How to fix your own computer

Drew Patchell explains how to find a quick fix to your computer problems without having to pay for help.

I purchased my first laptop in the early 2000s. It was slow, it was heavy and it certainly crashed a lot. While computers are now considerably faster and lighter, they tend to encounter similar errors with the software which is installed. The first and last time I ever had to pay for a technician was when my laptop ‘lost’ an important 5000-word university essay which was due the next day. At $90 an hour, it now feels as though I was being ripped off, but in reality, the technician not only recovered my essay, he showed me how to fix any problem I ever had, using a website called Google.

Google has gone on to become the most used website in the world and is still as reliable as ever in helping me fix my computer woes and the technology issues of many YOURLifeChoices members.

Fixing a problem
While there will always be problems which do require the help of an expert, the majority of computer related problems can be fixed by computer users with the most basic knowledge of computers.

Sue’s DIY solution
Sue uses Microsoft Outlook to send and receive all of her Bigpond emails. After two years of successful operation, Sue’s version of Microsoft Outlook has begun to freeze during use and return a ‘Microsoft Outlook is not responding’ error. To find out what may be causing the problem and how to fix it, Sue visits www.google.com and searches ‘How to fix Microsoft Outlook not responding’. The first non-sponsored link provided by Google is from support.microsoft.com and provides Sue with a step-by-step guide to fixing her problem.

Let’s look at the four steps that Sue took to diagnose and solve her problem.

Step 1: Identify the issue and write down any specific error codes or text returned by the program. Sue wrote down ‘Microsoft Outlook is not responding’.

Step 2: Visit www.google.com.

Step 3: Search for a solution to your problem by typing ‘How to fix’ and then the name of error code. Sue didn’t have to include the name of the software being used in her search as it was already in the error name. Including the software name in the search will improve the returned results.

Step 4: Look through the first ten results returned from Google. The best result will normally be provided by the software makers. If there are no results from the software makers, read through the titles and descriptions provided. You may need to visit two to three websites before you find the right information to fix your problem.

Finding additional software features
Now that you have been able to fix the issues with your computer, why not make the most of your current computer software? There is no need to pay hundreds of dollars for computer tutorials when there is a mountain of free help information available online.

Discover your own solutions
Geoff has been using Microsoft Outlook for the past two years but has barely scratched the surface of the features available. Geoff’s friend Bob mentioned that he should be sorting all of his emails into folders. He also thought it would be a good idea for Geoff to create rules to automatically sort emails into different folders when they arrive in his inbox. He visits www.google.com and types in ‘how to Microsoft Outlook’.

Geoff not only is able to find several different sources providing free how-to information about Microsoft Outlook to help him set up folders and sorting rules, but he is also able to teach himself how to use other important functions to make his life easier.

Written by Drew

Starting out as a week of work experience in 2005 while studying his Bachelor of Business at Swinburne University, Drew has never left his post and has been with the company ever since, working on the websites digital needs. Drew has a passion for all things technology which is only rivalled for his love of all things sport (watching, not playing).
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