PC problems can be messy and complicated, and can involve more than one component, but the preceding steps below will give you a good place to start when you’re PC is having trouble.
Whether you’re going to be troubleshooting your computer problems yourself or getting help from someone else, it is vital to have as much information about your computer’s problem beforehand. After all, if you’re going to attempt to fix your computer, you need a clear idea of what’s broken and any relevant information that could be related or possibly causing the issue.
Here are some simple questions you should ask yourself before you attempt to resolve your computer issues…
- What is your error message and/or what exactly is happening?
You may think this would be obvious but you’d be surprised at how many people are unclear in communicating their issues when requesting assistance. You can never be too specific! Write down your exact error message and specific details of what’s occurring. Even better yet, take a screenshot of your computer screen with the error message on it. Some errors will not allow you to take a screenshot and in that case use a digital camera to take a picture.
- When does your problem occur and what are you doing when it occurs?
Is your issue recurring or has it only ever happened once? Is it something that happens only as a result of a specific action that you perform or does it happen randomly? Finding a pattern and noting when the problem occurs will help in determining its cause.
- What other programs are running on your PC?
Is your virus program running or is your firewall on? Make sure to note what other programs are running on your PC since they could be conflicting with other programs or be the source of your problem. You can also use Task Manager to note what other programs are running at the time of your error. Knowing what other programs are running can give you insight into what could be a potential conflict and cause of your issue.
- What recent software installations or changes have been made to your system?
If you recently installed a new software program and suddenly you’re getting a new error, it’s a logical first step to determine if that new software is causing your issue. Make sure you note any changes either software or hardware to your computer before you start troubleshooting.
- What are the details of your system?
Note the details of your system for reference. Be sure you know what type of computer you are on, including which operating system you are using, such as Windows 7, Vista, XP, or another version. If your error is related to a specific software program, take note of the version of that program. Knowing this information will allow you to narrow down and determine possible solutions.
Now that you know the basics of diagnosing your computer errors go ahead and download our free, easy-to-use checklist to begin diagnosing your PC.