and what to do about it…
Everyone has felt it. The sluggishness or slow response you get when opening programs, files or blue screen errors when booting your machine up or shutting down. Sudden episodes of the machine shutting down and freezing up or the incessant blue busy spinning circle you see on your browser–annoying! They’re all signs that something is wrong, but understanding what may be causing it can help point you in the right direction to know what or what not to do and solve the problem. In other words, if your machine is slow and you have a virus, performing routine maintenance like defragmenting your hard drive or clearing your browser cache to speed things up is not going to help solve your problem. Furthermore, if it is a virus, performing any maintenance is likely to take you longer and prove more frustrating. More importantly if it is a failure of your fan and the computer is running too hot, you could overtax the machine and ruin the motherboard or other components.
Here are the signs and next steps to take when experiencing similar problems:
- Machine is hot to touch or seems it is emitting excessive heat.
Stop doing what you are doing and listen for the fan spinning near the vent slats (on a laptop these are usually on the left hand side of the machine) If you do not hear the fan it is either very dirty and jammed with lint and dust and can’t spin or it just wore out. The machine either needs to be cleaned on the inside or the fan needs replacing. If you do not clean or replace the fan this will eventually blow the internal components (and motherboard) on your machine. Recommended cleaning or inspection of the fan is important. Your machine should be cleaned on the inside to prevent this every year or two.
If the fan is working then you may have a serious virus on the machine causing it to work too hard to run processes and that alone will cause the machine to slow down and run hot. Contact us for recommendations.
2. You hear clicking or grinding noises
Many times this is the hard drive malfunctioning. Typically the reader arm will malfunction and can no longer scan the disc inside the hard drive. Backup your data as soon as possible and running a test of the hardware components and replacing the hard drive is probably recommended. If you can’t read information on the disc when opening your drive in file explore then it’s likely ready for the scrap heap. Before that you can take the drive out of the computer and insert it into a external disc enclosure and connect it to another machine to see if you can read or extract the data.
3. The machine is shutting down intermittently and it is not caused by automated system updates
Your machine may provide you with a warning when you boot up that there are problems with components inside the machine. Sometimes it will indicate that the fan is malfunctioning or other times it may shut down because it is getting too hot–again due to a cooling fan malfunction or excessive dust and lint on the inside that prevents the fan from spinning. Furthermore this could also be caused my a motherboard that is failing. The motherboard is what connects all your components together into an operable system and contains the processor. If the motherboard fails, more times than not, it is more affordable than replacing your machine (and will save you tons of time setting up a new machine!) Again it is recommended that you turn off the machine and bring it to a professional for inspection. We can replace the motherboard on most computers with quality used ones at a fraction of the cost than going to the manufacturer (especially if your warranty has expired).
4. Blue screen or other errors on boot up or overall sluggishness
Blue Screen errors many times will have to do with software configuration issues and missing files in windows preventing the machine from booting up properly. Sometimes these issues can be caused by viruses, malware or other configuration problems. Restoring or refreshing your machine from an earlier configuration–without affecting your files or most programs–will fix the issue more often than not. It is important to create a recovery drive and configure it properly and do regular backups in order to restore it to a previous state. If you have not done this than performing a system restore is a good option. Contact us and we can walk you through the process.
5. Random Adware or program launches
Adware is caused by two things primarily. Not running quality anti-virus and malware on your computer and downloading nefarious files, many times unbeknownst to you, from software bundles that load useless and very damaging software or browser extensions. The first thing to do when you notice adware has infiltrated your system (ads and browser popups that look sketchy–and we’re not just talking about the occasional ad you see on a website) is to look at your browser settings and see if they have been changed i.e hijacked! Namely you want to look at your home page and any extensions that may have loaded that you did not intend.
You can also go into your programs and see if programs have been installed that you are not familiar with or that look suspicious. Be careful of course before uninstalling anything and look at the date–and the source or vendor of the installed program–to provide you the clues as to when and why they were installed. If you see your browser home page has been changed and you can’t change it back or have extensions that have been loaded that you can’t get rid of i.e each time you reload your browser or reboot your machine they come back, then you’ll need to scan your machine with more specific software or have the registry keys removed manually.
Please call us for support to help you address the issues.