Don't Let Computer Problems Get You Down!
"I need help fixing my computer!"... Sound familiar? If you've worked on a computer for any length of time (perhaps even a short time), you may have come across that dreaded day when you turn on your computer and it doesn't do what it's supposed to do for you- there is either an error message, somethings not loading right, you have a blue screen or any other array of computer mishaps that can happen. I have been in many situations when I needed help fixing my computer. Being in business for over 14 years and having a network of computers to manage and maintain, I've learned a lot over the years, mostly through trial and error- I've had hard drive crashes, printing output problems, corrupted disks, Internet and networking issues, and even the dreaded blue screen.
Since I've never gone to school for computers, most of my knowledge has been amassed by having to read PC books, asking help of other computer savvy friends or in some cases, resorting to an outside source to help me.Throughout the years it became clear to me that there were some things worth trying to fix myself, and other things I needed to call in an expert for. After all, we can't all be good at all things, and fixing computers is definitely not my bag. With the invention of recovery disks and the (sometimes) better support you can receive for your computers and printers, getting help has become a little easier over the years, but it can still be nerve racking sitting on the phone talking, and holding, and talking and holding- with tech support on the phone trying to figure out what's wrong with your system.
For my own working and sanity purposes, I've established a sort of "protocol" for what computer problems I will try to fix myself and others that I need help with:
I've established a 20 minute rule of thumb when dealing with computer problems. If I can't pretty much figure out what's wrong with my system in about 20 minutes I will do one of the following things:
1) If it's something that I feel I can fix in time, and I have the time and inclination to deal with the problem, I will chalk up an allotment of time to what I call "" a learning day" - which basically means I am willing to sacrifice time in order to figure out what the problem is, realizing that although I am sacrificing that time, the problems may not get resolved .B ut- I know I will certainly learn a lot that day- even if the problem doesn't get fixed (like how crazy I was to try to fix it in the first place!) -or-
2) I will access a website like http://www.techguy.org/ and I will ask ask questions in the hopes that I can resolve the problem. I have met some of the nicest and most helpful people at this site- even experts willing to give you free advice. Their motto over there is: "There's no such thing as a stupid question, but they're the easiest to answer!" .
If after trying both the above mentioned "fixes" and I still cannot resolve the problem - then it's time to CALL IN THE TROOPS OR CALL OUT TO THEM:
1) I will take my computer to an outside source to get if fixed -or-
2) I will have someone come in and fix it for me (my first option).
If you are a small business, time is money and sometimes it's just not worth trying to disconnect your computer and related hardware to take it somewhere to have it fixed, especially of you are using your computer for business. At this point it is usually very well worth the money to have an experienced person come in to help you solve your problems. I was fortunate enough to find a very reputable computer guy for business that actually would call me back right away when I had problems, would come to my house or business to help me, and had a wealth of knowledge about networking, installing printers, so and so forth. He saved my butt time and time again, and every dime I ever paid him was money very well spent. If you are considering having someone come to your business or home to help I would definitely recommend someone like Andrew to help you keep your sanity. Service of this nature can vary but you can usually expect to pay anywhere from $50 - $85 dollars an hour, but remember- what might take you days to fix might only take an experienced computer repairman a few hours, if even that (it's money well spent plus you won't turn grey in the process!)
If you do opt to take your computer out for repair - (this is always my last option but sometimes I have no choice) you can either:
a) Take it to a reputable local computer repair center ( this would be my first option) -or-
b) Take it so a larger retail chain which might mean you may have to leave your computer for days .... perhaps weeks.....perhaps months. The really big downside to this of course is having your computer gone for a long length of time without knowing what's wrong with it upfront, and you may still be unhappy once you get your computer back. This has happened to me a couple times, after waiting 2 weeks to get my computer back, only to find that it was still doing the very same things that it was doing in the first place (frustrating to say the least)
One of the things I didn't mention is paying for an extended service warranty on your computer when you purchase it: I have personally tried this too and had great success with Office Max and their extended service warranty program. Not only did they come out and replace my hard drive after 3 years when my warranty was almost up, but they also came out the same day. Great service and I was glad I had the service contract. Other service contracts I have entered into have not worked out so well -so I would encourage you to ask questions about what their protocol for fixing your computer is before you put your John Henry on the dotted line. Extended service warranties can be wonderful, but find out what you are paying for first - will they come on-site or will you have you package up your computer and send it them? (I once shipped out one of our business computer/plotters to get fixed and it cost me as much to send, box and insure it as it was for the cost for the repair)
So I've given you some options here for dealing with your computer problems- some "simple" advice if you will (is anything ever really simple with computers though?) I'm kind of stubborn and I usually try to fix my computer problems myself, but I also pretty much know when to throw in the towel now and have someone more qualified than me to get to the source of the problem, thus saving me my time and my sanity trying to figure out something I really don't know much about.
When it comes to computer breakdowns, trying to fix a problem yourself can one of the most frustrating things you will ever attempt. On the flip side though - if you are relatively confident you might be able to fix it yourself and you have the time - then maybe a learning day is in order (and you might save yourself a big chunk of money)
So my take on computer breakdowns now?
When it come to help with fixing your computer, know when to hold um, and know when to fold um. And if you gotta ask for outside help, find someone reputable, don't be afraid to ask them blunt questions and make sure you read those contracts!
(Dorsi Diaz is a freelance writer/publisher who writes on a variety of topics including small business help)
Ever Have Days Like This?
ldhceo on October 13, 2014:
It's always nice to be able to fix your computer yourself, but sometimes a little help will go a long way. I gained most of my knowledge by hands on experience and reading about ways to fix issues on my computer thru the internet. My PC also has a feature where I can reinstall the OS if needed. Rarely does this happen anymore. If you run the tools on your computer upfront, like Disk Cleanup and Disk Defrag in system tools plus the real biggie is having the right security software installed. Neglecting to have the right security software will eventually cause a corrupted registry. A good registry cleaner will keep the registry running smooth by Larry Hoezee
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on April 18, 2012:
@francis) Check out the TechGuy website.
@Edgar) That's good to know!
Edgar Guerra on April 18, 2012:
Hi Everyonone I am a computer expert If you need HELP with your computer, call me at 925-339-1461, I will help you out with any kind of software issues and you don't need to pay a lot of money for help. Have a Great Day!!!
francis on April 17, 2012:
can any 1 help me with my problem,,, i cant reformat my disk.. i cant identify the problem... if i try to reformat it its stop after making partition... it wont start the formating all mouse keyboar and harddisk stops... can any 1 help me... T.Y
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on March 26, 2012:
@mikeluckrtt) Try the techguys link above Mike. Old admin passwords can be a real pain.
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on December 23, 2011:
@Tammy) Check the techguy website. You can register there for free and get free computer help. They are awesome. Good luck.
Tammy on December 23, 2011:
Took back off my dell inspiron to clean it there r to wires p4 & p3 that were not connected and never was and no place to connect them Computer been working fine till this time and now when I turn it on it's just white screen please help
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on December 01, 2011:
@ghilmancruz) Thanks for the tip.
@yogen) Thanks for reading and the advice!
yogen on November 30, 2011:
hey goudgie i can help you should buy a windows 7 bootable disk of home basis which can easily solve your problem... and you should update your computer with a antivirus program.
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on October 18, 2011:
Try the free TechGuy forum Amir. They are awesome at helping people fix computer problems.
Amir on October 14, 2011:
My DVD rom doesn't work
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on October 04, 2011:
@gougie) Sorry I can't help you but try the tech guy website. Thanks for reading and good luck getting your computer fixed.
goudgie on September 30, 2011:
can anyone help me, my pc is haunted.one day 2 weeks ago my internet stopped working and i know it wasn't my conection because i have roomies whose pc s worked fine.my comp is an acer m1640 2008.ive added 350 gigs internal and 1 terra external,i also upgraded to win7,ive added a zotac 210 graphics card ect ect . now i thought i could fix this myself(ha)then my sound went ,then my graphics card blew, now i can only acess getting in my comp in safe mode with or without command promt, pls dont tell me to chuck this one away because i have a lot of money into it.any help would be much app my email is email@example.com pls&ty
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on September 04, 2011:
Thank you Roger. How nice of you!
roger on August 31, 2011:
hey people if you are facing any problem with your computer please write me on firstname.lastname@example.org. I will help you for free.
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on June 24, 2011:
@eewhipple) Check the tech guy forum link in my article above to help you. Thanks for reading and good luck fixing your computer problem.
email@example.com on June 24, 2011:
Stuck in windows error recovery.
Selected each of the 4 options (ie. safe mode, safe mode with networking, safe mode with command promp,start windows nomally) Each operation takes me back to windows error recovery.
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on June 17, 2011:
@lotus) uggghh. sorry to hear that. I HATE computer problems!! Hopefully you will be up and running soon!!
@upal19) Yes it's good to learn as much as you can yourself - it saves A lot of money over time.
Ashraf Mir from Dhaka on June 16, 2011:
Once I went to people for my computer problems. It is so hazardous. It took me much time to learn many things. Now I can fix many problems myself. So everyone using computer should try to know how to fix problems. It'll be money saving as well as time saving.
Sarika Mehra on June 15, 2011:
Doris,I am already in a fix ,my other laptop is not working ,it needs a doctor.:)
Anna King on April 05, 2011:
Ha, I laughed when I read this because my dad's computer repair guy, or "wire head" as he likes to call him, is also named Andrew! That man has saved my father's and my computers many times in the past. I am sad that I don't live in the same town as my dad anymore so I can't call on Andrew for my problems, but luckily there are plenty of other wire heads around to help!
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on February 20, 2011:
@Darunner) Thanks for the tip!
Darunner14 on February 14, 2011:
You also can try yahoo answers. I have helped many others, with viruses and much more. It's FREE.
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on December 08, 2010:
hotheadtech) Your welcome. Glad to be of help!
hotheadtech from New Jersey on December 08, 2010:
Thanks for putting this out there Dorsi! Your help is much appreciated :)
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on November 07, 2010:
Carmelia) For free help fixing your computer, check the links above and check the comments. Thanks for stopping by and good luck.
carmelia on November 06, 2010:
need help need to put back my audio sound dont have none
Mendel Potok on November 02, 2010:
Awesome advice guys, so glad I found this hub!
Kevin Walker on October 18, 2010:
Thanks Dorsi, Glad you like it!!
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on October 18, 2010:
Kevin) Nice website. Thanks for posting.
Jhessa Reid on October 04, 2010:
Computers are slowed down by junk that has been collected from surfing the internet, such adware, spyware and sometimes viruses. Improperly removing programs tend to slow up the computer. Make pc faster has the advantage to meet our satisfactory needs especially in times in meeting the deadlines of a certain project.
Make pc faster would help clean, optimize and maintain computers using a variety of Microsoft Windows operating systems.
Remember, if you want to maintain a healthy and fast computer, you must take good care of it and perform regular preventive maintenance to keep it free from errors.
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on May 30, 2010:
Kevin) Glad this was helpful. Thanks for the new site tip. I'll have to check it out. FREE is always good!!
Kevin Walker on May 30, 2010:
Hi Dorsi, good points well made especially the ''20 minute rule'' - I'll have to start using that one myself!! I really do agree with you about the need to find a good reliable source of tech support and the growing use of online support and self help is a good thing especially when it is reliable and for FREE! The Computer Repair Center is one such website which is being set up to offer self help, support and guidance as well as computer repair tools for amateurs and professionals alike. I'd be interested to hear your comments on this service.
Regards, Kevin Walker.
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on April 27, 2010:
Your welcome everyone and glad this was a good resource for you Jordan! Fixing and troubleshooting your PC can be such a hassle but with the help of these websites it makes things a lot easier. We can also learn how to fix our own computers and save money this way.
Jordan on April 27, 2010:
Thanks so much for your tips and stuff on computer repair! I will have to check out those sites and everything the next time i have computer trouble.
dreagon5 on March 02, 2010:
Thank you all for the information this blog turned out to be very informative with everyones opinions together! It's like team work... lol
ron d on August 17, 2009:
all i want is a simple answer on how to empty my email inbox..
Tommy on July 09, 2009:
When log on line chat with audio my audio keep cut out , Exemple when log on to paltalk karaoke chat room whem get the microphone it keep drop out i check my internet and it ok
charles on June 24, 2009:
i have ibm board , and the security chip is not active and my pc is blocked what can i dom please
dominique ontiveros on April 30, 2009:
my color of my computer is not working my computer is to bight i already try to fix it with color but it looks like the color is not working.
britneydavidson from united kingdom on March 22, 2009:
thanx for sharing this i know about techguy website...it is really good.thanx for sharing...
mandie on January 24, 2009:
cant download images getting red squares need simple advise as not a computer expert i would be so so gratefull thank you x
tjdorney on January 05, 2009:
Great ideas dorsi....i also manage 8 computers at a small advertising firm and i only give myself 30 minutes to solve it, if i can't then i am wasting time that can be used to generate revenue. You mention taking you computers to a computer repair center....i used to do that but a lot of my problems can be solved online....they just come in to my computers over the internet. I tried using geek squad who are pretty good but expensive, i now use this other one called boxaid.com which is affordable and they fix stuff in minutes.
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on December 03, 2008:
Free Daily News- I'm glad the computer advice was helpful!! Thanks for stopping by and reading.
Free Daily News on December 01, 2008:
great tips and great info im glad i stopped at the hub!
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on May 22, 2008:
Thanks everyone for stopping by. Yes pjdscott- I had to make some kind of time limit on how far I would go because if I didn't I would have gone crazy...lol..!!!And thanks CompuSmart- I'll have to check out that link! Thank-you! It's always good to have a place to go for computer help.
pjdscott from Durham, UK on May 21, 2008:
You have some really sensible tips here. I like your '20 minute' strategy - I'm forever spending hours solving occasional problems without noticing. Great hub!
Compu-Smart from London UK on May 14, 2008:
Great tips Dorsi,
I too have learned all PC skills by me myself and i, but if you ever have problems and you want free advice and talk to someone who will guide you step by step..You can use video (cam) and talk to them...
Its "paltalk chat"..Its free download and there are pc help rooms waiting for people to help..Its all free and they have saved my butt on many occasion!! they even walked me through my first format many years ago!!
silvalinings from Richardson, TX 75080 on May 02, 2008:
Thanks for this Dorsi! Two things panic me -- when my computer crashes or when my car won't start. I guess that's better than the computer not starting and the car crashing! Great article! I'm a fan.
jim1307 on April 26, 2008:
very interesting, but self help is always best, you learn more and save plenty. Nice article Dorsi
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on April 26, 2008:
Yes it sure is a love-hate relationship! I'm still trying to recover from my hard drive crash a week ago! I had to put a new drive in my laptop and reinstall everything!! UGGHHH!!!!!
About-The-Home on April 25, 2008:
One day they're so brilliant and the next day you could cheerfully throw them through the window, and they don't always seem to be logical.
It's a love hate relationship for me but they've paid my wages for a lot of years.