Top 5 Most Common Computer Problems

There aren’t many things more annoying in this world, than you working on your computer, only for it to freeze or throw up one of those error messages. When a computer freezes or crashes, it can result in total loss of data, which depending on the length of your Windows session, could be hours. While there are many applications with cloud back-up features, you still end up losing considerable amounts of data.

To make things worse, when your system does encounter an error message, the message that appears, for the vast majority of people, is interpreted as jargon. As it appears as random letters and numbers, that means nothing to the average computer user. This makes, working out what the problem is, and how to fix it, all the more difficult, especially if you’re not from a computing background. Even the most well maintained laptops and computers stop working, and it’s up to you, to figure out what to do with it.

This is the sole motivation around this article. To make things easier for you. Below you will find five common issues that will help make you a more competent computer user.

1. Malware

Malware is basically a malicious piece of code that is designed to disable or corrupt the data on your system. It has to be installed onto your computer, before it can cause any damage to it. However, hackers have so many ways of doing this.

For example, they will hide these files within legitimate software. Or they will put it in an email download. And once you open the file, it will automatically install on your system and get to work, damaging files and programs.

2. Applications Misbehaving

Another problem that is common to your PCs is when programs and applications start to behave unusually. Perhaps, your program closes by itself, or maybe your Word documents don’t appear as they should.

There are so many reasons why the applications on your computer may not be working as they should. The first thing you’ll want to do is save whatever you’re working on, then restart your system. Then reload the application, to verify whether or not that has fixed the problem.

If the problem continues to persist, then the next available option to you, is a quick search on the internet. Type in the program name and a description of the problem. You will find that others have had the same problem as you, and have figured out how to repair it – many will share that solution with you.

It may also be worth checking out the developer’s website, to see if they have provided a patch or fix for the problem you’re dealing with. The developer’s site may have a forum, in the event that they do, that could be an ideal place for you to present your problem. You want to ensure you have the latest updates for whatever tools you’re using. And, in the event that there appears no solution in sight, you can always contact the developers support team.

3. Hard Drive Failure

If your hard drive fails, it can result in a number of issues for you and your system. The good thing is that it is possible to very easily replace your hard drive. The bad thing is that data contained on the hard drive can become lost forever.

This shouldn’t be much of an issue if you’re talking about applications that you can easily acquire from someplace else. But when considering photos, personal documents and other such things, this can present a problem. This is data that you can’t easily replace.

For this reason, it’s recommended that you regularly backup your most important computer files. Your hard drive could fail at any time, and it can occur on both new and older hard drives. What makes it worse is that the durability and consistency of a hard drive varies depending on its size, brand and type.

Basically, there’s no way for you to anticipate when the hard drive will fail, so you must always prepare yourself for the worst.

4. Applications Won’t Install

Another common issue that many computer users face is the inability to install applications. One of the main reasons why this occurs, is because the hard drive has run out of free space. If your hard drive becomes full, then you will be unable to install any new applications. If you fall into this category, then your next step is to remove redundant files from your system.

You can go ahead and erase any large files that are no longer of any use to you. Use File Explorer to navigate to the Download folder. In this folder you should find a lot of large files that are no longer in use, so you can go ahead and delete everything in there.

You should also consider freeing up space by uninstalling any programs that you’ve stopped using. Just access Add or Remove programs, which you can do, either through the search box, by typing in Appwiz.cpl or from the Control Panel, by search for “remove a program”. Once there, scroll down to all the various programs and remove all that you no longer use or need. Just click on the Program Name, then click on Uninstall.

It’s also possible for you to automate this process somewhat. Just type Disk Cleanup into the Taskbar, then press Enter. A small applet should appear, asking you to select the drive you wish to clean up. This will be set to your primary (C:\) hard drive, by default, so just click on OK. The Disk Cleanup tool, will then scan your hard drive and locate files that you can remove to free up space on your drive.

On the following applet window, you should be told just how much space you can potentially save by removing the listed files. Select the different categories by ticking the appropriate box, then click on OK.

5. Overheating

When you turn your computer on, and all the various parts become active, they naturally start to generate heat. This is especially so, for graphics cards, CPUs, power supply units, hard drives, both internal and external, and the motherboard too.

Most of these components work just fine, operating at a slightly warm temperature. However, when the inside of the case gets too hot, it can cause some of the components to fail, and in more extreme cases, damage the component(s) altogether. This is why your processor for example, comes with a heatsink fan. This is also true for power supply units and most graphics cards. You want to keep your computer at a reasonable temperature, at all times.

This will prevent your components from overheating.


Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website