Aaaaaaaargh, this darn computer!
Need help or tips?
Post your computer related problems here for help from me or members.
Mostly, it's the software (installed programs or Operating system) that causes a majority of computer problems.
The Hardware or physical devices in your PC like the harddrive, dvd rom, network card, etc, usually is not the cause of the problem. The software drivers that run those hardware devices usually are or a newly installed device may conflict (share) with another device. (two elephants trying to get through the same door at the same time!)
If you right click the My computer icon > properties > hardware, you'll see a device manager tab.
This shows the components physically installed in your PC. If you see yellow exclamation marks (! - problem) or red X's (disabled-not installed correctly), then these should be taken care of unless you have disabled them on purpose to free up memory or simply have no use for them, like the wireless card if you don't need it or the old phone dial up modem for example. Sometimes you may have to reinstall the drivers to fix the problem. These drivers usually came with the PC install or restore disks or you can download them from the internet if your network card is working okay.
It's best to copy the main names of your important hardware devices like sound or the network card so you know what to download. Usually, the OS (operating system) will install the drivers or a default one to get you going and the driver update tab in your hardware device manager also provides an option for windows to search the internet.
The next most important problem is of course from your internet and your browser itself like extensions (google toolbars, yahoo, etc or the temporary internet files or temp files and history files that stay on your pc.
Most computer maintenance options can be found in your control panel or you may know shortcuts or have created your own shortcut to internet options for example.
In internet options you can also set the browser to delete your temporary internet files. It's best to do it manually in your internet options and get rid of the cookies and history. Unless you want to save your cookies to remember your logins or websites visited, that is.
Some of those spy viruses and problematic files also exist in your temporary internet files, so empty those regularily.
Then there is also the temp file itself. As a general rule, any file with the extension of .tmp or .temp or .log .bak can be safely removed. A handy tool for this is your disk cleanup tool in your system tools options found by clicking start, accessories, system tools.
Internet options where you delete cookies,history and temporary internet files also has the tabs to view files or view objects, where you can see where these files are stored and what's in them. Objects are things like Active X files like Java or Marcromedia flash, or the windows update programs are stored. Sometimes you may find a strange, damaged or unknown object file in there that may be harmful to your pc.
Generaly the files that prevent you from getting on the internet are those in the temporary internet options, the extensions on your browser, your security settings are too high, or your network card, modem or wireless router or your firewall.
If you use a modem, get familiar with what lights tell you have power and are connected. Wireless routers sometimes "bottleneck" or lose the connection, or you may even have a faulty cable or the electrical plug came loose from your pets, children or elephants walking down the street!
Your network pc icons in the lower right corner should let you know if you are connected or not, vista or windows 7 has the blue dot appearing in front of the icon when your online. If you are connected, clear your browser cache (storage mentioned above, temporary internet files) and try opening your browser again. Some case it may be extensions like quick time plugins or whatever "hitches" a ride on your browser, like tool bars.
Usually, shut down your pc, pull the power cord from your dsl modem and your wireless router, wait about 10 seconds, then plug your router back in, then your modem and start up your pc, should get you back online.
Sometimes just powercycling the wireless router is good enough.
In some more advance cases, you may have to repair your ip address or reinstall your network card drivers.
Right clicking the network connection icon, or going by your start, accessories, network or control panel will provide you with repair options.
If nothing else, go to device manager, uninstall your network card driver, then reboot your pc. windows should reinstall it, and make sure you have the driver name and the install disk just in case windows doesn't find it for some strange reason.
Generally, if a pc can run windows xp, it's pretty descent and vista or windows 7 just hogs more memory. I prefer XP.
Another important factor is have good security tools on your pc like a professional firewall,(not windows), a virus scan program, a spyware program and or a pc maintenance program.
Suggestions are; Avast Antivirus, AVG, Norton, or McAfee for virus scans.
Firewalls, Ashampoo, Zone Alarm, Commodo
Spyware; Spybot search and destroy (also has other excellent options like shredding or browser locking.
An excellent pc maintenance tool for free is; Advanced System Care "free", it's simple and easy to use.
Ashampoo, Avast, and Spybot are also free.
The best tool to benchmark, diagnose and see what's inside your pc is SiSoft Sandra, also free other than professional upgrade options.
Keeping air in your tires, gas in your tank and good sparkplugs, keeps you on the road to the beach!
So learning about important and simple maintenance techniques will provide you with happier travels for you and your PC.
Right click everything for more options or properties about a program is a good way to advance your learning.
Remember, your PC is usually okay and you don't have to junk it or by another expensive and useless machine for your purposes that's just going to have the same problems anyway!
TLC is the way!
Hope this helps.