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How to solve some of the most common tech support problems yourself.

January 23, 2019

Whether you are in the office or at home troubleshooting PC problems is a part of everyday life. Before you make that support call try the following simple tips from our support team on how you can fix it yourself.

"My Computer won't start!" 

This is actually a very common support call we get and 9 times out of 10, a cord has been bumped. Follow your cables to the wall and back to your computer, check they are all securely in place.


"I can't print anything!"

Again, get the obvious solutions out of the way first. Check the printer is turned on, has paper, has ink/toner, paper in the correct tray etc. Check that your printer is connected to your network and you have selected the correct printer in you printer settings for air-printers. 


"My computer does not recognise my USB device!"

A quick fix is to plug your drive into a different USB port. For example, try a USB port on the back of your PC rather than the front. This is because the rear ports are usually directly connected to the motherboard.

This also eliminates any USB hubs from the equation, as these can cause problems.


"I am unable to log in!"

Make sure you haven’t overlooked anything (the caps lock key perhaps?). Alternatively, your password may have expired, or your account may have been locked due to too many unsuccessful login attempts. Forgot password will take you through easy steps to get you back up and running.


"I closed a document without saving!"

This is a common occurrence and can often send users into panic mode when they accidentally do it. However, all your work is not definitely lost. If you have Auto-Recover options enabled in Microsoft Office, then there are some easy steps to recover your work.

If not, you can also search for Word backup files by clicking “open”, “computer” and then browsing to the folder where the file was last saved.

You may also be able to find your file by performing a search on your computer for temporary files with a .tmp file extension or a ~ prefix.


"How do I access previously archived Outlook Emails?"

Outlook has the facility to export and save emails into a separate file for both storage and efficiency purposes. These are called Microsoft PST files. To open one of these files do so within Outlook by going to File -> Open -> Open Outlook Data File -> Browse to the file location and select it. The file will open as a separate mailbox underneath your other mailboxes.


“Whenever I try to open a Microsoft Excel document it starts to open and then freezes and comes up with the operating system message that its stopped working.”

For any of the Microsoft Office suite of applications, this is common and there are some common steps taken to resolve the issue.
1) Check for Microsoft Updates – if the problem is being experienced by many others, it may have already been resolved in a patch from Microsoft so it’s good to start with this
2) Disable any add-ons for the office program with the problem: Go to Start -> Run -> Type the program name followed by space /safe. EG: Excel /safe. If the program runs successfully, there is an add-in that is causing the issue. Programs such as PDF converters or Accounts programs sometimes have add-ins to give more functionality, but may cause this problem
3) If it’s not running in safe mode, do a full repair: Go to Start -> Control Panel -> Programs & Features -> Click on Microsoft Office and click Change/Repair. Choose an Online Repair for Office 365 products.
4) If it is still failing to start correctly, you may need to uninstall and reinstall the Office suite in full.

"I've got the dreaded blue screen of death!"

Most people will assume their PC is dead as soon as they see this, and it is unlikely that they will read what it says on the screen. Simply rebooting can fix the blue screen of death (or STOP error as it is otherwise known).

This problem is usually related to some hardware or a driver that is not working correctly. It usually happens after you install a new piece of hardware or update some drivers.

It’s helpful to tell your IT support help-desk what you did just before the error occurred, then they can undo it or diagnose the problem.


"My Computer takes a long time to start"

There are many factors that can cause a computer to start up slowly. Where the Windows PC gets to sign in relatively quickly, then after entering the username & password takes excessive time, the typical process involves the following steps:
1)  Go into System Configuration by going to Start -> Run -> type MSConfig; Change startup mode to Selective Startup and untick ‘Load system services’ and ‘Load startup items’. Save and reboot the PC. If the PC starts successfully, we then go through and find the problem startup item by a process of elimination.
2) If the PC is still starting slowly with Selective Startup a Windows System File Check. To do this, go to start -> Run -> ‘sfc /scannow’. This process often requires a restart and forces Windows to check and repair any core Microsoft Windows files to their correct state. This process takes some time when the computer is starting and is normal. Upon completion though the computer will hopefully start in reasonable time.
3) Should the PC still be slow to start, the checks and diagnostics move to check hardware? Depending on the manufacturer, age and use of the PC this process can vary greatly and is often weighed against the age of the PC to determine if it is worth the time and cost to continue repair options.


"My E-mail Attachment Doesn’t Open!"

If you have downloaded an attachment from your email account, but cannot open the file, it is most likely because the necessary software has not been installed on your computer or the file has not been associated to the software. Focus on the file extension which can be found after the period in the file name. This will give you a hint as to the software that you need to open the file. By double-clicking on the file, you will be able to search your computer and online for the software that is missing.


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