Before we investigate what to do if a malfunction occurs, check how you back up files: is it securely and punctiliously? Good record keeping is an essential part of doing business. Do you do it daily or weekly or at month’s end? Keep a flash drive, external hard drive or server site at hand specifically for this routine. Then you won’t find yourself feeling in ruin like some people do if the computer stops working right because of browser malfunction, download issues, or any software or mechanical complaint it has about your computer behavior.
Step one of troubleshooting a crash is stop working and do not panic. Computers sometimes need rest, to clear their memory of accumulated error and reset themselves. Instead of going hysterical, think soberly, reset your own brain, think forward to an uncluttered table and presentable notepaper. Let the protocol do the work for you.
Make patience the problem solving and problem prevention tool that it is. Lack of patience sometimes leads to computer crashes. Do things step by step. Surges of emotion have no place in questions of mathematical judgment though they enter instead our minds. In the digital world errors often have a mathematical explanation behind them. Try remembering that when charges on an account are bigger than you expected.
Troubleshooting requires that you make a note of everything you do to define the problem and its boundaries and to solve it. Include date, time, steps taken and results. If you have to borrow library books, photocopy or write out whatever notes you need; include the book’s title & author and publication year for when you have to refer to it again. Troubleshooting is the method of reviving your computer by yourself or with a buddy, helpdesk or technician in which case you want your Notes to look excellent. Jot down speculations as well as the facts; note whatever background circumstances in the vicinity of your machine might bear on the problem.
I refuse to hand over my laptop to a technician every time it I see it react to something and something worse follows. I prefer refurbished laptops for just that challenge: self-repair though not even the computer literate should take steps into the unknown (or not very far into it). You ought to be aware of the risk in the outcome of any last resort or trial and error step before you take it. Explore and probe if you must, but cautiously. Making your time-day-event-action-outcome records can help you think your way out of a trial and error quandary that didn’t work out.
When my vintage IBM A22m Thinkpad shut down one June long past, I was clueless. My A22m liked to shut down sometimes when I, memory-hungry, pushed it to the limit and beyond for prolonged periods of time. After all, why spend on a sports car when I have a Thinkpad? Since it happened to me when summer approached, I set aside time to enjoy honing technical skills. It seemed a wiser path than taking several hundred dollars perhaps, to a technician who would but critcize flaws in my hardy, refurbished laptop that was now worth less than the price of repair.
I discovered that computers are like people. Once you get to know your machine’s basic personality and quirks, with a little thought you can figure out more or less what went wrong and how to make it better. Computers are extremely simple in working by means of binary mathematics, binary meaning either 1 or 0. They work by means of electric current flowing past switches. A switch is either on or off, either “1” or “0”. When we click radio buttons, check boxes and command buttons, we are turnings 1s to 0s and 0s to 1s.
In the end I did not cure my laptop. An amateur tech, I’m humble yet believe I should be able to fix my own machine. I concluded that A22m kept shutting down on me not because of lack of computer etiquette on my part, but because of something in its past life. Consulting with a good tech proved me right. It’s current operating system was not the original one, it was different in type and far too small.
Whenever your machine needs work (at least for a monthly maintenance check and back up cycle) try to enjoy the whole process. The “burden” of taking & storing notes doesn’t go away, it just gets easier & quicker. Don’t work when tired, a refreshed mind is clearer. See a good movie or TV show or two. Take a walk, get some air, stretch, get a good night’s sleep.