If you’ve ever worked with a computer before — and who hasn’t? — then you already know a relationship with them is tumultuous. When everything is in working order, the experience is great. But when there are technical difficulties, things can get frustrating and sometimes even overbearing.
Even something that seems simple, like a freeze or hang-up, can indicate serious problems, which means fixing them can be trying.
It makes sense, then, that an entire industry has arisen behind troubleshooting and technical support. But believe it or not, third-party help is often not necessary. A lot of the common problems you might run into can be fixed easily, by you.
Here are the top 10 most common computer problems that can really get under your skin!
1. The Blue Screen of Death
The “Blue Screen of Death” is a Microsoft Windows-related STOP error. Usually, it indicates a serious problem, most likely hardware- or driver-related.
It’s often accompanied by an error code that you can reference to find out what happened. In fact, many places offer a list of these error codes for you to look up.
2. Missing DLL Files
Another standard system issue — again, with Windows-based operating systems — is a DLL error. This means a DLL file is either missing or corrupt. Files ending with “.DLL” are dynamic link library files.
They hold many codes, procedures, and instructions for programs. They exist to tell the OS how to deal with certain apps. Several programs can also open them at once, improving memory conversion.
These are necessary system files, and when they’re missing or corrupt, bad things happen. This is unfortunate, and common because there are so many of them.
3. Applications Running Slowly
When applications slow down or hang, it could be due to any number of causes. But the most common relates to processing power and memory.
Computer memory — or random access memory — is used to store data temporarily while programs are running. The recommended amount for Windows users is 2GB or more, but a higher number is ideal. In fact, the more memory you have, the more programs you can run concurrently.
RAM doesn’t necessarily speed up a computer, but it can make applications and programs run better. So, yes, it’s commonly associated with performance and speed.
Malware is a type of software that can damage or disable computers and related systems. It has to be installed on a computer before it can cause problems. However, this can happen much more quickly than you think.
For example, just downloading a file from a website could result in malware on your computer. Once opened, it can damage files, and it can even slow down your computer by using up valuable resources.
5. Internet or Network Connectivity Issues
Internet or network connectivity issues can stem from many problems. First, there could be something wrong with your ISP, or internet service provider. Then, there are DNS servers you must connect to, which can also encounter issues. Finally, there’s your local hardware, which includes your router, computer and network software.
Luckily, Windows has a troubleshooting tool that can help identify network connection issues.
6. Hard Drive Failure
A hard drive failure can lead to serious problems. The good news is that hard drives are easily replaceable. The bad news is that the data stored on said hard drive can become corrupt or lost forever.
This isn’t a big deal if you’re talking about program files that can be easily recovered. But when it comes to personal documents, photos, and important data it’s a huge problem. This is all data you can’t easily duplicate.
It’s recommended that you keep backups of your most important files. A hard drive can fail at any time, and it can happen with both old and new drives. Worse yet, failure rates differ depending on the type, capacity, and brand of a drive.
Translation: You never know when a hard drive failure will happen, so preparation is essential.
7. Frozen Screen
During a severe failure — usually related to hardware — a computer can freeze or lock up. But this can also happen due to software problems, too, so never rule it out.
Most of the time, you can remedy this by opening the Windows task manager and force-closing the problematic application. Other times, the computer will lock up completely, and the only way to fix it is to reboot the machine.
8. Strange Noises
Computers are never silent. At any given time, multiple functions take place that can cause noise. Mechanical hard drives and optical disk drives, for instance, make a distinct noise when powering up and when they’re in use. Cooling fans can also make noise as they spin. Graphics cards or GPUS also have a fan that turns as they heat up.
Many of these components can make strange noises as they fail or begin to age.
As power flows through the parts inside a computer are used, they heat up. It’s natural. This includes the CPU, hard drives, graphics cards, the power supply, external and internal drives and even the motherboard.
Some of the components can operate fine under a little warmth. When the heat inside a computer grows too high, it can cause serious failures, and it can even damage components. That’s exactly why a processor has its own cooling fan. The same applies to a graphics card or power supply. These components need to stay within a reasonable temperature range.
You never want components to overheat.
10. Applications Won’t Install
There are many reasons why an application might not install on your computer. The most likely of which is that your computer and its software are not compatible with said application.
There are minimum system requirements to run everything from a simple program to a hardware-intensive game. If your computer does not meet these needs, you can experience a slowdown, and sometimes the app won’t even run.
Other issues that can prevent installation are hardware failures, storage space, and missing files. Missing files can also be system files like .DLLs and .NET framework content.
How Do You Fix These Common Computer Problems?
Just knowing these common problems exist is not enough. You must also understand what to do when you encounter one of these setbacks.
For example, how do you remove malware once it’s on your computer? How do you prevent overheating, and if it happens, how do you cool your computer back down?