Troubleshoot a Computer that Hangs or Won’t Boot
The Western Weekender has asked me to do a selection of articles on topics relevant to their readers.
You’re on your computer, all you see is a black screen. The cause a new device installed, driver updates, Virus activity, Windows bug, an application hanging or many other things. How do you troubleshoot a computer :
- Check all the cables are plugged in, especially the monitor cables.
- Press Ctrl-Alt-Delete and select Task Manager -> More Details. This shows you information like CPU, application and memory usage. Most importantly it will alert you to any unresponsive applications. Once identified you could then select End Task. This should get your computer working again.
- If there are no non-responsive applications then press Ctrl-Alt-Delete then at the bottom right of the screen is a software Power OFF button. Select this and allow the computer to restart.
- If the above steps do not work then -perform a hard reboot of your computer. The easiest way to do this is to hold the on/off switch down for ten seconds. As the computer restarts, you can release the button.
- If this fails, then you will need to physically unplug the computer. Leave it unplugged for 30 seconds and replug it in and power it on. For notebooks, you may need to leave your laptop on until the battery discharges.
- If your computer restarts and becomes non-responsive Repeat the necessary step above and as your computer reboots hit the F8 key. This displays a menu, The Start in Safe Mode option. If this works, it means that either a program, product or driver you have installed is causing a problem. If you know what this is to uninstall it. While in safe mode take the opportunity to run you antivirus across your computer to rule out Virus activity
- Your next troubleshooting step is to use the Last Known Good Configuration. This is a Windows backup of when the computer last booted correctly. Like above this can be accessed by pressing F8 on bootup.
- The next step is testing hardware. At home, you can open your computer to remove all the cards and reseat them. Please ensure your computer is disconnected from power. If you are uncomfortable with this step, then leave it to the experts
- If now of the above work drop your computer off to a reputable repair centre.
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