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.

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 and searches ‘How to fix Microsoft Outlook not responding’. The first non-sponsored link provided by Google is from 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

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 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.


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    9th Oct 2012
    One funny experience I had with fixing computers was when I have done all the do it yourself
    fix and still can't get the pc to start, so I asked my nephew to help me out. He came to my place at wee hours of the day just to tell me that my pc was turned off.
    9th Oct 2012
    OOh, yeaH! which button matters most? This gave me a good laugh: I know when panic strikes reason flies out of the window.
    9th Oct 2012
    When I was working fixing computers, over 45 years and YES there were computers then, I loved it when the Internet arrived along with "do it yourself" sites.
    Reminded me of old sign:

    Hourly rate: $10.50
    Hourly rate if you sit and watch: $12.50
    Hourly rate if you sit, watch, and comment: $15.50
    Hourly rate if you sit, watch, comment, and "help": $20.00

    Cheap ain't always best.
    Good luck and happy computing.
    9th Oct 2012
    Silly me! I thought "Fix Registry Errors" free download meant it was free. Actually I trusted this site, so I was quite disappointed to find them hosting a scam when I discovered that I had hundreds of errors on my computer which they would fix for a fee.
    9th Oct 2012
    You did it the hard way Kohleria, 90% of the time I just Format drive C:
    Worked every time.
    10th Oct 2012
    What a good thing to pass on. I have always serviced and looked after my PC's myself but yesterday was I completely stumped when my desktop PC would not even boot up so was therefore not even able to enter BIOS to change the boot sequence and do a recovery.
    I used my laptop to go to the HP forums page and there was a lot of information there. One piece of information was to remove any USB devices that were attached to the PC at startup. I did this, firstly removing the USB stick that I used as "ready boost" for my PC's memory. Lo and behold, with just this removed my PC rebooted and runs just like normal.
    There were other remedies suggested on the forums. The one I used was by far the easiest to try. Had it not worked I would have tried the next on the list. Cheers, Rick.
    16th Oct 2012
    My advice for a quick fix - make friends with or bribe the next door neighbour's twelve year old.
    18th Oct 2012
    morning have just noticed my pc making unusal noise when i press some i type know it has stopped . its a real clunk noise it hasalso made a cling noise maybe i should turn volume down thatill fix it thanks bluey

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