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Fix-it Yourself

Q. Computer  performance has slowed.

This is the number one complaint from most users. There are several reason why this has occurred. However, most can attributed to lack of maintenance. Fragmented data, corrupted registry, spyware, and load of unnecessary programs and services running can all eat away at your PC speed and performance. Manage your programs and cleaning your registry would easily award you a 30% gain in performance speed.

This is the number one complaint from most users. There are several reason why this has occurred. However, most can attributed to lack of maintenance. Fragmented data, corrupted registry, spyware, and load of unnecessary programs and services running can all eat away at your PC speed and performance. Manage your programs and cleaning your registry would easily award you a 30% gain in performance speed.

Q. Lockup, freezes, and blue screens of death.

This is another common computer problem. However, this particular issue is a bit more serious; therefore, it needs a few diagnostic steps. In most cases this problems are caused by spyware. To avoid this problem update your anti-spyware program daily. Having the most up to date signatures will help you avoid having a serious spyware problem. However, if you have concluded that your PC is spyware free. You should update your hardware drivers. The computer cannot communicate with various hardware components without an up to date driver. When it cannot find a driver, the CPU locks up. Also, increasing your virtual memory can also help to avoid freezes. Virtual Memory will allow to you get more use out your computer\’s RAM. Check the resource box for more info on the subject.

Q. The computer spontaneously reboots or turn itself off.

This computer problem can be usually attributed to a hardware issue. Usually it\’s the power supply is dying or in most cases a dirty or defective cooling fan. The computer trying to cool itself by automatically switching off. So, if you feel a bit of extra heat coming out the computer. Clean the fan and make sure it running properly. If your fan is functional, check your power supply. Also, you will be surprised how many people fail to make sure the cables are attached tightly. This be the cause of this particular computer problem.

Q. Strange noises and vibrations.

This is almost totally a hardware issue. Your computer is made up of thousands of parts. It\’s not unheard of that one of them can become unhinged. Overheating can cause expansion of wires and melt some sensitive. High pitch noises such as squealing or whining sounds can be cause electronic components. Whatever the reason, you conduct a small investigation. Remove the case and run the computer to discover the origin of the computer problem. If it\’s not a simple matter such as a loose wire or fan issue, it may be time to call a computer tech.

Q. My Keyboard Stop Working

If your keyboard stopped working, there are a few things you can check to troubleshoot what the problem might be. Depending on the situation, you can try one of the following: First you have to be able to determine two important factors in this troubleshooting equation. 1. If your keyboard stopped working, did it happen while you were typing, or did you notice it right after starting the computer up? 2. What kind of keyboard connection are you using? Is it a USB keyboard, is it a wireless keyboard, or is it a regular PS/2 keyboard connection? Let\’s find out the possibilities.

1. – Your keyboard stopped working.

Did it happen while you were typing, or did you notice it right after starting the computer up? Other than an extreme obvious situation like spilling water on the keyboard, answering this question is important to know as it will help you identify the problem. If your keyboard stopped working while typing, it may be as simple as loss of communication between the keyboard and the computer, a computer freezing up on you, or as complicated as a broken keyboard connection in which case you will need to replace it. If you notice that your keyboard stopped working after starting or rebooting your computer, check the keyboard connection and make sure is properly seated. You may have to reboot once again. Here is where question number two plays a role to know.

2. – What kind of keyboard connection are you using?

Is it a USB keyboard, is it a wireless keyboard, or is it a regular PS/2 keyboard connection? – You have to be able to determine the kind of keyboard you use so you know what steps to follow in this troubleshooting equation. Let\’s find out why.

USB keyboard

If your USB Keyboard stopped working, you can try to disconnect it and connect it back on the fly. USB connections are plug and play, so if you are running Windows and your USB keyboard doesn\’t work, you can try unplugging and plugging it back to re-establish the communication, or simply try connecting it to another USB port. If this still doesn\’t work, check the led lights on the keyboard; are any of them on? If they are, is the computer acting slowly? You may need to restart it at this point to refresh your computer memory and resources to get it back to normal speed, or perhaps it needs maintenance by running disk cleanup and disk defragmenter.

Wireless keyboard

If your wireless keyboard stopped working for any reason, make sure that the USB receiver has no interference blocking the signal to the keyboard. Clear the computer desk and check if it works. Also check the batteries; it may be time to change them. Keyboard receivers have a signal scan button to detect their peripherals, press the button to transmit the signal and the light should start blinking. Once it does, find the button on the keyboard (similar to the one on the receiver) to receive the signal sent by the receiver and make them sink with each other. This procedure should allow the keyboard to work again. Note: remember that wireless receivers are always USB; Follow the same steps used above for USB keyboards and do the same for the wireless receiver.

PS/2 keyboard

Troubleshooting this type of keyboard connection is slightly different from the USB type. PS/2 connectors are not plug and play as it is the case of USBs. In a way, these keyboards are more reliable because there are no drivers to install from the operating system. In the case of USB connectors, every time you plug a device into your computer for the first time, it installs the drivers for it which means that it may bring issues from time to time. PS/2 keyboards always have to be plugged in before starting your computer up (remember they are not plug and play). If it stops working while using the operating system, in most cases it is not the keyboard. The more likely reason could be Windows freezing up due to a process in the background that slows down the computer. This could also be because you don\’t have enough RAM Memory in your system and have too many things open at the same time which in turn slows down the computer. Check your mouse for example, is it moving fast enough? If it is not, that should indicate you that your keyboard isn\’t broken, but instead, your computer is acting up and slowing down.
There are three things you can do:

Be patient, wait for the operating system to fix itself.
Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete and select the Task List button to go to the Windows Task Manager. Under the Application tab select any application that says Not Responding (if there is any) and press End Task. A confirmation window will appear asking you to end it. Press End Task again and wait for it to close. Do the same for every application not responding. You can also try this for any type of keyboard.
Restart the computer.

Note: PS/2 connections use six pins that connect to the back of the computer. Be cautious when you connect your keyboard in your computer as they can bend and break. If one of the pins bent or broke and you don\’t realize that it happened, your computer may not log into Windows. This can cause serious headaches if you don\’t know what the problem is, so always be careful when connecting your PS/2 keyboard. There is one last step that you can follow to determine the state of your keyboard. If your keyboard stopped working but you have a known good second keyboard with the same type of connection (and remember PS/2s are not plug and play), swap the good keyboard with the bad one and see if it works. You can also try connecting the bad keyboard onto another computer and really determine if the keyboard is broken.

Q. Change your Internet Explorer home page

Open Internet Explorer by clicking the Start button , and then clicking Internet Explorer.
Navigate to the webpage you would like to set as the home page.Click the arrow to the right of the Home button , and then click Add or Change Home Page.
In the Add or Change Home Page dialog box, do one of the following:
To make the current webpage your only home page, click Use this webpage as your only home page.
To start a home page tab set or to add the current webpage to your set of home page tabs, click Add this webpage to your home page tabs.
To replace your existing home page or home page tab set with the webpages you currently have open, click Use the current tab set as your home page. This option will only be available if you have more than one tab open in Internet Explorer.
Click Yes to save your changes.

Q. Slow Computer

Computers are like new homes or apartments; if you don\’t make good use of your space and resources they get filled with clutter as time goes by. In order to keep things running smooth, it is important to know how to make good use your computer\’s resources. Your computer has a limited amount of storage space, processing speed, and ram memory. The more programs, documents, pictures, videos, music, and toolbars you have, the slower your computer will become. It is also important to note that if your computer is extremely slow it could be due to a virus. To see some of the most common symptoms of viruses read our article \”How To Know If Your Computer Has A Virus.\”

Why Does It Happen? Programs or software applications have the greatest effect on your computer resources and performance, especially those applications that start themselves automatically, e.g.: instant messenger applications, and antiviruses. These might be two that you can\’t live without, but most users have 6 to 12 applications running all the time, that they don\’t use, and that shouldn\’t be running automatically. These applications are usually found at the lower right corner of your computer screen to the left of your system clock. The little icons next to the time clock represent programs running in the background. Most of these programs are installed in the startup folder, and start themselves automatically. That\’s why you now have to wait longer for windows to start or boot up. It\’s because Windows is trying to load all these little intrusive applications next to your clock. What about regular files like word documents, pictures, videos, and music? These files don\’t cause too much of a problem because they don\’t run constantly in the background. They only use system resources when you open them. The only problem that they represent is storage space and fragmentation. What happens is that the more of them you put on your hard drive, the more messy your hard drive becomes. What do I mean? Your computer\’s hard drive is always spinning. And it never stops unless you turn off the computer. So when the computer is on, it\’s always spinning, and when you save a new file on your computer it is written on the surface of the hard drive in no particular order. That means that there are gaps between the information. It would be like shopping at a grocery store that has 20 empty aisles between the laundry detergent and the fabric softener. It would take shoppers too much time to shop at such a place. And that\’s why it takes longer for your computer\’s hard drive to find your files and folders, especially after a few months of saving new files. All that messiness is called fragmentation.


In order to put the information in sequence and efficiently arrange it, it is necessary to run a system defragmenter. If you have Windows, you have one under the system tools folder called \”Disk Defragmenter\”. You should defragment your computer hard drive at least once a month. It is also very important to always have at least 5GB of free hard disk space for the operating system to run correctly. And don\’t forget to stop trivial applications from starting up automatically.

Q. How to know if your computer has a Virus

Computer virus symptoms are not always easy to identify. This is especially so if you take into consideration that the best or worst viruses (depending how you see it), will infect your computer unnoticeable. Here are some of the most common virus symptoms:

Your computer is running slower than normal
Your computer frequently freezes or stops responding
Your computer restarts and crashes constantly
Your computer doesn\’t run normally and restarts on its own
Your applications don\’t work correctly (especially your web browser)
You can\’t access your hard drive or other disk drives
You see unusual error messages
Your antivirus software was turned off and not by you
You see pop-ups and dialog boxes everywhere
Your modem and hard drive are working extra
The computer starts performing actions on its own
You can\’t print correctly

If you believe that your computer is infected, or if you see one or more of the above symptoms on your computer, disconnect your computer from the internet or your local network immediately. Just unplug the network cable or turn off the wireless adapter. By doing this you will stop your computer from spreading the virus to your friends, family, or co-workers. Some viruses also send information back to its creator about the infected system, making it really easy to take full control over your computer and personal information. That is one more reason to disconnect your machine from the internet.
If you have antivirus software protection, make sure that its definitions are updated and run a full system scan on your computer. If you don\’t have one, don\’t panic. Just call Embit Computers and we will download and install the antivirus of your choice; we will kill that virus. You can also just give us a call to 905-799-6767 or schedule our on-site virus removal service and we will take care of the situation. Why call Embit Computers and not the other guys? Because we provide the best prices and services in town.

Q. Suddenly Internet stops working

One day you are connected but the next day you can\’t connect. Nothing has changed and you can\’t figure out what to do. A computer network is like a brick wall. You can\’t have a stable brick wall if some of the lower bricks are missing. With your Internet connection, you can\’t browse if the brick between you and the Internet (the modem/router) is not responding.

Why Does It Happen?
Network problems are very diverse and some are very complicated. I will only mention some of the main reasons why these problems occur. The most common ones are: problems with a device, cables, network components, software problems, or duplicate ip addresses.

The first thing that every network expert does is to check the connections. Make sure that the modem or router is connected to the power outlet and to your computer. If they are, reset the device by unplugging it from its power source and leave it unplugged for about 3 minutes. Also turn off your computer. Now plug the modem/router back in and wait for all the lights to blink and come on. After that, turn your computer on again and try to connect. This process will fix almost 90% of all home connection problems. If you still can\’t connect, make sure that your network adapter has the right drivers. You also need to check if an application is blocking the connectivity of the computer. Always try to disable the firewall just to make sure that it\’s not preventing you from connecting to the internet or your network.
If the problem wasn\’t fixed, the next step would be to make sure that all the information on the computer matches the information on the modem/router settings. Check your password, the name of the network, channels, encryption type, etc., just in case someone changed them by mistake. If you feel confident that everything is correct, then delete and recreate the network configuration. Many times I have been in situations where everything looks fine and should work, but doesn\’t. In those cases, recreating the network configuration has always solved the problems for me.

Q. Dust or Smoke

Your computer has several fans on it to pull air from outside to cool down the system. If the air outside is polluted with dust or, even worse, smoke, rather than getting cooler, the computer becomes hotter. Cigarette smoke is worse because it has moisture in its particles. This makes the particles sticky and almost impossible to remove from your computer\’s electronic components. It is also very important to know that smoking in front of your computer will void your computer\’s warranty. So either it is a good time to quit, or take your cigarette outside.

Why Does It Happen?
Computers generate static electrical charges that attract dust and cigarette smoke when present in the environment. These dust or smoke particles form an insulating blanket that covers the electronic components inside your computer, causing them to overheat, age faster, and fail.

The best dust / cigarette smoke protection is to keep your computer surroindings clean from both contaminants. Block all access points for dust and cigarette smoke. Close all uncovered expansion-slot openings. Missing expansion-slot covers allow dust to accumulate in the system. Dust buildup inside your systems components can be cleaned by using a soft brush. A static-free vacuum and a can of compressed air are also recommended to keep your system dust free. Finally, if you have to smoke, be sure to do it far from your computers. And don\’t forget that smoke dust inside your computer will void its warranty.

Q. Hard Drive Failure

If you start hearing loud sounds that you were not hearing before, be scared because those sounds could be coming from your hard drive. The hard drive is where everything is stored. And hearing a clicking sound as you access your data is one of the first indications that your hard drive is about to die on you.

Why Does It Happen?
A hard drive could stop working for many different reasons but generally speaking they crash because of a mechanical failure, electrical surge, a violent shake, or even because of a virus.

A hard drive failure could happen to anyone at any time and the only reliable solution is to always have a backup of all your information. Make sure that you have all your important information backed up, or you could lose irreplaceable data, or thousands of hours of your hard work. If all you have are minor problems, and not the clicking sounds of death, you could use the CHKDSK utility within Windows to fix minor problems like bad sectors. If Windows tells you constantly that it needs to check the consistency of your hard drive, pay close attention because it could be trying to tell you that your hard drive is about to fail. Also take into consideration that you may be able to find free diagnostic tools that perform a more thorough test at your hard drive manufacture\’s website.

Q. Dead Power Supply

When you press the power button and your computer gives no sign of life, and all the lights are absent, then the most likely cause is a power supply failure. That is, of course, taking into consideration that you already checked that the power cable is properly plugged in.

Why Does It Happen?
The reasons could be several, but here are the most common: the power supply is being overloaded, basic voltages needed by the power supply are missing, the system board has a defective capacitor, or overheating caused by cigarette smoke or too much dust.

Start by checking the external connections of your computer\’s power supply. To do this, just take a close look at where the power plug is connected to your computer. Confirm that it is connected to a working outlet. Check the position of the on/off switch and the 110/220 switch. The normal setting for computers used in the canada is 110. You should also use a voltmeter to check for proper voltages. If any system voltages are missing from the power supply, replace it.