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Common computer problems and their fixes

Common computer problems and their fixesFor some people, computers are simple . They rejoice beatific in the jungles of operating systems and PC architecture, swinging from vine to vine with the speed and grace of a marmoset. They are the monkey kings whose Midas touch keeps the entire ecosystem humming and purring in time with the cosmos.

For the rest of us somewhat out of tune monkeys, however, computers are more like the monolith from the movie 2001. They scare and confuse us. They make us angry. They make us want to smash things.
Do not fear, though; you can learn how to do anything on the Internet.

Hard drive fragmentation

A most vexing computer problem that can slow your system right down. Basically windows doesn’t care where it puts stuff on your hard drive – it’ll drop file chunks all over the place. Think of it as that house guest who rifles through your carefully organised CD collection, pulling disks out wildly, before putting them back in completely the wrong order. Now, you know you have ‘Dark side of the Moon’ somewhere but instead of it taking a few seconds to find it, it now takes you a few minutes. That’s kind of what happens when your disk becomes fragmented – it takes longer to find things than it should. By defragmenting your hard-drive, either by using the program that came with your computer (in windows it’s in the start menu under accessories and then System Tools) or something better that you’ve purchased you can speed things up significantly. Be warned, it can be a slow process, so best to let it run over night.


I kind of wish I’d saved my jungle metaphor for now so I could use it to describe the internet and the cornucopia of malicious software that wants to mess up your computer and steal its resources for its own malignant purposes. Regardless, it is important that you protect yourself. There are many good free anti-virus packages available as well as those that you can get in exchange for your hard earned money – make sure you have one installed and keep it up to date.

Computer is slow to boot

There can be a couple of reasons for this. If you have a lot of stuff on your desktop then that is going to slow things down. This is a quick and easy fix – just tidy it up. Do you really need all those shortcuts there? Is it perhaps better to store those files in Documents or Downloads? Another major cause of slow boot syndrome is having too many programs set to load on start up. This fix is slightly more involved.

1. In the start menu click ‘run’. In the resulting box type ‘msconfig’ and press return.

2. In the system configuration window that pops up click on the Startup tab.

3. Deselect everything that you don’t want to run at start up. The only things you really need running are your anti-virus and your firewall. Everything else is personal choice.

Image: Erhan Dayı – Fotolia