Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common questions and complaints that people encounter on their computers. Hopefully you’ll be able to resolve computer problems yourself with this information or, at least, gain some insight and direction on getting this accomplished. Need help fast? Submit a technical support request.

My computer is running slowly.

Memory vs. Programs - The most common cause for a slow computer we’ve encountered is simply too many programs running at startup for the amount of memory you have. The fix? Either install more memory or reduce the number of programs running when you start your computer!

Spyware and Malware – The fastest growing threat to computers today are these forms of malicious software. Not just annoying, Spyware can use your computer to send out spam emails and pop-up advertisements on your computer. Some Spyware (keyloggers) will even record your usernames, passwords and web activity, then send them anonymously to someone who may steal your identity, read your email or even log into your bank’s online website! If you suspect your computer is infected, please visit the links page to download free software to help remove it.

Hard Drive Failure – If your hard drive is failing it will cause slowness and, in severe cases, freezes or “blue screens”. If you see these symptoms it is vital that you backup your data as soon as possible.

I can't get on the internet.

Start from the Beginning – Sounds simple, but most of these issues can be resolved by turning off your computer and modem (router too, if you have one), check that all cables are tight then restart your system. If you have cable internet, make sure the “online” or “internet” light is steadily lit. If you have high speed internet through your phone line, make sure the “DSL” light is a steady green on your modem.

Go Back in Time – Sometimes, network drivers can become corrupted and no longer work. This occurs occasionally when drivers are updated or when new software gets installed. You can use the System Restore utility to roll back your computer to an earlier date. If you need assistance with this, please contact us.

Software Issues - Have you uninstalled any security software recently? Sometimes, uninstalling firewalls like Norton, McAfee, etc can shut off your internet connection permanently.

Why does my computer keep freezing?

It’s not the Cold, it’s the Heat – Dust, dirt & pet hair are a computer’s worst enemy. They can cause cooling fans to stop or can obstruct the flow of air so much that your computer may overheat. When this happens, your computer may noticeably slow down or it may just stop dead in its tracks. The only fix for this is to open the computer and carefully clean out fans, heat sinks and cooling ducts. If this is a laptop, make sure you have adequate airflow to cool the unit. Do not place a laptop on a surface that can block this airflow. Blankets, pillows etc will not only block the cool air, but their fibers can be sucked into the computer, clogging cooling fans and ducts.

Return of the Bad Drive – When a hard drive starts to fail it can’t properly read or write data to a sector. If it hits one of these sectors, it will sometimes get caught in a loop of trying to access the data and will freeze. Listen to your computer carefully for unusual ticking or clicking sounds and be ready to back up your data and replace your hard drive.

More Hardware Woes – Other hardware which can cause computer freezes include memory chips, peripheral cards and motherboards. If you are able to open your computer, look for and reseat the memory chips and cards attached to your motherboard. Do this only after turning your computer off and unplugging the power!

Software Gone Bad – Software is sometimes the culprit for computer lock ups. This is especially the case after installing or updating drivers. Once again, the System Restore utility can help you out here by rolling your system back to a date before the install or update was made.

My computer won't boot up!

This is one of the most difficult issues to troubleshoot since it could be hardware or software. The first thing to do is to remove any peripherals whose drivers could be causing issues. Unplug any USB devices you have attached, including flash drives. Try starting the computer in Safe Mode by tapping the F8 key on the keyboard when starting the computer and select "Safe Mode" at the menu. If you get no indication of power at all, it could be a bad power supply or motherboard.

If you are able to boot up in Safe Mode, try to do a System Restore. Click on the Start button, go to All Programs > Accessories > System Tools, then click on System Restore. It will open up a calendar like utility which allows you to select a date before the computer stopped booting and revert to the settings from that date. Only dates that appear in bold numbers have Restore Points associated with them.

If this is a laptop, sometimes the battery can be at fault. Try removing the battery, then start the computer with only the power adapter. Still having problems? Give us a call or visit our technical support forums.

My printer is not working!

Always start with the obvious - is there paper in the tray? Are there any indicator lights on the printer telling you it may be out of ink or that there is a paper jam?

Next, unplug the printer cable at both ends and plug it back in securely, then restart both the computer and the printer.

Still not working? Try to print a test page. On Windows, go to the Start button > Control Panel > Printers and Faxes. Make sure your printer has a small check mark on it, if not, right click on your printer and select Set as Default Printer. Now double click on your printer and delete any documents in the queue, then close the queue. Now, right click on your printer and choose Properties and click the Print Test Page button. On an Apple, go to System Preferences > Print & Fax, then select your printer. Right click (or Control-click) on your printer and select Set default printer. Now click the Open Print Queue button. Delete any documents out of the print queue, then from the Apple menu click Printer and select Print Test Page.

Still not working? It's time to uninstall the printer then reinstall it to reload the drivers. If you need help with this operation, just send us a tech support request or ask for help from our forum.