my computer is broken, now what?

I am going to go over the basics of both Mac and PC problem solving. Most of these solutions seem simple, and they are, however, it is important to follow them to a “T.” We will start off with the Mac, and move to the PC.

Mac Troubleshooting:

Although Mac computers do tend to break less often than their PC counterparts, they still do, and often in a big way. When things go wrong go by the following steps.

  1. make sure that it is plugged into a WORKING outlet, plug in a lamp and see if it works.
  2. if the computer is running and acting oddly try a simple restart.
    • after shutting down the machine, allow it to sit for a little, this is part hangover from older technologies, but still a good practice.
  3. check for updates to both problem software and the operating system itself (select the apple menu from top left and select software update).
  4. if the oddity persists follow this guide to maintenance.
  5. if the oddity continues I recommend you try resetting your PRAM. A full guide can be found here. For the ADD in the crowd you hold down command + option + P + R while restarting. The computer will chime once and then start again, and chime then you let go.
  6. if 4 does not work then try removing any software that was installed recently with regard to the onset of the problems.
  7. find your way to disk (applications -> utilities -> disk utility) and select the correct hard drive from the panel at left and select first aid. Then select verify disk. If any problems are encountered follow the instructions.
  8. If all else fails make sure that you have your stuff backed up well and find the discs that came with your computer, it is time for a reinstall.

PC Troubleshooting:
When PCs go awry it can be slightly more challenging as there are also viruses and spyware to contend with. However the first thing to check is always the steps 0 through 2 above.

  1. if you don’t have antivirus software installed find a reputable scanner that you trust. There are many that are free and quite able.
  2. if you have not run any anti-malware applications I would do so. (I recommend spybot search and destroy and lavasoft ad-aware)
  3. after completing step 1 reboot the machine.

Those are simply the basics, as I am a Mac guy, I am not comfortable enough walking through the steps that will lead to a repaired windows machine, however, articles like this one can be very helpful.

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