Computer Troubleshooting Tip: Look for the Easy Solution

A couple weeks ago, I was fixing somebody’s computer. They had a problem with their computer only booting up into safe mode. They told me that they had already tried running anti-virus scans. This is when they came to me for help. I asked them a bunch of questions about their computer, and what they did on it. So I took their computer and I ran a couple of virus scans, nothing. Defragmented the hard drive, nothing. Cleaned up temp files, nothing. Ran another virus scan using a different program, still nothing. I was getting to the point that I couldn’t handle the frustration anymore, so I had to step away from the computer for a bit. While I was trying to cool down from my potential tirade, I thought of what to try next. I booted up the computer, and I checked the startup settings. Sure enough, they had somehow checked the box that said “Always boot in safe mode.”. I was washed over with a wave of relief, and frustrated with myself at the same time. How did I not think of this before? I restarted the computer, and it worked like a charm. When your computer is having troubles, make sure that the first thing you do is look for the obvious solution. It’s really easy to get caught up in the “Get this virus outta here” mentality. Most of the time, there is a really simple solution to your problem that isn’t just running a virus scan and hoping something comes up. ~Griffin Brautigam, Technical...

New Year, Clean PC

Over the course of a year your computer undoubtedly suffers wear and tear from use, and there aren’t many better ways to start off the new year than to clean it up so it runs at peak performance! Step 1: Back-up As reliable and useful as they are, computers are not infallible, and they do break down. Backing up information and data prepares you for any catastrophe so that you lose a minimal amount of work in the event that your system fails. Windows has a back-up manager included, and many more can be found online. Step 2: Monitor Machine Health The hard drive is the hardest working part of a computer, and while each part has an important function to the performance of the machine, the hard drive is probably the most important. Using both a physical health scanner (a SMART subsystem) and a logical health scanner, which is the chkdsk process on Windows machines, you can evaluate whether or not your hard drive needs to be retired. Step 3: Patching/Updating Software Despite the fact we will never have a perfect computer, we continue to make our systems and programs better, and for both security and performance reasons, it’s wise to update your files often. Now, for some people (AKA myself) you do this every day. But not everyone has that much time on their hands. But automating the process can also mean inconvenient system reboots, so it is best to set aside time to do it all at once every so often, or just update your files as you need to access them. Most update histories for programs...
Computer Troubleshooting Guides

Computer Troubleshooting Guides

I have compiled a guide that should cover most of the problems that you may have with your computer. Please note that this is an ever-changing document. If you think of something that needs to be added, or you have found a mistake, please send an email to GriffinB@Emailssd.com. Thank you. General Troubleshooting...

The Nature of RAM

Regardless of how long you’ve worked with something (in this case, computers) you learn something new every day. I just finished a college course on networking, related to Cisco, and one of the things we had to do was set up a router configuration. In so doing, one of the important steps was to save the configuration file so that it wasn’t lost upon reboot, because the current settings were running on RAM. Now for the post 4 or 5 months, I’ve taken to rebooting my PC once a day. Not shutting down and turning it back on, but restarting, because I noticed that the longer I went without a reboot, the more RAM the base Windows processes would consume, which chopped my performance down noticeably. Now, I finally understand why restarting it deals with it. RAM is only stored while it is active, and if you reboot, that wipes the slate clean. ~Chris Watson, Technical...

Can I Get My Deleted Files Back?

The moment of agony, you’ve just accidentally emptied the trash bin on your computer. You had important files in there, and now you can’t get them back. You really needed those files for something that you are doing at work or school. Your files are just, gone. Or are they? Believe it or not, there is a way to get your deleted files back. How do you do it? I’ll show you. In order to regain your accidentally deleted files, you first need to download and install a program called “Recuva”. This program will allow you to recover (Get it?) your deleted files. Recuva is a program made by Piriform, the same company that has made CCleaner, Speccy and Defraggler, three programs that I would recommend 100%. Due to the way that computer’s store and erase information, Recuva is best downloaded on a different computer, and run from a USB drive or SD card. How a Computer Deletes Files Before I show you how to use the software, I need to explain how your computer “deletes” files. See, a computer doesn’t really delete files. I have found that a great way to explain how it works is to compare a computer deleting a file to a paper shredder. When paper is put through a paper shredder, it is cut up into tiny strands. These strands can be scattered around, or just thrown into a garbage can. Theoretically however, the pieces of paper can be put back together to get the original document back. This is much the same way that a computer deletes files. So, that means that a...

The Rules of Rebooting/Shutting Down Your PC

Something I’ve noticed about a lot of end user’s is that they never turn off their PC, let alone restart it. Whether this is out of fear that it won’t reboot, or simply out of laziness, I do not know, but it is not healthy for the machine. Think of it this way: a human needs sleep to be able to function and think well. The less sleep you get, the less functional you are, and if you go days/weeks without sleeping, your mind becomes a complete mess. The brain is a lot like a biological computer, so if it needs rest, why wouldn’t your mechanical computer? A fresh restart a day is a good place to start, and then a complete shut down for every night isn’t a bad move either. You see, restart and shutdown are two very different things. Shut down is not to be confused with sleeping/hibernating. If you close your laptop, IT IS NOT SHUT OFF. To shutdown your PC, go into the Start menu, go to power, and select shut down. If the computer is frozen due to a virus or a crash, hold the physical power button for a few seconds to do a hard shut down, but only due this in EXTREME circumstances as a last resort. Sleeping/hibernating causes it to use minimal power but keeps it running for a faster start-up, while shutdown turns it off completely, causing it to use no power, and deals with issues such as overheating and hardware stress. But it doesn’t fix all problems. With Windows 10 especially, I’ve noticed that the longer your machine...