Here is fine article on fixing common PC (Windows) problems. I highly recommend anyone with a Windows PC read this article.
As mentioned in the above article F1 is invaluable!
I have learned more from reading help files (and Internet searches) than through ANY instructor related training I have been through in the over the last 20 years!
You can press F1 within just about any application (not just MS applications) and bring up the Help window.
Also not mentioned, in the article but one that I MUST put in is use Google, Bing or other search engines. Because all the time you may not find the working solution in the help file or Microsoft FixIt Center.
I use Google and Bing to find sites, forums and blogs which give out step by step guides to solve tech problems. “Great” you say, but how do you know what advice to actually follow. A trick is to scan through the comments below the post or the conversations going on in the forums to see what others been saying. When you see the same solution presented over and over it is usually the right one (though not always).
If you go through blogs or forums related to your problem then you will notice how many people have gone through the same problem.
Another important fact when it comes to Google’ing, Bing’ing etc. is to use the appropriate search terms.
1. Use the exact error message or code.
In this way you will be able to find the most appropriate solutions from the search engines. I will always try to copy and paste the exact error message in Google or Bing or in the documentations such as F1 help files or downloaded manuals and walkthroughs.
2. Use the exact error message or code with the software/OS/website/ name and version.
If the error message is generic you have to use the name of the software, application, OS or website with its version details with the error message to see the related discussion and solutions.
3. Description of your problem with software/OS/website/ name and version
If there is no error message or code then you have to use a little description of the problem and all the other details related to the issue. That can be the operating system, software name or version details.
Always it is better to mix up the keywords or add and remove keywords to optimize the search result for your problem.
I have found that patience and persistence are invaluable!!
I often find my solution a page or two after the first page that is brought up on a search or a few links down from the first link and or within the comments of posted solutions.
The reasons for this are many, but mainly because people PAY to be listed first when it comes to certain search terms, especially those for technical solutions. And many of those PAYING to be listed high on search results are not always legitimate – meaning they are probably trying to sell or dupe you into some product or service(s) that will make them money and usually not really help you.
For those that are not experienced with technical solutions please take EXTRA care to NOT to just click on the ‘first or biggest’ link on a solution page, as this is usually just some type of advertisement or way to get you to install more crap on your system that is usually not reputable.
IF you do find a solution that suggests downloading or installing software please make sure that you have UP TO DATE Antivirus AND Anti-Spyware software installed. And for goodness sakes DO NOT install any type of ‘Scan Your PC’ software!!!
Please see my other posts about creating backups too. Before you embark on any system modifications you should have a recent validated backup of your entire system and files! [hence my love of imaging software – read about it in my other posts please]
Please not with computer problems my steps are always to first and foremost RESTART THE MACHINE.
Also you should know that when presented with a problem by friends, clients or family I usually follow all the steps as stated above. When someone emails or calls me with a question that can be easily solved by the above steps I usually shoot them back and email like this one:
“I cannot print files to the network printer….” someone will say so I send them back a link like this:)
Well I hope this helps some of you and you get the idea.