PCs, printers, smartphones, cameras, networks - your stuff will inevitably stop working. Here's how to troubleshoot and fix your most common tech issues.
How to troubleshoot and fix your most common gadget issues
We love our technology, but if there's one guarantee when it comes to PCs, phones, cameras and other gadgets – its that at some point in its lifespan you'll encounter a problem with it.
Your PC will crash, your camera will break, your network will fail, and your printer will chew up paper.
Before you spend valuable time and money waiting for tech support or paying for a professional technician, read our handy guide to basic repairs for your PC, home network, printer, digital camera, and smartphone.
How to fix your PC
Considering how many different software and hardware components need to work correctly for a modern PC to turn on, it's a small wonder that they work as well as they do.
We can't give you a cure for all of your computer ills, but we can provide a guide to getting out of the most common PC disasters.
Here are some useful strategies.
If your PC won't turn on
Try plugging it into a different outlet or power strip; if it's a laptop, try a different battery and power adaptor, if you have another one handy.
For desktops, make sure that all your internal plugs and cards are properly seated; graphics card, RAM, everything.
If none of this helps, it's probably a problem with your motherboard or power supply, and unless you've got spare parts handy, you're probably best off calling the manufacturer's tech support line.
If your PC turns on, but won't successfully boot into Windows
First, start booting up, and press F8 repeatedly during the boot process.
This may allow you to access a menu that lets you select different boot options with your keyboard, one of which is 'Safe Mode'.
Select Safe Mode, uninstall the last thing you installed, update all your drivers (if you need to download new ones, you may need to select the 'Safe Mode With Networking' option instead), and open up the System Restore app (Start Menu, Accessories, System Tools, System Restore) to roll back to an earlier point when your PC could successfully start up.
If you hear a series of beeps on startup, you might have a motherboard-level problem.
Safe Mode not working? Your hard drive might be failing.
Get your rescue drive or manufacturer recovery discs, boot up from it, and save whatever data you haven't backed up.
Then run your disk diagnostic app - you can always run Check Disk, which is built into Windows, by right-clicking your hard drive, selecting Properties, clicking the Tools tab and selecting Check now... under the 'Error Checking' tab.
There's no cure for bad sector - you'll have to replace the drive.
If you hear your PC emitting a set of beeps during the startup process, it's most likely your BIOS trying to tell you that you have a motherboard-level problem with your PC - your processor fan might be unplugged, for example, or your power supply might not be working.
The beep patterns aren't standard, so you'll have to get on a different PC and check out your BIOS manufacturer's website to figure out what's wrong.
NEXT PAGE: What to do if Windows successfully boots, then crashes soon afterwards
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