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Troubleshooting Computer Problems

Computers are are great tools for home and office, when they are working properly. This is a guide about troubleshooting computer problems.


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By 14 found this helpful
June 16, 2010

I love my computer but must admit that I'm not savvy on it at all. I am forever coming across a problem that I don't know how to fix and having to call HP, AOL, or somebody to help me. I found I was calling lots of times over and over for the same problems. Finally I came up with an idea and it's saved me countless phone calls.

Now when I have a problem and have to call, while I'm on the phone I take detailed notes. Then when I'm done I immediately write up the problem and everything that was done to fix the problem on the computer (or hand write it, either way). I keep a notebook binder on the desk now with lots of page protectors in it. Into each page protector goes the problem and fix. Then I stick a tab on the edge with a short "label" of what the problem was.

This has saved me a lot of headaches and a lot of time. It's so much faster and easier than trying to call these companies!

By Cricket from Parkton, NC

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July 27, 2017

My laptop was out of warranty and I had an "unable to find driver for this platform" error which resulted in my laptop not starting up at all. I was so terrified because I have never backed my laptop and thought I would lose everything, not to mention I would probably have to pay money to get my laptop fixed.


Turns out even though my warranty was out, a tech support employee was able to repair my laptop at no charge. It took the tech support employee about 15 minutes. I was very happy. I'm not sure if I was just lucky or if they are supposed to charge, but if you have any problems, do not hesitate to bring it by your Apple store. Make sure to make an appointment on their Apple Genius Bar website.


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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

May 20, 2007

My computer has become more and more unresponsive. When I open up IE, it is slow and sometimes will sorta freeze up. I can unfreeze it if I open up another page of IE and click somewhere on that page when it loads. For some reason, when I go back to the first page I was trying to get to cooperate, it will start working again.


Sometimes when I "x out" or try to close a page it is totally unresponsive. I will do control Alt delete and it still won't close out. Most times I just have to hit the power button and shut the whole computer down and I don't mean going to the start menu and shutting it off like you are supposed to, that process is unresponsive also.

I have run anit spyware and Microsoft updates and AVG antivirus software. It just seems to be getting worse and worse.

Any ideas?

Paula Scott from GA


By (Guest Post)
May 20, 20070 found this helpful

try clearing your 'cache' open IE goto tools>options> delete files

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May 20, 20070 found this helpful

Click "Tools", then "Internet Options"
Click "Delete Cookies", then "Delete Files".


Every site and page you go to on the internet is stored, so every now and then you need to clear these or your computer will slow down.

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May 22, 20070 found this helpful

Depending on the age of your computer you may want to add RAM. Very easy and quick.

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By (Guest Post)
May 22, 20070 found this helpful

I have found from personal experience that downloading too many programs often causes conflicts with the operation system. My best advice to you would be to uninstall the anti spyware and Microsoft updates and AVG antivirus software, restart your computer and see if that helps (you can always install these programs back again later if you'd like). If this doesn't work I would go to and type in unresponsive computer or anything else that you can think of that might best describe your problem. I have found many solutions to my computer problems by doing this.


Good Luck

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By (Guest Post)
May 22, 20070 found this helpful

1. First -dump your files, cookies, and history by going to TOOLS, to INTERNET OPTIONS, then to DELETE Browsing History, Temporary Internet Files, Passwords, Cookies, etc.

2. Next - LEFT click on MY COMPUTER. RIGHT click on your C Drive. Choose PROPERTIES. Choose the TOOLS TAB. Choose ERROR CHECKING, choose CHECK NOW. A little window will come up - put check marks in for both AUTOMATICALLY FIX ERRORS, and for SCAN FOR BAD SECTOR RECOVERY. Next choose START. A little window will come up and tell you that Windows will need to restart to perform this, and would you like to schedule it for the next time you restart Windows. Choose yes. (if you are using an older version of Windows it may not make you do this). REBOOT your computer and let the ERROR-CHECKING scan run. This may take as long as a couple of hours depending on how much data you have on your computer. If you have corrupt files (not viruses) this will attempt to correct them so that they run more smoothly.


3. Next - LEFT click on MY COMPUTER. RIGHT click on your C Drive. Choose PROPERTIES. Choose the TOOLS TAB. This time choose DEFRAGMENTATION, then choose DEFRAGMENT NOW. Another window will come up, choose DEFRAGMENT again and let this run. Again this might take an hour or two. When it is done, close the windows. DEFRAGING is like sliding all the hangers in your closet over to make space and allows the computer to run through your files quicker and more efficiently.

Depending on how much you use your computer, you might do #1 daily (or at least weekly)

#2 and #3 weekly (or at least monthly).

If you haven't already gone to WINDOWS UPDATE (look in your programs menu) and set it to automatically update Windows and Internet Explorer I really recommend that you do so. Windows tweeks its programs frequently and it will help things run better.

If after doing ALL of that, you see that you are still having problems, it may be that you do need more RAM (extra space for multiple programs to run in the background) or it may be possible that your hard-drive is getting close to failure. In either case -be sure and back-up files that you want to keep so that you don't lose anything important to you.

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By (Guest Post)
May 22, 20070 found this helpful

One additional comment - Doing a hard shut-down such as you talk about can corrupt files. If it continues to do this after you have error-checked and defragmented, my guess is that your hard-drive is getting ready to fail. Hard-drives can vary in life-time but they are mechanical and will eventually fail. Be sure and back up your data as soon as possible.

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May 22, 20070 found this helpful

You didn't state if you have cable or dial-up, if you have "cleaned" your machine, or if you are talking about IE 7 or not.
If you have not cleaned-- please run your de-frag program-- you may need to do it more than once if you haven't done this in a long time.
Then try IE 7 again. and see how it works.
I also run CCleaner that has a freeware version-- it has stopped a lot of junk being left on the machine and causing problems.
good luck

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May 23, 20070 found this helpful

WOW!!!!! THANK YOU GUYS FOR ALL THE DETAILED HELP! THINGS SEEM TO BE RUNNING MUCH BETTER. Thank you for your time typing all your recommendations in...


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May 23, 20070 found this helpful

uh oh, IE7 still had bugs last I knew. I had installed it back in the winter and my computer started doing really bad stuff and running weird. A friend on messenger told me by chance they had installed IE7 and it crashed their whole system. they had to uninstall it and go back to the older version. I actually ended up calling microsoft and they uninstalled it for free and helped to fix my computer. Google microsoft and get their phone number and call them. Anyone thinking of getting IE7 might want to wait until the bugs are out of it.

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May 23, 20070 found this helpful

Try using Firefox until you get the IE situation fixed.
You will have less crashes. It's free.  a:en-US:official

You can transfer your favorites to Firefox. Also free.
https://addons.  irefox/addon/720

IE 7 is not compatible with some services, like math labs for college students. Go back to ie 6. Unfortunately, the math lab I use won't take Firefox, so I stay with ie 6 and when it acts up, I go to Firefox.
The favorites transfer will probably just send favs to Firefox and not the other way around, which means that if you want to bookmark something for use in both, you'll have to do it from ie - unless this has changed!
The transfer that I used I couldn't find, so I am suggesting the above one instead - but I haven't used it. It had a name like, "old favorites". I had a bunch of IE problems until my son switched my computer from win 2000 to win xp. Made ALL the difference in the world.

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May 23, 20070 found this helpful

PS: While I was still using win 2000, I bought a subscription to PC Doc Pro - worth every penny. It cleaned up the messed up registries and no doubt helped in other ways, too.
Son thought it was a waste at the time, but when I now run a scan it points out the registry problems, so win xp notwithstanding, it is still helping as far as I am concerned. Wish I'd found it sooner. Bought a double subscription because I also use it to clean up my daughter's laptop when it crashes (less expensive than taking the laptop to a repair shop so it pays for itself just with this feature).

To keep my computer healthy, I run these programs:
1.PC Doc Pro
2.Crap Cleaner (free shareware)
3.Trend Micro Anti-spyware
4.disk defrag
5.disk cleanup

PC Doc Pro is

Crap Cleaner is at
http://www.file  wnload_ccleaner/

Trend Micro anti spyware I bought at Fry's, but can no doubt be purchased online or elsewhere - I waited until they ran a sale - they had a free anti-spyware scan I'd use, annoying to download each and every time, but was glad to have it.

Good luck.

My problems disappeared with win xp and reformatting the hard drive (which unfortunately required re-formatting at least some 4 times under win 2000).

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By Dustin Smith (Guest Post)
May 24, 20070 found this helpful

You could have some malicious tags or software that are acting like a parasite to IE. effectively hijacking it. try running a program called Hijack This, it is a free ware program that can be downloaded on Google and has worked for me many times before. if you can not get it up and running, you can call me at 770-573-0741 and i may have some other suggestions. My company's name is Atlanta Technical Solutions, we serve Metro Atlanta and surrounding areas.

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By Jr (Guest Post)
May 26, 20070 found this helpful

My guess is it has malware (Spyware)
Download Ad-Aware Personal SE and run it couple of times.
It is a free program.
Look on Google for URL.........jr

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By 0 found this helpful
November 18, 2009

For several months I have been trying to get my computer to do updates. It is set for auto update. I have turned off my firewall (and on w/anti-virus stuff off) and antivirus stuff, etc. and even though my security settings say Norton AV is off, once in a while a message pops up saying Norton is scanning or updating. And my other updates won't update.

I have had Norton AV for a while so I don't think that is what is causing it. I keep getting the error message "80072 EFD". I have followed the advice on the help menu, I have contacted the company and I just get emails saying I should get an email in 24 hours, yet I never do. It is so aggravating. My computer is less than two years old, it shouldn't be doing this.

By Tatorbug from AL

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By 0 found this helpful
April 27, 2011

I have a Dell laptop Inspirion, and I'm on AOL 9.6 which is compatible with my system. As I type I am accidentally hitting possibly the space bar and or other keys and my cursor jumps to some previous place in my email, though it also happens in Word Perfect. I've never had this problem before with other computers.

Is this what "sticky keys" are? Is this just a glitch in the system? It's so frustrating since I write a lot while reading from my notebook. I have to keep looking at the computer to make sure the cursor didn't jump back and mess everything up. Any suggestions? Or is it just this computer?
Thanks for any help or suggestions.

By Patti from Ewing, NJ

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By 0 found this helpful
November 6, 2008

My computer is low on memory and is very slow. Can anyone tell me how to clean it off? There are a lot of things on here I don't use. Thank you.

Peggy from Canastota, NY


By pamela munro (Guest Post)
November 6, 20080 found this helpful

(1)You can go to the control panel (windows) and go to "add/delete programs" and delete everything you don't use. Just deleting the icon on the desktop won't delete the program itself. (2) you can "defragment" the disk - also under maintenance somewhere - use a "find" and get your hard drive cleaned up - (3) you can use a registry cleaner (download a free one from the net) to get rid of all the registry keys you have collected while surfing - they slow things down, too.

Hope this helps. Also keep your firewall/anti-vius up to date!

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November 6, 20080 found this helpful

Be very careful downloading anything from the internet. I've always been leery of messing with the registry. CrapCleaner is safe and I use it often. It cleans up bits and pieces not needed. The defragmenter is located under All Programs - Accessories - System Tools - Disk Defragmenter. Good luck.

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November 6, 20080 found this helpful

My computer recommends C Cleaner.

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By TW (Guest Post)
November 7, 20080 found this helpful

Your problem is not your "computer's memory".

I'm not being a smart aleck here, just bare with me.

Your computers memory (or RAM) is wiped clean everytime you turn off your computer. Your problem is probably two fold:

1. Your hard drive is full, one of the other posters is correct in that you need to go to the control panel and use the add/remove programs menu to remove anything you don't use often. This will not speed up your computer though, it will just give you more hard drive space, it could give windows more room for a swap space but that probably won't result in blazing fast speed.

2. What I really recommend here is that you re-install windows. What happens is after using your computer for a year or so you install programs that write to the registry etc. The longer you use your computer the more registry entries (even after using the un-install features) and the slower your machine will run.

If you re-install windows (and make sure you do a destructive re-install where it erases your hard drive and then install windows, this will require that you back up all of your data before you begin) it will be as if you just got your computer "brand new". It will probably run much faster, as fast as the day your bought it. You CAN NOT speed up your computer through the use of memory managers or other software, the only options are to add more memory (and don't go to bestbuy etc. find someone local, maybe on craigslist to do it for very cheap) and/or do the windows re-installation routine.

Good luck

Editor's note: Make sure you have a good back up of all essential files before doing anything.

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By Ted N. (Guest Post)
November 7, 20080 found this helpful

Check you history settings if it is not set to automatically do it every so often you have a TON of past sites visited.

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November 7, 20080 found this helpful

You can use your standard Windows tools to remove programs you don't use, clean out some unnecessary files, defragment the hard drive, and change a setting to minimize the unnecessary files being saved on your computer every time you use it. This WILL improve the performance some. Here are the steps I'd recommend:

I've assumed you are using Internet Explorer. If not, post again identifying what system and browser software you are using.

Do 1, 2, &3 specifically in that order.
1) Start > Control Panel > Add or Remove Programs. It will take it a few seconds to scan and list all of the programs on your computer. Review the list and select one you don't use and want to remove, click the Remove button. Once it is removed, select the next one you aren't using and remove it.

2) All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup. If you only have one drive it will automatically start analyzing it. If you have more than one it will ask which one you want to cleanup.

When it is done with the analysis it will give you a box which lists all the memory you can clear if you remove various categories of items. One of the largest will probably be the Temporary Internet Files. Step 4 will tell you how to automatically delete those files everytime you close IE so they don't build up.

I recommend selecting these checkboxes - Temporary Internet Files, Recycle Bin, Temporary Files, and WebClient/Publisher Temporary Files. If you have already installed any programs you downloaded and don't want to keep the downloads for backup, you can also select the Downloaded Program Files checkbox.

3) All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter - Select your main drive (usually C:) and click Defragment. It will actually analyze before it starts, that's why I don't bother with the analyze button. If you do run analyze first, ignore the message from Microsoft and close the box, 90% of the time it will say you don't need to defrag even if the whole thing shows as red for fragmented files.
Look at the "before" block; you'll probably see a lot of gaps and red sections. The first time you do this I would start it at night when you finish with the computer and let it run overnight. It will probably take a long time. I usually tell people who have had their computer more than 6 months without running defrag that they should run it 2 or 3 times.

3) Open IE, go to Tools > Internet Options > Advanced (Tab). Scroll down to the Security section (near the bottom) and look for the "Empty Temporary Internet Files folder when browser is closed" line. Select the checkbox and click the OK button.

The items mentioned in other replies will give you additional improvement. Just keep in mind that downloading and using other "disk" cleaner programs and/or Registry cleaner programs should only be done if you are very comfortable with the programs you are using. If not ask a friend who is more "computer literate" to help you out the first time or follow TW's (guest) advice and find a local computer shop or independent geek to do it for you. Much cheaper than one of the chains. (The only exception to this is if you bought a "service plan" when you bought the computer. If so, check out the details of the plan and use it to get what you paid for upfront.)

Hopefully this will help with performance. Let us know what results you get.

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Answer this Question...

By 0 found this helpful
August 6, 2009

For some reason my computer won't let me load any software. I can't retrieve pictures from a disk, I can't load Digital Image (which worked fine on my other computer), nothing loads from my CD reader.

When I try setup.exe I get a "not found" message, and I don't seem to have Setup Wizard at all, even when the disc I try to run has it. What's going on, and how do I get my computer to read things?

By Mary Ross from Tucson, AZ

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October 17, 2011

My computer keeps jumping around. I can't write a complete sentence. What could be the problem?

By Gerry

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July 13, 20110 found this helpful

I can open my emails, but as of yesterday I can not delete, forward, reply, or send. Those options are not loaded; even the update option won't work.

By Chris

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By 0 found this helpful
August 16, 2008

My computer freezes up no matter what I am doing on it. I have tried everything and it still freezes. Help.

LaVerne from Louisville, KY


By chris (Guest Post)
September 18, 20080 found this helpful

More than likely it's from excess heat, bad memory (RAM) or hardware component like a video card or motherboard that's overheating. If there were a short circuit, the computer would turn off. The only way to test this is by swapping your components with good/trusted components. If you don't have spares you can ask friends or go to computer repair/geeksquad type place. Also make sure that your fans are still running- heat will lock up a computer fast.

I'm assuming you haven't deleted system files, I'm sure it's hardware then. But if you think it's a system file / software thing, then (in windows), there is a program called SFC system file checker in windows or windows/system32. run that from command line (start->run->'cmd', then cd c:windowssystem32, then sfc /? to get the options. You want to check all. It may ask you to restart..

Defragging doesn't really do anything but make some file run faster. It's better to run a system scan on the files first then defrag as others have suggested.

My credentials are I was an IT desktop tech for 10 yrs, 8 yrs ago and now I'm a programmer, not some bum off the street about computers.

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By 0 found this helpful
June 13, 2015

I have a 2 1/2 year old Gateway computer and as of late, the computer starts to hum after about 45 minutes. I assumed it is the fan and that it needs cleaning. Now the technician said, it might be something else. I do not know his reputation and I had some bad luck the last time. Has anybody had the some problem and can give me some advice?

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August 17, 20140 found this helpful

How can I find what Windows has done with my desktop gadget clock? After an update the whole thing disappeared and seems to be nowhere on my computer. The gadget app was my clock.

By Anne S from Bradford UK

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April 9, 20080 found this helpful

Just to keep my computer maintained I downloaded AOL Computer Check Up. It's free from AOL and it takes about 2 minutes when I'm turning off the computer to clean the hard drive, cache, and all temporary internet files and cookies. This helps my computer run quicker and it also has a built in spyware/adware program in it to zap these things before they do any damage to you files. So all in all it works great and it's free!

By Denise from McRae, GA

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