Over the past 17 years working in software engineering and IT management I have used numerous Windows computers and regularly come across the same problems. This lens is a synopsis of some of the more common ways that I fix my computer.
Whenever some unexpected issue occurs on the computer, my initial reaction/fear is that there may be a virus on the computer. The first step is to back up my personal files immediately, get the latest virus definitions and scan everything for viruses (even USB memory drives). Anti-virus software will isolate bugs but not necessarily repair all registry damage so some additional research may be needed after bugs are found.
A slow running computer is generally a sign of strain to the disks, CPU and/or RAM memory. I first check there is at least 10% disk space free, open the task manager to identify any applications that may be using all the memory and close down background applications. If it’s been a while since the disks have been de-fragmented then I use Windows own defragmentation utility for fixing this.
If hardware will not install/connect on its first attempt then I remove the hardware & any drivers and check the vendor’s site for the latest installation executable/drivers and documentation.
If existing hardware stops working I check the device manager (Control Panel) for any hardware faults. The Windows Troubleshooting tool can also give some good guidance on possible causes of issues.
When the operating system develops problems, I fix my computer using the Microsoft Support website as my primary tool for research. Sure, I could search online for other user comments but I prefer the validity of Microsoft articles, solutions and patches.
If applications start misbehaving then I research the faults on the vendor’s website, looking for known issues, updates and customer support tickets mentioning the same fault.