Many times, I’m on the scene a day late and a dollar short. Someone calls for my help only well after disaster has already occurred – the computer doesn’t turn on, or the browser doesn’t work, or the printer is up in flames. What could have been done?
Pay attention to the warning signs. Many of them can be subtle, so being observant is key. Here are some particular examples and some possible culprits:
1) Overnight, the computer is taking much longer to become usable. Was this accompanied by some strange sounds? It could be a failing hard drive. If your browser starts with a different homepage, your computer could be suffering from viruses or spyware. Or possibly some automatic updates were performed, but they went awry.
2) Your printer has problems printing. If it is a wireless printer, can you tell if it is still on the network? Is it asking for a new cartridge, even though you just replaced it? Did the paper jam, and now it’s not printing even though you turned it off and on?
3) “Something” on the computer doesn’t work right. Maybe it’s Microsoft Word, asking you to click on the end user license agreement…again and again. Or HP software says it’s looking for something, please locate it. Or all your files are missing (!). There could be a corrupt file causing these problems.
In my opinion, it’s preferable to deal with problems with immediately rather than hoping that time will solve it. If you have restarted your equipment, and the problem’s still there, assume it’s permanent, and act accordingly.