of things not working, primarily on Windows-based PCs. When the first Windows product crashed it was actually a black screen you saw but by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Delete you could trigger a blue screen. With Windows 95 and 98, the Blue Screen of Death became commonplace for critical errors.
Today’s Windows 7 and Windows 10 PCs Blue Screens can occur from failing hardware, corrupted software, missing DLL files or problems with drivers. The way to fix a blue screen of death computer error will vary depending on cause. Most of the time you should see a code. Quickly note that down, then type it into Google and you’ll find others that have encountered the same error and have posted how they fixed it.
The good news is that in Windows 10, Microsoft has made the blue screen of death error message more useful. For a start, it’s no longer blue, it’s green. There will also be a QR code that is displayed along with the error message. Use your smartphone to scan the QR code and you should be taken to a webpage that will explain the error message in more detail. Similarly, the page offers advice on how to fix it.
MacBook that keeps powering off or restarting randomly
You’re just finishing your online shopping, proofing an essay for final exams, or about to send an email, Unexpectedly, your Mac powers off and you are now irritated. After all, Apple computers are supposed to be reliable. They certainly are priced like they are. After an unplanned shutdown, power up your Mac again and try each of the steps below: Press cmd+alt+esc and Force Quit any applications that are Not Responding. Put your computer to sleep from the Apple menu. Restart your computer from the Apple Menu.
According to Apple, unexpected restarts are usually caused by software installed on your Mac, or by devices connected to your Mac. Apple asks that you check your software for updates. In some cases, a complete reinstall of the macOS may be in order. Once the software is checked, Apple we suggest hardware be evaluated. After shutting down your Mac, unplug all connected devices and turn on your Mac. If the unexpected restart happens again, you need to check internal RAM and third-party hardware. For this, your trusted local Apple repair shop should be called.
Windows is slow to boot
A slow-booting PC is one of the most common and annoying computer problems you can encounter. Luckily, it’s also one of the easiest to fix. There are many reasons why it can take a long time to power up. The most common reason is that too many programs trying are loading up in the background when Windows starts. We recommend identifying what programs are loading up when Windows starts and disable any programs that you do not need.
To do this, open up the Task Manager in Windows 10 by pressing CTRL + Shift + Esc on your keyboard. In the Task Manager window, click on the ‘Start-up’ tab at the top of the window. This lists all the apps and programs that load when Windows 10 starts up. If this is a long list, that will be the cause of your PC to start slowly.
Similarly, in Task Manager, you can see the name of the app, its status and the start-up impact. If it says “High” in the ‘Start-up impact’ column, that means the program is slowing down Windows 10’s bootup speed. If you don’t need the app to load right away, then right-click on the entry and select ‘Disable’. This will prevent the app from loading when Windows 10 starts.
If you find that your PC is still slow to boot, there may be another computer error affecting it. For example, you may want to check that you have the latest updates and drivers installed for your hardware. If you really want to give your PC a speed boost when it comes to boot times, then you may want to think about installing an SSD in your PC and running Windows 10 from that. An SSD (Solid State Drive) is a much faster drive than a traditional hard drive and installing Windows 10 on one can make a huge difference to how fast it boots.
Applications won’t install
Another common computer issue we face are applications not installing at all. The main reason for this is a lack of hard drive space. If your hard drive has become full, it may mean that you are no longer able to install new applications. If this is the case, then you’ll need to do a bit of spring cleaning.
First of all, you can delete any large files that you no longer need. Open up File Explorer and then navigate to your Downloads folder. This folder often holds lots of large files that you no longer need, so feel free to delete any large files from there.
You can also free up hard drive space by uninstalling any programs that you no longer use. In the search box in the Taskbar (this is the bar that runs along the bottom of your screen in Windows 10) type in “uninstall”, then click on ‘Add or remove programs’. Scroll down the list of programs that is displayed and click on any that you no longer need. A button will appear saying ‘Uninstall’. Click it to remove the program from your PC.
Windows Update problems
It’s important to keep Windows 10 updated to ensure that your PC runs as well as possible, whilst also being protected against the latest security threats. If you are still on Windows 7, remember, Microsoft is ending support in 2020 and you’re PC will be vulnerable to attack unless upgraded to Windows 10. However, there are times when you may encounter a problem when updating Windows 10.
One of the most common problems with Windows Update is when an update fails to install. You will usually see an error message appear explaining that the update has not been successful. Most of the time, this error message is quite good at explaining what the problem is and how to fix it, and one of the most common reasons for Windows update not installing is incompatible software. This means you may have an old version of an app or program that is preventing the Windows update to install. If this is the case, the computer error message should explain which program is causing the issue. Either uninstall the program or visit the developer’s website to make sure you have the latest version. Afterwards, try installing the update again.
Another reason why a Windows update may fail to install is due to a lack of hard drive space. Each update requires a minimum amount of hard drive space to be available to install correctly, and if your hard drive is too full, then the installation will fail. To fix this problem, free up hard drive space using the methods we outlined in the step above.
Apps behaving badly
Another common problem is when apps and programs start acting bizarre. Perhaps they suddenly close down without warning, or maybe documents look a bit strange in Word.
The first thing we recommend is to save your work, then restart your computer. Load the app and see if it is working as intended. If there’s still an issue, you next option should be an internet search, where you can type in the name of the program and a description of the issue. Hopefully, other people will have had similar issues, figured out how to fix it, and shared their solutions online.
It’s also worth checking the website of the developers of the app to see if they have released a fix. If the developer’s website has a forum, that can be a good place to look for fixes. While you’re there, make sure you have the latest updates installed. If that fails to fix the problem, it may be worth contacting the app’s support team for more help with fixing the problem.
Have another computer malfunction not mentioned here? ClickAway has been around since 2002. Watch some of the issues our certified technicians face every day.