Fix a Problem With Your Computer
By Tim Fisher, About.com Guide
Is your computer locking up? Are you getting a weird error message that you can't figure out? Are you having trouble even starting your computer? No matter what kind of problem you're having, big or small, you've come to the right place in your search to find the solution!
It doesn't matter if you're a seasoned computer professional, a fix-it novice, or somewhere in between - these resources will help you get your computer back up and running in no time.
Common Error Messages
Anyone who regularly uses a computer knows all about error messages. Those of you who are also Windows users probably see more than your fair share of them. As a computer service professional, I see more error messages than anyone should in a lifetime!
Listed below are troubleshooting guides for some of the more common error messages that my readers and clients see on their computers.
- 404 Not Found
- Hal.dll is Missing or Corrupt
- NTLDR is Missing
- 500 Internal Server Error
- Unknown Hard Error C:\Winnt\System32\Ntdll.dll
- Bootmgr is Missing
- 403: Forbidden
- LAME_ENC.DLL Was Not Found
- STOP: 0x0000007B (Blue Screen)
- Xlive.dll Was Not Found
- ...see an Alphabetical List of Error Messages
Reverse Damages and Mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes... and Microsoft (and other software makers) know that. No matter if you've made a bad change in the registry or emptied the Recycle Bin after deleting your only copy of a report due the next day, there are ways to "undo" the damage.
- Use Last Known Good Configuration to Back Out of a Recent Change
- Go Back in Time With System Restore
- Restore Important Files With System File Checker
- Undelete Files With a File Recovery Program
Repairing & Reinstalling Windows
Microsoft knows that problems happen - which is why it provided tools like Safe Mode, Startup Repair, and Recovery Console. You can see complete walkthroughs below.
Sometimes, however, the only solution to some Windows problems involves a complete reinstallation of the operating system.
Below are step-by-step guides to each kind of installation, complete with images and detailed instructions. These resources make a traditionally complicated procedure easy enough for anyone to take on!
- Clean Install Windows 8
- Install/Reinstall Windows 7
- Install/Reinstall Windows Vista
- Install/Reinstall Windows XP
- Start Windows in Safe Mode
- Recovery Console (XP Only)
- Perform a Startup Repair (Vista/7) or Repair Install (XP)
Working Inside Your Computer
If you've never done it, opening up your computer to service or replace something inside can seem overwhelming. The thought alone sends many people speeding toward the expensive repair shop.
Working inside your computer is much easier than you may believe, especially when you have a little help. These resources will help you get in and out of your computer like an expert!
- How To Open a Standard PC Case
- Important Safety Tips to Remember
- What is a Motherboard?
- What is a Hard Drive?
- What is a CPU?
- What is RAM?
- What is a UPS?
- What is a Power Supply?
- What is an Optical Disc Drive?
- Take a Visual Tour Inside Your Computer
Testing Hardware & Software
A big part of solving nearly any computer problem is testing, especially when a piece of hardware might be to blame. The last thing you want to do is replace an expensive part when it wasn't the problem to begin with.
Here are several different tests that might come in handy during the troubleshooting of a problem:
Need More Help?
As much as I'd love to believe that I have everything covered already on my site, I don't. But that's OK, because as I work to make that more true, there are several ways you can keep in touch.
Below are links to my forum, my Facebook and Twitter pages, and some other great resources on getting more help with your PC.