Most Windows and PC troubles fit into patterns, but every once in a while a truly weird, never-before-seen problem crops up.
In a novel and mysterious case, a reader’s hard drive suddenly fills up with hundreds of huge files.
Unwanted restarts can be more than an exercise in frustration and wasted time — they can easily result in lost data.
Fortunately, there are only three main causes of unintended reboots, so finding — and
controlling — them is usually not hard.
One of the never-ending, always-simmering debates between PC users is whether defragging modern hard drives provides any measurable benefits to PC performance.
Unfortunately, the answer is not an absolute yes or no but instead depends on how you defrag your system.
Even powerful, capable hardware can sometimes get bogged down, and few things are more irritating than a needlessly long boot.
There are many causes for slow PC start-ups, but some simple maintenance will usually set things right.
If you click on an icon to run a program and nothing happens, the program could be hosed — and that’s bad news.
But it might only be the iconized shortcut that’s messed up, and that’s a cinch to fix. This week’s first item illustrates both these possibilities.
Windows’ built-in disk-repair tool, chkdsk.exe, has come a long way over the years, but some disk problems are simply beyond its ability to remedy.
When Windows’ disk check is not up to the task, third-party repair tools may be your ticket back to a healthy hard drive.
What do you do when your graphic system malfunctions in such a way that you can’t see the screen to change modes or otherwise fix the problem?
Graphics systems are supposed to revert automatically to a known-good setting if the hardware can’t support a given resolution or refresh rate, but sometimes they don’t. Then what?
Sometimes when trouble strikes, you have to choose between a simple brute-force fix and a more-complex but also more-informative surgical repair.
Reinstalling software is inelegant but usually works; using Windows’ built-in tools can be quicker and less traumatic.
The sleep-state modes programmed into today’s PCs are rigidly defined, but the common names of these modes vary wildly from vendor to vendor.
With no standardized language, it can be difficult to know exactly what it means when your PC goes into standby mode. But here’s help.
Even world-class troubleshooting may not be enough to salvage software that just won’t work right on your system.
It’s a hard decision when you’ve paid good money for software, but sometimes the only rational decision is to toss the software into the bit bucket.