Basic PC repair: How to fix your slow computer

by CrucialWords on ‎05-18-2011 02:36 PM - edited on ‎03-12-2013 02:54 PM by Moderator Moderator

In many cases, a broken computer may not need to be replaced. Instead, simple procedures can be performed that can repair most computers and bring them back to life regardless of what went wrong.

Efforts to repair a computer typically center around three key areas - identifying what is wrong, taking safety precautions and making the hardware changes.

Identifying why a computer is broken

Many things can cause a computer to break down. Anything from a broken component to malware can put a machine out of action or cause it to operate so poorly that it is essentially unable to function. However, malware and other software-based problems can be solved easily with antivirus and other security tools. Hardware issues require a different approach.

There are a few simple ways to tell if a computer is broken. The first is to pay close attention when turning it on. The timing of when it fails and what the computer does is critical in this step. If the computer will not start at all or begins to get going and then stops abruptly, the problem is most likely the power supply, which should be replaced. If the computer is able to start, but then you hear a few tones and the computer shuts down, there is a problem with the hardware configuration. The tones you hear are a code played by the motherboard that indicate what is wrong. If the computer is functioning properly, it will play a single tone at startup. Otherwise, you will hear a series of beeps. To identify what the problem is at this stage, simply check your user manual. These steps will address most simple problems.

For more complex problems, where the motherboard does not identify the issue and the power supply is not at fault, you may need to invest in special monitoring tools. A number of relatively inexpensive tools are available to make it worth your while. These monitoring tools can identify if components are receiving an electrical charge.

Safety

Once you have identified the problem, you need to make sure you understand safety guidelines for working on a computer. Electricity is a major issue with computers, and you should begin by shutting down the machine, turning the power supply's switch off and unplugging every cord from the back of the machine. Then carefully open the case and discharge your static electricity before touching any components. A static charge can damage a piece of hardware. To avoid this, you may want to use a static-blocking glove or bracelet. You should also be careful when working inside the case, as some metal edges may be sharp.

Replacing the component

Replacing a broken component is relatively easy - simply remove the part that no longer works and put the new part in its place. If the power supply is broken, you need to carefully unplug all of the power cables and be sure all wires are reconnected to the new power supply properly. If your motherboard is causing the problems, you will need to detach everything, including the processor, and remove the motherboard before making the changes.

Making the actual repairs within the computer is relatively easy. User manuals and online forums can help you with any problems that may arise along the way, and a savvy user can turn a simple repair into an opportunity to upgrade a computer with new RAM or a solid state drive.