For most of people, the computer is the centerpiece of their digital lives. It is the main device for work, games, movies, shows, and well, a lot of other things. It's a hassle when the PC suddenly starts behaving erratically. Not everyone has a secondary PC and even just a short downtime can really be a major inconvenience.
If you notice something is not right with your PC, there are a few things you can do before calling tech support or sending it to the shop for repairs. Your beloved machine might also end up working slightly better in the process. You don't have to be a tech expert to perform these various maintenance tasks.
Always make sure your computer is up to date. The latest update may bring bug fixes and system optimizations that will help your PC work better. Never take software updates for granted and don't wait too long to download them. Windows updates are usually automated but check your settings to confirm if auto update is enabled. You can go to the Start button then go to Settings. Proceed to Update & Security and click on Windows Update. The computer may restart several times to complete the updates.
Basic component check
Your computer is a sophisticated and complicated machine. For desktop PCs, several components are attached to a motherboard to make up one system. Sometimes some parts malfunction and they may have to be checked for defects. Before doing that, however, a simple check of basic components can possibly save you a lot of potential trouble. Power cables should be regularly checked for damage or loose connection. For laptops, check the power brick and the connector that leads to the computer. Intake and exhaust ports must be cleaned with a brush or a blower for proper ventilation of system components. Check the other connections at the back of the desktop PC such as mouse, keyboard, LAN (for wired connections), and monitor cable.
You can perform basic tests on certain components using the built-in tools in Windows 10. Go to Settings on the Start button and click on Troubleshoot. If you are having network problems, click on Internet Connections and run it. Run the Blue Screen troubleshooter if you are experiencing screen crashes such as Windows suddenly restarting or freezing. Hardware and Devices troubleshooter will help you determine if you have problems with other components. Click on Apply Fix to proceed.
Internal component cleanup
For desktops, open the panel to check the internal components. Turn on the power once to see if the CPU, video card, and case fans are properly working. If they are dirty, they need to be cleaned. Disconnect the power first before proceeding. Use a brush, handheld blower, or compressed air, which can be bought at computer supply shops. You can also check for loose connections on the motherboard such as the power cables, video card, and hard disc cables. Check the connections of the components to the power supply, too. If your PC hasn't been cleaned in a while, you can remove each component and inspect them for any damage, dirt, or wear. You may also check the CPU cooler and detach it to check the status of the thermal paste. Already old and powdery? Remove and apply a fresh even coat of thermal paste and re-install the CPU fan. Hopefully, after performing these checks, your PC can go back to a fine running state.