Whenever your computerized device acts up, first isolate the problem as specifically as you can so you can perform effective troubleshooting on your own. You’ll also save time and money if you have a good idea of what caused the problem in the first place if you end up needing to call tech support or a computer repair technician.

All computer problems fall into one of two general categories: hardware problems and software problems. It may be tricky as some malfunctions could be caused by problems from either camp, but step one is always trying to identify which you are dealing with. Hardware problems are usually easier to isolate, but they cost more to repair. Software issues are harder to isolate, but they often cost less due to the lack of physical labor involved with making the repair.


Hardware Problems

A hardware problem is something that is directly related to the physical system; for example, if there’s no image on the display, the computer simply refuses to power on, the monitor displays odd colors after start up or the keyboard doesn’t work.

Basic steps to identify and/or solve the problem:

  • Is your device plugged into a working outlet?
  • Is everything turned on? If something seems to be not working, make sure the brightness is up or the volume unmuted or the on switch is in the appropriate position depending on what you are having issues with.
  • Is your mouse, keyboard, speakers, monitor, etc plugged in to your device? Did you try a different port, if one is available, to see if it is the port or the device that is damaged?


Software Problems

Software problems usually manifest after the booting process. Having an unresponsive operating system or applications that no longer work properly is clear evidence of a software problem.

Basic steps to identify and/or solve the problem:

  • Did you try a quick reboot?
  • Are all your programs updated?
  • Is your antivirus software running?
  • Has your computer started acting up after a new program was installed? Try removing that program.
  • Have you tried uninstalling and reinstalling a program that has suddenly started malfunctioning?


There is also plenty of help to be found around the Internet if you like to fix problems yourself, but be very cautious of more complicated repairs that take you into depths of your computer you are not familiar with. Computer users can inadvertently cause more and larger problems when interacting with system files or other important software components.

As you are trying to identify the problem with your device, it is a smart idea to take notes. Write down exactly what the computer is doing, and not doing, as well as any specific error codes that may come up. You should also take notes of what you do to try to fix the problem and the effects. This will help you, when you can’t remember what you have already tried, but it will definitely make the repair process easier if you find you need to hand off your device to us.