Common laptop problems and solutions

2010-06-10
THE PUNCH Newspaper

Most people get frustrated when they experience technical problems on their computer. This is understandable as through the years we have watched how computer has taken over most of our mental and manual functions. Confidential data usually stored in the brains and files are now stored in computers.



But the computer, like every mechanical device, can develop a technical problem anytime. Some of these problems, however, can be fixed by the average user. But because of his limited or lack of knowledge of dealing with such minor problems, he may end up spending time and money in the technician’s workshop to fix them.



To help you fix these problems yourself, here is a compilation of common technical problems encountered by laptop users and solutions to them.



My laptop can’t turn on



The problem maybe the battery, although it is possible other hardware malfunctioning is responsible. So check whether the power adapter is well connected and whether the battery (if the laptop is not plugged) is properly fixed and fully charged, suggests Mr. William Drayton in an article on common laptop problems published on www.ezinearticles.com.



However, for Lagos based professional technician, Mr. Mustapha Abiodun, “first of all remove the battery and the power adapter, then turn the system upside-down, give it about five minutes and then put the battery and the adapter back. If it still doesn’t turn on, do the exactly the same things again but this time also remove the memory, clean it and insert it back. The laptop may turn on this time as the problem may not be more than battery and memory. But if you try these things and the problem persists then you have to take the laptop to a technician.”



Why is my laptop not running as fast as it used to?



Of course, after months or even years of adding software, photos, music, documents, downloads, and other applications your laptop’s speed may reduce. One way of returning the laptop to its former performance speed, according to Drayton is by defragmenting your system.



Defragmentation is a simple process that once initiated seeks out loose data and chunks of widespread information into more densely organised and tight-knit groups. It allows for faster and easier processing for your hard drive, and will enable other applications to run more smoothly.



For those using windows, click on your start tab, initiate programs, mouse above accessories, system tools, and there you will find the ‘Disk Defragmenter’.



Another way to improve laptop speed, suggests Drayton, is by running anti-spyware and anti-virus software and eliminating any malware that may be slowing down your laptop’s performance.



Abiodun who is the managing director of Multi-chipest System Solution Limited, warns against defragmentation, but agrees that laptop speed can be slowed down by virus and spyware. From experience, he says, disk defragmentation sometimes takes a longer time and as such subjects the hard drive to lots of rigorous chores that may damage the hard drive.



“If your system has a genuine anti-virus, you are using a genuine operating system and your system has adequate memory, I can assure you that your system will not slow down,” he says. “You see, virus goes to the memory and reproduces itself in several ways, occupying the space in the memory so as to slow down your system. So if you have a licensed anti- virus-not one downloaded free from the internet- your system cannot slow down”. He advises that instead of defragging, you should at intervals take your laptop to a professional technician for servicing.



How do I stop pop-ups?



The best way to stop pop-ups, Drayton suggests, is to wipe your system clean and allow your laptop to go back to square one.



But the problem these days, he notes, is that despite pop-up blockers that Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari all have in place to allow for an undisturbed online experience, there are always newer malware being created to get around these blockades in order to bombard you with unwanted ads and viruses.



So to get round this problem, Abiodun says it is best to have a very good antivirus that will seek out and destroy the source of the problem. “A very good anti-virus and anti-malware will not allow any pop up,” he declares.



My laptop’s battery doesn’t hold a charge longer as before?



“What many people don’t know about their laptop batteries is that they must exercise or ‘be trained’ to work at their optimum functioning,” says Drayton.



Certain applications, he notes, decrease the battery’s lifespan but there are several things one can do to conserve a battery’s length of performance, such as operating in power save move or turning off the backlight.



Both Drayton and Abiodun, however, agree that a good way to flex a battery’s abilities is allowing its power to drain fully and then be recharged to its entire capacity (Abiodun says this should be done at least once in a month). After much use, batteries do tend to lose juice and drain quicker than they once did. If this becomes problematic, it may be necessary to purchase a new battery for your laptop. Nonetheless, they maintain that draining your laptop entirely and recharging it fully is highly beneficial to your battery’s overall life.


 

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