Software & Apps Windows 335 335 people found this article helpful 5 Simple Fixes for Most Computer Problems Try these ideas before you pay for computer service (and you may not have to!) by Tim Fisher General Manager, VP, Lifewire.com Tim Fisher has 30+ years' professional technology support experience. He writes troubleshooting content and is the General Manager of Lifewire. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Tim Fisher Updated on April 17, 2020 Windows The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide Tweet Share Email You may have already decided that the computer problem you're dealing with is too hard to fix yourself, or at least not something you're interested spending your time doing. I'd argue that you should almost always try to fix your own computer problem, but I understand if you're just completely against it. No hard feelings. However, before you call tech support, or run off to the computer repair shop, we get one more shot to convince you to at least try something before you pay someone else for help. Having worked in the computer service industry for years, I'm very familiar with the simple things that most people overlook, things that could completely eliminate the need to have a computer worked on at all. You could quite literally save hundreds of dollars, and an equally valuable amount of frustration, by following some of the really easy things below. 01 of 05 Restart Your Computer Suwan Waenlor/Shutterstock It's a long running joke that the only thing tech support folks know how to do is tell people to restart their computers. I've had the displeasure of working with a few "professionals" that might have inspired that joke, but please don't overlook this extraordinarily simple step. More times than you would believe, I would visit a customer's home or business, listen to a long story about an issue, and then simply restart the computer to fix the problem. Contrary to accounts otherwise, I do not have a magic touch. Computers sometimes encounter very temporary issues that a restart, which clears its memory and reruns processes, solves (here's why). How to Restart Your Computer The Right Way Make sure you restart your computer at least one time before scheduling computer repair with anyone. The problem, assuming its of a certain nature, might simply go away. If the computer problem you're having means that restarting properly isn't possible, powering off and then back on accomplishes the same thing. 02 of 05 Clear Your Browser's Cache Filograph / Getty Images Yet another joke, albeit a more recent one, is that clearing your browser's cache, that collection of recently visited pages that's saved to your computer's hard drive, is the fix for all possible internet problems. That's certainly an exaggeration—clearing cache won't fix every broken website or internet related problem—but it is often helpful. Clearing the cache is very easy to do. Every browser has a straightforward method for doing so, even if it's hidden a few layers deep in a menu. If you have any sort of internet related issue, especially if it's impacting only certain pages, be sure to clear the cache before taking your computer in for service. How to Clear The Cache in Every Major Browser While most browsers refer to cache as cache, Internet Explorer refers to this collection of saved pages as Temporary Internet Files. 03 of 05 Scan for Viruses & Other Malware © Steven Puetzer / The Image Bank / Getty Images No doubt scanning for a virus infection was the first thing that came to mind if a virus or other malicious program (collectively called malware) made itself obvious. Unfortunately, most problems caused by malware don't always clearly point to an infection. It's great if your antivirus program warns you of a problem, but it won't always. Often times, virus-caused problems appear as general computer sluggishness, random error messages, frozen windows, and things like that. Before you take your computer in for any reason, be sure to run a full malware scan using whatever antivirus software you're running. How to Properly Scan your Computer for Viruses This tutorial is really helpful if you're not sure what you're doing, don't have antivirus software (we have links for several free options), can't access Windows, or can't run a scan for some reason. 04 of 05 Reinstall the Program That's Causing Trouble © your personal camera obscura / Moment / Getty Images A lot of computer problems are software-specific, meaning that they only happen when starting, using, or stopping a particular program that's installed. These sorts of problems can make it seem like your whole computer is falling apart, especially if you use the offending program a lot, but the solution is often very simple: reinstall the program. How to Properly Reinstall a Software Program in Windows Reinstalling a program means to uninstall it, and then install it again from scratch. Every program has an automated process for removing itself from, as well as installing itself onto, your computer. If you think the problem you're experiencing is software-specific, gather up the original installation disc or download the program again, and then reinstall it. Check out the tutorial if you've never reinstalled a software program or you run into trouble. 05 of 05 Delete Your Browser's Cookies filo / Getty Images No, there aren't real cookies in your computer (wouldn't that be nice?) but there are tiny files called cookies which are sometimes the cause of problems browsing the web. Like the cached files mentioned above, the browser stores these files to make surfing the web easier. How to Delete Cookies in Every Major Browser If you're having problems logging into one or more websites, or you see a lot of error messages when browsing that other people don't seem to see, be sure to clear your browser's cookies before you pay for computer repair.