How To Fix My Computer For Free?

Difference Between Software and Hardware

Software & Hardware

If you are reliant on your computer for either work or leisure, you probably have encountered problems like a Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD), an overall system crash or even your computer not booting at all. All computer problems are either hardware or software related. Before handing your computer over to a technician costing you both time and money, it is essential to be able to identify some of those problems yourself.

Should you have ever asked yourself the question: How To Fix My Computer For Free?, this post will show you exactly how you can do that. Most problems can be solved with a little self-effort, especially if they are software related but even some more severe hardware problems can be solved without having to ask for external help. Before continuing, we have to make a distinction between software and hardware.

  • By software, we define all programs that are installed on your computer, including the operating system. Without software, which is essentially a collection of data, your computer could not operate as it would not have any tasks to accomplish. Any time you download a program, it tells your computer what tasks to do, how, and how often. Malicious software can harm your computer, so always be careful what applications you download. Software programs can be modified, deleted and installed easily.

 

  • By hardware, we define all components or parts the computer consists of. The motherboard, graphics card, processor, etc. are all considered computer hardware. All parts interact with each other to give you the result of a functioning computer. The motherboard is responsible for making sure that all components are communicating with each other and functioning correctly. Hardware also closely interacts with the software. The hardware is much more difficult to remove or install and demands physical interference.

Before providing you with discrete software and hardware solutions that you might encounter, let us first take a look at five common software and hardware problems. By doing that, you can identify if an error is software or hardware related and by applying a few simple steps as laid out below, you can be sure that you have done whatever you could before asking for external help.

 

 5 Most Common Software Problems

Software

Software problems are the easiest to identify and fix as they do not require spending money or dealing with computer hardware. You can find 99% of the solution inside your operating system. When a problem occurs, you should always assume that it is software related before starting to disassemble your computer or doing any work that includes touching computer parts.

 

1. Game or System Crashes

Game crashes are quite common for anyone who plays games regularly. Unless you have a faulty graphics card, most game crashes can be attributed to driver issues. Another reason might be that you have overclocked your graphics card and/or processor to a point that it is unstable. Do not worry, though, as these problems can be reverted with a few simple steps.

 

2. Computer Freezing

If your computer starts freezing suddenly, chances are that you have installed a program that causes your system to freeze. Most of the time a computer freeze that happens after an extended period of using your existing Windows installation means that one or more installed programs are to blame. If you have recently reinstalled your Windows from scratch and the problem still persists, then there is a high chance that the freezing happens due to defective hardware.

 

3. Slow Computer

Slow Computer

A slow computer when using a Solid State Drive is an indicator of too many programs running in the background or malicious software. It is important to refrain from untrustworthy websites and downloading software that is suspicious because your computer could get infected without you even noticing. Beyond malware and viruses, the most dangerous infection is Ransomware.

Ransomware is used by hackers and attaches to software and is executed once installed. Hackers gain access to your personal information, block you from accessing your computer and demand money in exchange for unlocking your personal data. They also threaten you to publish your data on the wide web if you do not conform to their requests. Down below, I will explain how you can protect yourself from all online threats including ransomware.

 

4. Internet Connectivity Issues

Internet Connectivity Issues

If your internet connection had been working fine and suddenly you cannot connect anymore, you can bet that software is to blame. Before reverting your router to factory settings, there are a few steps you can take to fix your internet connection without touching a single cable.

 

5. Audio Problems

In case you have sound problems, but your speakers were working fine a few hours ago, your problem is most of the time software related. Sometimes the solution is right under your nose, and audio problems might also be solved by applying more general fixes. Anyway, if your speakers or headphones do not work properly, before playing around with cables, search for the solution inside Windows.

 

5 Most Common Hardware Problems

hardware

Hardware related problems are much trickier than software problems, not only because they require physical activity but also because they could require buying new PC hardware and installing them. It is not an issue to people who have experience or are experts in the field, but for those of you that have basic knowledge about computers, the whole procedure of buying and replacing hardware can be time-consuming and stressful.

In this scenario, the help of a technician might come in handy, if a component needs to be replaced or some delicate work is required inside your computer.

 

1. Your computer does not boot at all

If your computer does not boot at all, you can be almost sure that the problem has nothing to do with software. An inability to boot into Windows is down to software but even if your Windows is corrupt, the computer should always boot into the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS)

The inability to boot into the BIOS, after updating or reinstalling it shows that you have a severe hardware problem. The BIOS battery is at the center of your motherboard regulating how all your PC components interact with each other. Accessing the BIOS has nothing to do with Windows itself and should work no matter how corrupt your Windows installation is.

 

2. Frequent Blue Screen Of Deaths (BSOD) with different Stop Codes every time

BSOD

There is no need to panic when you receive a specific BSOD frequently. You can identify when you get a BSOD, every time your computer stops working and displays a blue window with an error code prompting you to restart your PC. Some BSOD are hardware related, and some happen because of software. The Stop Code is a sequence of numbers that you should write down to search online. Each Stop Code is followed by a brief description of the problem that caused your computer to stop functioning. You can find a list of the most common BSOD Stop Codes, HERE.

When a BSOD happens, it is ideal that only one or two Stop Codes repeat frequently. If the Stop Code and problem description are different every time, the problem comes down to hardware.

 

3. Your computer beeps

Your computer beeping is a sign that you have a hardware problem. Nowadays, motherboard manufacturers have made identifying hardware problems much easier by relating each hardware failure with a number of consecutive “beeps”. The beeps may not only differ in sound but in length as well differentiating between short and long “beeps”.

If your computer beeps, check out this link as a general rule of thumb of what each beep means. It is important, though, to check out your motherboard’s manual specifically as manufacturers might have changed up things a bit. Generally speaking, beep sounds are mostly universal to all motherboards.

 

4. Your computer emits strange sounds

Strange Sounds

If you hear a strange sound coming from the computer that you have never heard before, something is wrong inside your PC. It might be a defective fan or even a cable blocking your CPU cooler. As you can see, a hardware problem does not always mean that you have to put in hard work to fix it. Sometimes removing your side panel and seeing if every part is where it is supposed to be, is an easy but effective way to start investigating what is wrong.

 

5. Your computer stops working all of a sudden

not working

A computer that works normally and suddenly stops working is an indication that something is seriously wrong. If it had been working fine a few minutes ago and now it refuses to start, it is vital to understand that the problem has to do with not properly functioning hardware.

 

How To Fix PC Software and Hardware Issues For FreeHow To Fix My Computer For Free

Now that we have laid out the most common software and hardware issues, it is time to provide solutions. Take these solutions with a grain of salt, however, since they might not solve every problem. Many problems are specific and require a technician to be addressed. Moreover, if you are not sure how to perform particular tasks, I recommend educating yourself first on how to do them before even attempting to use them in real-life scenarios.

For that purpose, you can search Google or Youtube. Unfortunately, I can not include guidelines to all solutions mentioned. However, I will link to internal or external sources wherever possible.  With no further ado, let’s start with the most common software problems:

Software problems

 

1. Game or System Crashes

Solution:

  • Update your BIOS, Windows and GPU Driver

Windows Update

Updating your BIOS is the essential part of this process, and you should always keep your BIOS up-to-date. If you are not sure on how to update your BIOS, click here. After updating your BIOS, your Windows is next. Ensuring that your Windows is up-to-date not only is a great way to get rid of software issues but also protects your system from threats and viruses.

It is also recommended upgrading to Windows 10 if you are on an older version of Windows. Windows 10 is the latest operating system by Microsoft and the only one that is officially supported. If you are not confident around Windows 10 and want to know how to get started, check out this link.

An outdated driver is the main reason why games crash. Updating your GPU driver will not only alleviate the problem but might also give you an FPS gain in individual titles. While you can just download the latest driver from either the NVIDIA or AMD website, and install it, there is a better way to ensure the best driver performance. Downloading a program called Display Driver Uninstaller (DDU) is the best way to ensure that your old driver gets wiped out completely before installing the latest. Find out how to use DDU every time a new driver update is available, HERE.

 

2. Computer Freezing

Solution:

  • Start your Computer in Safe Mode

Your computer freezing is an indication that a program is interfering with your Windows installation. Most probably, it is the latest that you installed as before that, your PC was working properly. The best way to deal with this is to start your computer in Safe Mode, which will boot your system with only the most essential drivers. If you PC boots normally, it is certain that one or more programs are to blame. Restart your system and see if the problem persists. If it does, it is time for a clean boot.

  • Clean Boot your Computer

To perform a clean boot, hit the Windows icon + R at the same time and type in “msconfig” and hit Enter. Once the System Configuration tab shows up, click on “Services” and click on “Hide all Microsoft services”. Afterward, click on “Disable All” and hit “Apply” and “OK”. Then, restart your system. If your system boots normally, start enabling one program at a time until the freezing happens again. Now you know which program has caused he freezing in the first place.

 

3. Slow Computer

Solution:

  • Disable Start-up Programs for Faster Boot Times

Disabling start-up programs is a great and easy way to speed up your computer when booting. To do that, hit CTRL+SHIFT+ESC simultaneously, which will pop up the Task Manager. Under “Startup,” disable all unnecessary programs that boot together with your PC.

  • Delete Unnecessary Programs

This is pretty obvious and common sense. Delete any program that you do not need that takes up space on your hard drive

  • Defragment and Optimize your Windows Drive

An often overlooked step is defragmenting and optimizing your hard drive containing your Windows files. There is no need to worry about any files being deleted as this will only optimize the hard drives for better performance. Do this regularly for all your drives for the best results.

  • Delete Malicious Software and Files

Having an Antivirus and Anti-Malware program running at the same time ensures that your system stays clean and disinfected. For great Antivirus and Anti-Malware program, check out my Top 10 Computer Software Guide.

  • Reinstall Windows 10

If nothing helps, reinstalling Windows 10 from scratch is the best option. If you want to know how to reinstall Windows 10 from scratch step-by-step, check out my Windows 10 Installation Guide.

 

4. Internet Connectivity Issues

Solution:

  • Troubleshoot your Internet Connection

Should your internet stop working all of a sudden, the first thing you want to do is troubleshoot it by right-clicking on the WiFi icon in the down right corner. Let it work its magic. If the problem is not fixed, follow the next step.

  • Set up your DNS manually

To do that, open the Network & Internet Settings< Network and Sharing Center<Change Adapter Settings<Right-Click on your Internet Connection (either WiFi or Ethernet)<Properties<Internet Protocol 4< Use the following DNS server address and put in these numbers in the upper and down box accordingly.

“8.8.8.8.” and “8.8.4.4.”

  • Type in Commands in Windows Power Shell

Open up Windows Power Shell as an Administrator and enter these commands one by one and then restart your system:

ipconfig /flushdns
ipconfig /registerdns
ipconfig /release
ipconfig /renew
netsh winsock reset
netsh int ip reset

  • Hard Boot your Router

If nothing works, performing a router hard boot is a great way to reconfigure your internet settings and start from scratch. If that does not work either then calling your ISP is the best option.

 

5. Audio problems

Solution:

  • Check your motherboard’s website for any audio driver updates

Sound issues are pretty straightforward and can be resolved most of the time by updating drivers. To do that, head over to your motherboard’s website and check if any new driver updates are available.

  • Choose the correct device output

Many times audio issues can be solved by just choosing the proper audio output device. Right click on the audio icon, at the bottom right and click on “Open Sound Settings.” If you have your headphones connected as well, it might have chosen that as the primary output device.

 

Hardware Problems

Now that we went through the most common software issues you may encounter in your computer; the hardware issues are next. Hardware problems are much more difficult to detect, and the guidelines shown here are in no way representative of all of the issues you may encounter. If your problem is hardware related, ask a more experienced person or technician for help.

 

1. Your computer does not boot at all

Solution:

  • Clear CMOS

In case your system does not boot into the BIOS, the first thing you should do is finding the CMOS reset button at the back of your PC. Hold the button for 10 seconds and restart your computer. If you do not have a CMOS button, remove the CMOS battery situated on your motherboard for one minute and put it back in. If your PC still does not boot into the BIOS, there is a high chance that your motherboard needs replacement.

  • Remove RAM sticks and put them back in one by one

While the motherboard is the most likely part to fail, either your RAM modules or slots might be defective. Remove your RAM modules and put them in one by one and restart your computer. If the computer starts with one RAM stick but not with the other, you have found your defective RAM stick.

Your last chance, if this method does not work, is to put the RAM module in each RAM slot to see whether one of the slots is to blame. Defective RAM slots are an indication of a faulty motherboard. To see whether your modules are fine, run a utility that checks if your RAM modules are working properly, MemTest64. Should one or more RAM modules show an error, you should return your set immediately and ask for a new one. Most quality RAM modules from Corsair or GSkill have a lifetime warranty on their RAM, anyway.

 

2. Frequent Blue Screen Of Deaths (BSOD) with different Stop Codes every time

Solution:

  • Check your RAM modules

Frequent Blue Screen Of Deaths (BSOD) are difficult to resolve because any computer component could cause this issue. RAM is the most likely component here because all data is temporarily stored on RAM. If RAM goes bad, it can cause a variety of issues, from small BSOD to total system crashes.

In general, motherboards and RAM sticks are much easier to break than processors or power supplies. It is seldom for a processor to be defective and considering the fact that you have chosen a quality, 80+ certificate PSU (more to that HERE), they are not easy to break either. Graphics cards, on the other hand, are much more likely to break than processors but you should be able to boot into Windows with no problem by using Intel’s integrated graphics.

Since you can boot into the BIOS, your motherboard should be fine.

  • Defective Power Supply

A faulty power supply can also be the cause for frequent BSODs. A defective PSU will not provide your system with enough power. If your computer often crashes when performing demanding tasks like gaming or editing, the chances are that your power supply is not delivering enough power to your system. A defective power supply should be taken care of instantly because it can cause problems to other components as well due to inadequate power delivery.

Because of that, it is essential to not go for a cheap PSU for your computer. Another great way to prevent your PSU from going bad is to use an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) which will save you from big trouble when the electricity goes down.

 

3. Your computer beeps

Solution:

  • Identify which part is causing the issue

Your computer beeping is one of the best scenarios because your motherboard indicates the source of the problem. Refer to your motherboard’s manual and listen carefully to the beeps in terms of length (long or short) and frequency (1-6 consecutive beeps).

 

4. Your computer emits strange sounds

Solution:

  • Open your case and check if all parts are in their supposed place

If your computer works but emits strange noises, it is not uncommon that some cable might have gotten in the way of a fan or even your CPU cooler. Check the case and look out for any wires that are interfering with other PC components.

  • Clean your PC once again

Dust is the number one enemy of PC components. Clean your PC regularly to ensure that everything is working as it should. A system fan could have given up due to dust accumulation. One of your GPU fans could have also gone bad.

  • Check if all fans are working properly

The parts that are most likely to produce strange sounds are the spinning ones. Therefore, take a look at all your fans and see if any are leaving their last breath and need replacement.

 

5. Your computer stops working all of a sudden

Why is my computer not working?

Solution:

  • Shut Down your computer and Press the Power Button for 10 Seconds

The first thing you owe to do when your PC stops working all of a sudden is to shut it down and remove any traces of electricity by pressing the power button for 10 seconds.

  • Restart your PC to see if it happens again

If you restart your PC and it happens again, and your PC is clean, one or more PC parts are probably defective.

  • Remove all PC components except for the essential ones

Now that you know that your computer hardware is the problem, it would be wise to remove any fans, hard drives and any equipment that is not essential to the booting process of your PC. Only keep these components and boot your system:

  1. Processor
  2. Motherboard
  3. Graphics Card
  4. Power Supply
  5. RAM
  6. CPU Cooler

If your PC boots into the BIOS, you are lucky because all the major components are working as intended, which means that either one of your hard drives or fans is the issue.

If your PC does not boot into the BIOS, you should give your computer to a technician for further examination.

  • Disconnect your PSU cable immediately

If your computer stops working, there is something wrong, and you should shut down your PC immediately for safety reasons, by removing the PSU power cable as well.

  • Clean your PC

You want to make sure that your PC has not accumulated too much dust over the years. When was the last time that you cleaned your PC? Maybe it is time to do that now. Make sure to ground yourself before working on your computer. The only tools you need for cleaning are a screwdriver, isopropyl alcohol and a can of compressed air. Dust could prevent your PC’s proper air distribution. Also, make a PC cleaning schedule. Every three months is ideal. You should clean your PC at least twice a year.

 

Conclusion

Fixing your computer for free is doable if you have the time and patience to deal with the problems yourself. Of course, it requires some basic computer knowledge and even some advanced techniques in some cases. By putting in your time and effort, you save money and might fix the problem much quicker than sending your computer to a technician.

All computer problems are either software or hardware related, and you should always start with the assumption that your issues can be solved within Windows. Only after ensuring that software is not the root of your problem should you start investigating all the different components inside your system.

Moreover, if you are not sure what you are doing, for safety reasons, you can always ask the help of a more experienced user or investigate the issue on Google or YouTube before going to work yourself.


Did you ever have to deal with a software or hardware problem yourself? Were you able to solve it? I would like to read your experiences with your computer in the comment section below. Thanks for stopping by.

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