In most cases when you plug something into your PC it will just work - the days of driver incompatibility and conflicts are, mostly, over. For that reason it can be incredibly frustrating when something like a printer or scanner refuses to work. If you’ve run through the tried and tested method of switching everything off, leaving it for two minutes and then switching it all back on again and the issue persists then tracking down the fault can be hard.

There are some simple troubleshooting things you can do and first amongst them is, as we’ve already mentioned, restarting all your devices and PC. Checking for software updates is always a good idea too.

For more tricky problems that just won’t seem to go away you should use the Device Manager. Device Manager is a tool in Windows that helps you to get to the bottom of any problems with just about every component inside or attached to your PC.

To get to the Device Manager in Windows 8 go to the search charm and type Device Manager - you’ll find it in the Setting results list. When the Device Manager opens you’ll see a list of all the hardware elements in or attached to your computer. To get to the bottom of any issues simply click on the arrow next to the device that’s causing issues. For example, if a disk has stopped working click on Disk drives then double-click on the disk name. A window will open and you can see all sorts of information about the hardware and update or uninstall any drivers that might be giving you problems. Right-click on the hardware in device manager for further options that can help with troubleshooting.

Where Windows has already identified an issue with any hardware there will be a yellow triangle with exclamation mark next to the device name. In this case it may also give you an error code, which can help tracking down a solution.

Visit the Dell Tech Zone for more advice on family computing.