Basic computer functions

Basic troubleshooting techniques

How to …do basic troubleshooting

Do you know what to do if your screen goes blank? What if you are not able to close an application, or your computer is very slow? Well don’t panic! This document will provide a basic troubleshooting technique to fix issues like this. This document will enlist simple ways to troubleshoot day-to-day issues when using a computer.

What you’ll learn:

  1. Tips to help a slow computer
  2. Fix a computer that isn’t powering on
  3. Tips to improve your internet connection


General Tips

Always keep in mind some general tips while troubleshooting a computer.

  1. Always check the cables: The easiest way to troubleshoot most problems is to check all the cables are connected properly and the power is on.
  2. Take note of the error: If you are given an error, it would be good to take the note of the error and search on Google for more advice.
  3. Note down the steps while troubleshooting: It is very important to keep in mind all the steps while doing troubleshooting as it will help you save time and save you from repeating the same steps multiple times.
  4. Try switching on/off the computer: Most of the computer problems get easily fixed by just turning the computer off and turning it back on again.'


Simple Solutions to Common Problems

Follow the steps given below, and tick mark the steps once completed, and move on to the next step. It is important to try the given steps before resorting to extreme measures.


Computer is Running Slow

Step 1 - Reboot

An application is any program installed on the computer, for example, the Microsoft office suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Paint). If any of the applications are not working properly, try closing the application and re-opening it.

  • If this doesn’t help the application run faster, go to the power on your computer and choose “Shutdown” as shown in the picture.
  • Turn your computer on again and see if the computer is running faster. If not, proceed to Step 2.


Step 2 - Background programs

Another reason for a slow computer is a lot of programs in the background

  • To see how many programs are running in the background, open the Task Manager.

  • Press CTRL + Alt + Delete and click Task Manager.

  • Close any applications you are not using. If this does not improve your computer speed, continue to Step 3.



Step 3 - Delete temp files

When a computer runs program, temporary (temp) files are stored on the hard drive. Deleting these temp files can help your computer speed.

  • Open the Start menu or press the Windows key, then type %temp% in the Search field.

  • Click and open the Temp folder

  • Delete all file found in this folder


Computer isn’t powering on

There can be multiple causes and reasons behind PC not turning on. We will troubleshoot all the causes one by one.

  • Computer shows no sign of power

  • Computer power On but nothing happens

  • Windows begin to load but stops or reboots again and again


Computer shows no sign of power

Step 1 - Check the power supply cable

Check if the power supply is properly connected to the computer



Step 2 – Test the power supply

Plugin your phone to the power point and see if it starts charging. If it doesn’t, there may be a problem with your power board or power socket.


Step 3 – Remove the battery and test the power supply

If your phone is charging properly:

  • Remove the power supply plug of the computer from the power board or socket.
  • After 5 mins, (make sure no power supply is connected to the computer), if you can, remove the battery of the computer
  • Now plugin the power supply back to the power board and see if the computer turns on.
  • If it does, it means that your battery is the cause of the problem and you should replace it. Until you get it replaced, feel free to use your computer, so long as you're close to a power outlet!


Computer powers on and then off

In this case, computer will have the power supply but won’t turn on and won’t show any display on the monitor.


Step 1 – Turn the computer on/off

Go to the power on your computer and choose “Shutdown”


Step 2 – Check the power supply/cable

A faulty power supply can result in not enough, if any, power getting to the motherboard, causing the computer to shut off immediately or not turn on at all. Another cause of this issue can be a loose cable. Make sure all the cables inside the computer are properly connected.



Step 3 – Start the computer in a power saving mode

Power off your computer while in a power saving mode by holding the power button down for 3 to 5 seconds. After the power is completely off, turn on your PC and test to see if it will boot normally. Please watch this video, if steps are not clear:

If it still exhibits the same problem, your cause is the hardware.


Windows begin to load but stops or reboots again and again

This issue is a common problem and is known as a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD), means a STOP Error, appears when an issue is so serious that Windows must stop loading. It is usually hardware or driver related but most will show a STOP code to help you figure out the root cause. If the blue screen flashes and your computer reboots automatically, you'll need to disable the 'automatic restart on system failure' setting on the computer. [7]


Step 1 – Remember what you installed recently on the computer

If you recently installed something on your computer and straight after that saw a blue screen on the monitor, it can be possible that program made caused this issue.


Step 2 – Reset your PC

Use system reset

  • Open start
  • Type Settings
  • Click on Update and security
  • Click on Recovery
  • Under Reset this PC, select Get started and then choose from the options and/or settings in the table below.


Fix internet connection

Watch this video or follow the below given steps [8]:


Step 1 – Restart your PC

Restarting your computer will often also turn back on your Internet adapter if it was off.


Step 2 – Ensure that your laptop's wireless adapter is enabled

Many laptops have a switch or button that turns the wireless adapter on and off. If you've accidentally pressed the button, your computer will disconnect from the network. Press the button or toggle the switch to turn your wireless adapter back on. You may have to hold the Fn button in order to be able to press the Wi-Fi button.

Skip this step on a desktop computer.


Step 3 – Restart your Internet modem and router

The easiest way to do this is by unplugging both your modem and your router from their respective power sources, waiting for a few seconds, and plugging them back in. Like restarting your computer, this can solve the bulk of minor Internet issues.


Step 4 – Perform a soft reset on your network

You can usually perform a soft reset by pressing a power button on the front or side of your router. In some cases, you can soft-reset your network by opening your router's page and clicking a Reset button somewhere in the "Advanced" or "Power" options.


Step 4a Perform a hard reset on your network

A hard reset causes your router and modem to forget all of your settings, restoring the network to its factory settings (including the factory network name and password). To perform a hard reset, you'll press and hold the "reset" button on the back of the modem for around 30 seconds, allow the modem to reboot, and perform the same step on the router. In most cases, the "reset" button is a recessed button on the back of the modem and router, meaning that you'll need to use a pen or a paperclip (or similar) to press the button.


Step 5 – Try a different website or program

Try a different website or program. There's always a chance that the website you are trying to visit is currently down, or the program you are using is having server problems on its end. Try another website or online program to see if you can connect.

Try another web browser if possible. For example, you may be having a problem with Chrome, whereas Firefox works fine. If just one of your web browsers is at fault, see the articles below for instructions on repairing it:

  • Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Internet Explorer


Step 6 – Repair your connection

Repair your connection. There could be a software problem on your computer causing the connectivity problem. Both Windows and Mac computers have built-in repair tools that you can use to try to fix the issue:

  • Windows - Press ⊞ Win+R > type in ncpa.cpl > click OK > right-click your network adapter > click Diagnose > follow any on-screen prompts.