If you have a computer, you will have problems sooner or later. Here too the question is not whether it happens but when!
A much-suggested suggestion to solve the problems is: Then just reinstall your computer right?
That may indeed be a possible solution, but if your car suddenly has a rattle, then you do not immediately stop a new engine? After all, you want to know what causes the rattle and maybe it is just a loose screw that needs to be tightened for a while. That is much more efficient than replacing the entire engine anyway?
It often pays to look further and exclude causes.
Additional advantage: You will learn a whole lot of it!

Start with the troubleshooting!

You notice a problem on your computer and then?

Firstly: Take a deep breath and grab a cup of coffee or whatever you want, that is at least the first step. Do not get stressed, it’s a computer and it does not bite you 🙂
Before you try everything

Make a backup of your system!
For example, use an external disk and make an exact copy of your Windows installation with Clonezilla, for example. If it goes completely wrong, you always have an image that you can put back to return to the original situation.

Tip 1 – Analyze the problem

It is very important that you can properly describe the problem. This really helps a lot in troubleshooting problems.
Simply saying: It does not work is not an answer that no ICT person will accept and Google will not be able to do anything with it.
Make an inventory of the problem:

  • Maybe very stupid, but has it worked before?
    Consider whether there have been changes to the hardware or software after which the problem has surfaced
  • You get an error message, if so which error message and try to Google Googling to see if there are similar cases and maybe there are solutions.
  • Does the computer exhibit strange behavior?
    See what kind of behavior and when it occurs
    Can you reproduce the behavior? So if you do a certain action after which the problem comes up.
    Does the computer show the same behavior when you start it in safe mode?
  • Start the computer, but there is a blue screen?
    That can have many causes, but blue screens (BSODs) usually leave a so-called Dumpfile with a lot of information about the cause. With a Bluescreen Viewer, you can read the dump file and see what the cause is
  • Did you open a strange mail or a strange website after which the problem occurred:
    Chances are you have a virus or other junk that has caused the problems. Use a good virus scanner or scan your computer with a Rescue CD

Tip 2 – Remove software and/or drivers that have recently been installed

The problems may arise with recently installed software or drivers.
Check if the problem has occurred and then look at Control Panel -> Programs and Parts to see if the software has been installed right before the problem occurred.

You can also check the list of Windows Updates to see if any updates have been installed before the problem occurred.

Remove the software, updates or drivers that are installed around the problem date.

Then test whether the problem still exists, if it is solved then it was in it.
See if you need the software and if so, check whether a newer version is available or contact the software supplier.

Tip 3 – Know when to call your supplier

You can call your supplier when you are sure that the problem is in their software, hardware or drivers. Some will charge you for this and will be more than willing to help you. But when the problem is not in their part, it is time and money lost. That is why it is important to exclude causes. This is tip 3, but then you are warned early enough for possible extra (high) costs.

Tip 4 – Continue your search and look for clues

Search for notifications in the log files

Windows has an Error Logger, the Event Viewer.
You can consult this by pressing WIN + R and typing eventvwr as a command followed by Enter.
You will then see the Application, hardware, setup, security and System logs.
Everything that an (information) stands for is OK. But there are also warnings (exclamation mark) and critical errors (red dot with white cross)

Be warned: You will never succeed in getting a log without even one error message.
If you can reproduce the problem, write down the time and then look in the Event Log for notifications about that time. Check the different logs such as Application, System etc.
You may find here a clue that tells you what happens and what goes wrong and you can consult Google to see if there are any solutions to this.

Make sure your hard drive is in order

Also, check your hard drive with CrystalDiskInfo to test the “health” of your hard drive. It is possible that the problems are caused by hard disk errors.
Common hard disk errors are damaged sectors, causing data to become corrupted and therefore no longer readable.

Check whether your computer is not very busy with something

If your hard disk is OK, you can see what the Task Manager says.
You tell them how busy and/or taxed your computer is.
You start the Task Manager by right-clicking on the taskbar and selecting Task Manager.

Make sure that the processor is very busy, the memory is full, your hard disk is heavily loaded and there is a lot of network activity.
If there are abnormally high values here, you can see which process is consuming so many resources under the Processes tab. If you know what process this is, you might be able to link it to a program or other software so that you can further troubleshoot further.

Take a look at the motherboard

It may sound strange, but often vague problems have their origin at the motherboard. Unscrew the case once (laptops go a bit harder and requires some courage), grab a flashlight and look at the motherboard.
This is because there are capacitors and possibly some are broken.
If you see leaking or bulging capacitors, your motherboard will almost certainly need to be replaced.

Test the memory

Defective memory is also often a cause of unexplained problems.
You can exclude this in two ways:

Do you have any memory that you know is in order, like from another computer without any problems? If this is the same memory, you can try to swap this and you can test whether the problem is gone. If that is the case, the memory is the problem!

Checking the memory with a memory tester is the 2nd option you have.
You can test with Memtest86. Let the computer run on it for a night and watch the next day if you can see any errors.

Check the processor fan

A processor is so hot that if it is not cooled it just burns.
Good cooling is, therefore, a must!
But over time, dust accumulates in the cooling fan and cooling fins of the cooling block, making the processor warmer and the computer can get stuck, very slow or other strange behavior.
If this is the case, then you can clean it with compressed air. This is often sold in spray cans especially for computers. You can also use a compressor, but you must be sure that this is dry air! you do not want condensation and oil on your motherboard!

Nutrition may also be a cause

What you might not expect is that a diet can also cause problems.
To be able to run a computer properly and stable, you need a good power supply with sufficient power.
You can not really see this and can only be controlled by placing another food and testing it.

Check whether other hardware causes conflicts

This is easy to test by disconnecting all peripherals and then testing whether the problems remain.

Part 2 of this article is here.