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Common Problems Encountered When Using Laptops

Common Problems Encountered When Using Laptops

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Laptop Troubleshooting and Maintenance

It is now an increasing fact that laptops are becoming more ubiquitous much more than Desktops were. In fact, laptop sales have overtaken desktop computer sales in recent times and knowing how to troubleshoot common problems saves time, money and headache. Here are the most common problems encountered when using laptops and their solutions: My Laptop Won t Turn On  First, check to see if the battery light is on. Sometimes the battery has been fully used up, and oftentimes this is the most common issue with the laptop not powering up.  Plug in the power supply adapter to the laptop and the electricity socket. The battery light should turn on whenever the power adapter is connected to the electricity grid. If it turns on, leave the adapter cord to charge the batteries. If the battery/power LED doesn t turn on, there may be a problem with your power adapter. Check the power adapter with a multimeter if there is power coming out of the adapter plug. You may need to replace the power adapter if it is defective. If the battery/power LED does turn on, first try removing the battery and plug in the adapter to the wall socket, if it turns on your battery may be bad or the contacts or circuitry that charges your laptop may be damaged. If the battery doesn t charge you may need to replace the batteries with new ones or you may be stuck to a wall outlet whenever you need to use the laptop. You may try to get a reading from the battery using a multimeter, and if it doesn t show a charge greater than or equal to the one displayed on the label of the battery then your battery may need to be replaced. My Laptop Doesn t Run as Fast as it Used to  Defragment your hard drive Running defragmentation software such as Windows Defrag on your system drive may improve performance to a computer with a heavily fragmented system drive.  Uninstall unneeded programs Uninstalling programs is a good way to free up disk space which in turns decreases the seek times when the computer needs to find free space to save your files. If you have more than half of you disk space unused try adjusting your page file size, page files need to be contigous to be fast as the computer stores and reads the memory to and from the hard disk.  Run a disk diagnosting tool A failing hard drive may reduce the responsiveness of your laptop. A readily available tool is chkdsk or scandisk. Running this program will locate and identify failing disk sectors, which it will then mark so that it will be skipped from being used.  Scan your system with an antivirus software

Never fully charge or discharge the battery before storage. some of these like the Windows Sidebar or antivirus software provide added functionality to a user s computer and quite a few like Windows Media Player run startup programs that while it adds to the slow startup time when booting into windows. this helps your computer run faster at startup.000 charge cycles. keep the battery cool. Windows very own defrag. Scanning your system with an antivirus software will clean your system and restore your system to normal.  Store the battery in a cool place Keeping the battery in a cool place can prolong its life but not in a period of extended storage. Why doesn t my battery last as long as it used to? All rechargeable batteries have a lifetime which may be counted on charge cycles. a tool like PageDefrag from SysInternals defragments both your Registry Hive files and your Paging files. An important tool to in disabling startup programs is msconfig. a system will experience a noticeable degradation in performance when it becomes infected. store the battery at a 40 percent charge level. For best results.  Make sure your devices do not have any resource conflicts . You may choose to use your own discretion when removing these startup programs.  Clean or deframent your registry If you re using Windows XP or 2000.  Do not keep the battery on constant charge Keeping a laptop battery on constant charge and never using it is not good for the laptop battery. The battery ages even if not used.  Store the battery at 40% charge level In addition. which means you may have to use other utilities to defragment these files. The Li-ion battery should be stored at 40 percent rather than full-charge state. Laptop batteries have finite life spans. depending on the virus. Here are some tips to increase the battery lifespan:  Use the power cord and remove the battery. Run the battery down and recharging it at least once every month.exe cannot defragment Registry Hives and Page Files. makes that particular program start faster when run. Runs slowly on startup  Remove unneeded items on your startup list Sometimes a relatively old laptop may have several apps installed that run quickstart or quick access programs on startup. The average charge cycle for a Li-Ion battery before it fizzles out is approximately 1.Sometimes. Whether you use the power cord or remove the battery it will lengthen the life of the battery. The 40 percent charge assures a stable condition even if self-discharge robs some of the battery's energy. or 2-4 years under normal operating conditions. Most battery manufacturers store Li-ion batteries at 15°C (59°F) and at 40 percent charge.

 Reinstall the keyboard driver A keyboard driver will sometimes become corrupted and the best solution is to reinstall the driver from a cd included with the laptop or preferably download the latest drivers from the internet  Tighten your screws Sometimes fixing a laptop can be as simple as that. However. the effect is an increase in internal temperatures.  Clean the laptop internally Dust can also cause the laptop to overheat by preventing optimal heat dissipation through the sinks and fins of the processor. Touchpad and Keyboard malfunctions  Check your keyboard or settings Sometimes you may have inadvertently changed your keyboard settings. blower or brush to remove dust and other obstructions will usually keep the laptop from overheating. Optical disk drive fails to function or play CD/DVDs  Reinstall the driver for your Optical Disk Drive Reinstalling the driver may remove the corrupted driver and install the correct one. If you do not particularly need the device you may uninstall the drivers or manually assign the IRQ or resources yourself. Overheating  Use a laptop cooling fan The biggest source of heat in a laptop is its processor and video card. You can try reinstalling the device or driver so the system will automatically reassign the resources. you can enable it by going through the control panel applet.  Clean the drive Clean the drive but be careful not to touch the laser lens as it may permanently damage your drive optics. Some laptop brands particularly those of Dell are prone to this problem. the only recourse is to use a laptop cooling base or fan. When using processor intensive applications like watching videos and playing games. cleaning the laptop internals by using a vacuum.  Clean the internal mechanisms . another option is to buy a replacement from the manufacturers website. if the warranty has already expired.An IRQ reserved for a hard drive which is relatively fast and which conflicts with the IRQ for a CD-ROM or USB device will significantly affect performance by more than 300%.  Have the drive repaired or replaced Returning the defective or malfunctioning drive to the manufacturer for repair or replacement if the warranty is still in effect is the cheapest solution.

the wave device maybe be set to mute.  Check your audio drivers Audio drivers may also get a conflicting IRQ therefore check your device driver settings as well.  Update driver for your device . If you find or suspect your laptop to be infected with a computer virus. Network or Wifi Problems  Make sure all equipment is installed properly No matter what your internet connection is. they usually offer great discounts from shipping and repair costs which saves you money.Cleaning the internal mechanisms will usually resolve any problems with the keyboard or the touchpad. Sound not working  Check your audio settings Sometimes. Therefore. Check your settings first to see if you ve accidentally changed anything.  Check the audio jacks Sometimes an audio jack may be placed in the wrong output or input jack. Frequently the source of infection comes from downloaded applications and from usb sticks or drives used in other computers with dubious infected computers. update your antivirus software definition files and then scan your laptop for viruses. You can also try disabling and then enabling your device. first make sure that all of your equipment is installed properly. Most jacks and ports are color-coded and therefore its as simple as connecting the corresponding colored jack to the exact colored port. Laptops are quite prone to novel viruses because of the nature of laptops their mobility. Viruses  Scan and Install Antivirus Software It is recommended to install antivirus software to protect your computer from the threat of viruses.  Have the touchpad repaired Have the touchpad or keyboard repaired by a qualified technician affiliated with the manufacturer of the laptop you re using. Dust and food may cause your keys to stick therefore it is a good idea to clean the mechanisms to resolve future problems. a null device or to a file. Applications may also redirect audio output to an alternate device. Uninstalling and installing the device may also work fix some problems. check your application settings as well. Therefore double check to see you ve attached the right jack to the right port.  Check your speaker wires A speaker s wires may sometimes have a line broken somewhere so replacing the wires may fix the problem of a malfunctioning audio device. Here are some things to check before calling Tech Support.

you can try connecting your laptop to its adapter and see if there is a change in the brightness. You must be using a proper username. test to make sure your phone cord is operating with no shorts.Make sure that you are using the latest up-to-date software for your device. .  Make sure to plug the cords If you are using dial-up .  Replace your LCD backlight If none of the other methods work. Disconnecting and reconnecting the device will refresh the device. usually the driver is reloaded whenever you connect the flash drive into the usb port. Screen looks dark  Check your display settings Most laptops have settings that change the brightness settings.  Check your backlight wiring If you ve had your laptop for a while. it most probably is a loose or defective wire. Also.  Check that the number for the dial-up is correct Check to see that you are dialing the proper number for your system to connect to the internet. wireless channels.If you are using wireless . it may still be impossible to connect to the internet if your signal strength is too low. they can usually be found in the manufacturer s utility software included when you purchased your laptop. or if the technician reports that it cannot be fixed other than full replacement. Even if everything is up-to-date and connected properly. Make sure you have typed in the proper username and password and that the caps lock is not on. If it still doesn t change it might be a problem with the backlight itself. If the screen flickers. This is your final only option. Cannot detect USB/Flash Drive  Disconnect and reconnect your flash drive Sometimes a usb flash drive will be unable to refresh a usb device s contents. it might be that the wiring from the laptop motherboard to the may be loose. SSID numbers.  Connect your laptop adapter If the the screen brightness doesn t change by checking the display.Make sure that you have plugged your phone cord into both the modem and the wall. A common solution is to Double check that your wireless settings have not been changed (ie. WEP or WPAs. Have it checked with a licensed technician if you still have your warranty. Also check your WiFi access point which may be locked requiring a password. Check that you are within range of your routers wireless internet or that there is WiFi nearby. Another problem causing situation that can prevent dial-up connection is if your call waiting function is not disabled.  Check that your wireless devices have all the same settings.

they are however not as updated as an online installer.  Reformat the drive Sometimes the flash drive has a damaged file system which chkdsk may be unable to fix. Spin-up is the time it takes for example a 52x Optical Drive Speed to spin the CD to 52x a second. Programs like Yahoo! Messenger use this installation method. Yahoo! Messenger also has an offline installer available and for programs like these it is important to note that while offline installers have faster installation times. but when dealing with laptops that have no access to the internet. Right clicking on the icon of the drive from My Computer > Format will usually format the drive and make it usable.000 writes before the drive fails. the only way to recover the drive to be usable again is to do a format operation. Typically it is around 100.  Perform chkdsk or scandisk The drive s filesystem may be damaged and performing chkdsk on the usb drive will fix the drive s files system. if you can transfer the installer files to a Hard Drive and run the installer from there. Replacement is your only option at this point. . depending on the speed the CD or DVD was burned will affect the speed of the installation. Also. If you ve had the flash drive for a while you may have a flash drive that has reached its end of life. it is best to use an offline installer. Cannot Install Faster  Use a fast drive to install from When installing from a CD-ROM or other Optical Disk Drive. downloading newer virus definition files when installing and falling back to offline installation mode when it cannot detect an internet connection available. Flash Drives have maximum write cycles. However. If you are unable format the drive from the context menu. scratches on a CD or DVD will make the drive read the CD several times to try to read through the scratches. an Optical Drive s spin-up time and its inherent slow data transfer rate contributes to slow installation times.  Use an offline installer where available A net or online installer is a small program that first downloads the required files from the internet before commencing the actual installation. Most Antivirus Software also use this method to install. Oftentimes this will fix the problems with your usb flash drive. this makes reading from a CD or DVD slower than most other media. installations will marginally be faster. which in most cases will fix the problem. Restart your laptop Restarting your laptop will clear the cache as well as reset the driver.  Replace the USB flash drive Like laptop batteries. you may need to open a commandline console and typing in format <drive letter>: /x which will force the drive to be closed and force a format operation.

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