We’re running a piece in this month’s In Business magazine from the Oxford Times. The piece, called ’10 magic tips to keep your computer running smoothly’. It offers five easy things to try when you have a computer issue before you call your IT Support company as well as five things to do regularly to keep your computer happy.

Five Easy Fixes For Common Computer Issues

When you’re faced with a frozen computer screen, it can be tempting to quickly pick up your phone and immediately call your IT support company. But, before you do that, and use up some of your monthly hourly contract, it might be a good idea to try the following tips. Nine times out of ten, the computer issue can be resolved quickly and easily, without any professional help.

1. Have You Tried Turning It Off and On Again?

We know it’s a joke and a famous quip from the IT Crowd TV show, however, turning your computer on and off again is a common way to fix a computer issue! More frequently than you might think, a computer might simply crash when the RAM is overloaded with too many files and applications open. A simple switch off and on of the hardware acts as a reboot. Unfortunately, any work that is on local software will be lost, however, nowadays with lots of work saved automatically with cloud computing you’re not going to immediately lose all your work if you suddenly have to turn your computer off. So, give the classic a go and see if all your computer issues are solved! Your computer does things as it turns on to ensure that everything is ready to work.

2. Check The Wires Are All Plugged In

If turning your computer off and on again doesn’t work then another common computer issue to take a look at is whether all the correct wires are plugged in. Check that everything is plugged in properly and nothing has become loose, including your mouse, screen and keyboard. Also, check that all the wall sockets are switched on. So many times, people have rung FirstLine IT up for help not knowing that their colleague had accidentally turned their computer off at the wall.

3. Check The Network Isn’t Down

It’s normally a good idea to also ask your colleagues if they are having the same computer problem. Often, networks might be running slowly or WiFi has dropped and your applications that run off of WiFi may stop working. Asking colleagues if they’re having issues can help distinguish between an individual problem and a system problem, if it’s a system problem then this will also be important to tell your IT support company.

4. Ask yourself: what’s changed? Did you download a dodgy file?

Are you using a programme you’ve never used before? It could be a cybersecurity issue. More often than not, slow hardware speeds are the result of malware or ransomware accidentally downloaded when clicking on a scam malvert (malware overlay that looks like advertising) and/or phishing emails. Cybersecurity companies are often the best course of action in these moments.

5. Reboot Your Applications

The final thing to try before calling your IT support company would be to try closing the programme you are currently using and then open it up again. This can be especially effective with MS Outlook programmes such as excel, which often overload when row and cell data exceed a certain number and the computer speed is compromised as a result.

Five things to do regularly to keep your computer performing

Even if you aren’t having any computer issues, there are things you should be doing regularly to ensure you keep your computer in good health and avoid any common problems. Make sure you are doing the following 5 tips to maintain your computer and avoid having to call up the IT services.

1. Empty your Recycle Bin on the desktop

Deleting files without recycling the bin on your desktop can clog up hardware space and slow down performance. Make sure that you empty your bin and free up storage.

2. Clean up all your email folders and empty your Deleted Items folder

Consider setting up auto-archive for old emails – you don’t want your email application taking up far more space on your desktop than it already does. Alternatively, you can use a cloud-based system to remove the need for email applications on your desktop. Another storage saver!

3. Clean up your desktop

Are there any redundant applications or files you can get rid of? Maybe some old photos you have stored on the cloud. Removing all of these frees up much more space and usage than you might think.

4. Delete your browser history

This allows your browser to remove redundant and old cookies and improve browsing efficiency when you’re next online.

5. Get File Clean Up Software

Setting up a file clean-up software on your computer allows you to maintain and keep your computer optimised by running regular clean up tasks that restore space and speed to your hardware, optimising computer performance.

What to do If Your Computer is Still Underperforming

It might be worth contacting your IT support team at this point. They will have further techniques to help optimise your computer performance and get you back to working more efficiently.