Solutions For Common Laptop Problems

Solutions For Common Laptop Problems

Whether you’re a frequent traveller or you just use your laptop in different rooms around your home, your portable device gets subjected to far more punishment than a regular desktop.

With this in mind, majority of laptop manufacturers construct their systems to stand up to the odd bump or occasional spill.

Despite their relatively hardiness, laptops are often quick to show signs of wear and tear, and not just on the outside.

Any one of these issues can cost you time and money in not just lost productivity, but on tech support calls and shipping labels as well.

Thankfully, majority of your laptops problems can often be resolved with a quick fix. 

We’ve provided solutions for getting your laptop back up and running with minimal effort.

 

1. Overheating

Symptom:

Laptop freezing, crashing or turning off
 

Solution: 

Clean out air vents and check if there is a BIOS update
 
 

Overheating can cause problems with your laptop performance and can often cause other issues, such as freezing, system crashes and unexpected shutdowns.

Every computer generates a lot of heat, but laptops are especially susceptible to overheating due to their small size and lack of ventilation.

Excessive dust build up can clog air vents and heatsinks, depriving your system of fresh air to cool off the CPU and GPU.

You can often solve overheating issues simply by cleaning out these air vents with an air duster but in some cases laptop will need to be opened up to clean out heat sinks and fan.

Sometimes the thermal paste can harden over time and reduce the cooling efficiency.

Cleaning the CPU and GPU dies and applying a fresh quality thermal paste can greatly increase heat transfer to heatsinks and out of laptop. 

Regular maintenance and cleaning out vents can help reduce further dust buildup.

You may also want to check if there is a BIOS update for your system BIOS from the manufacture website.

Most manufacturers offer an installation file that updates BIOS files automatically, which often address heat management issues.

Just make sure that your notebook is connected to the power supply and battery is at least at 50% charge when updating the BIOS.

 

2. Slow Hard Drive

Symptom: 

Excessive program load times and slow file transfers
 

Solution: 

Disk defragmentation or SSD upgrade
 
 
Older laptops use a spinning hard disk drive, and over time stored files can become disorganised and slow performance because the computer requires more time to sift through data fragments and bad sectors on the drive.
 
This problem can often be resolved by defragging the hard drive using the built-in Windows tool called Disk Defragmenter.
 
You can access this program through the Programs menu in the Accessories or System Tools folder.
 
Simply click the Analyze button to see if your disk drive requires defragmenting, and then click Defragment to begin.
 
As technology has advanced and cost have come down, the SSD has slowly become the new standard and replaced the old slow spinning hard drives.
 
Replacing your ageing HDD with newer SSD can greatly improve performance and battery life and definitly one of the most important upgrades on any older laptop.
 

3. Battery Won't Hold a Charge

Symptom:

Your notebook runs only a few minutes when unplugged
 

Solution: 

Battery replacement
 
 

Over their lifespans, lithium-ion batteries can lose the ability to hold a charge.

After a few years, some batteries will last only a fraction of the rated runtime.

Replacing a battery is relatively simple on most laptops and can simply be removed from the bottom or back of the laptop.

Unfortunately some manufactures have made it difficult to replace batteries by gluing them in place.

Great care should be taken when replacing these as damaging the battery housing can cause a fire.

In some circumstances replacing a battery may not resolve charging issues and in such cases may need a motherboard repair.

 

4. Need More Memory

Symptom: 

Slow performance when using multiple applications, freezing, or excessive bootup time
 

Solution: 

Upgrade your RAM
 
 

If your laptop takes a long time to boot up, you may want to check what programs are being loaded at startup.

To do this, place your cursor over the icons in the taskbar at the bottom right of the screen.

If you rarely use any of these programs, right-click and disable them.

To take more control over what programs load when you boot up. You can also check what programs are hogging memory in task manager.

On some newer laptops the RAM is no longer upgradeable as it has been integrated and directly soldered onto the motherboard.

 

5. Hard Drive Failure

Symptom:

Clicking sounds whenever the computer accesses data from the hard drive
 

Solution:

Replace the hard drive, backup data
 
 

Obviously, the best defense against a hard drive failure is a good backup solution.

Fortunately there are many solutions for backing up your hard drive from local backup to online in the cloud.

Time machine from Apple off a seamless backup solution as well.

Even if you do go the online route, a hard drive failure will make your laptop unusable.

Fortunately some hard drive manufacturers offer software that can test your drive for problems.

If a hard drive replacement becomes necessary, be sure to back up as much data as possible and then switch out the hard drive.

You can find step-by-step directions for the replacement procedure on most manufacturers’ support sites. 

If you want to preserve the data on your old drive and make switching to a new one as painless as possible, we recommend using cloning software.

This would usually be a good time to upgrade to a SSD which are also more reliable than the ageing HDD.

 

6. Faulty Keyboard

Symptom: 

Missing or loose keys, liquid spillage
 

Solution: 

Replace keyboard or possible motherboard repair
 
 
Keyboards get the brunt of abuse on any laptop, either from typing or spilled coffee.
 
As a result, keys can often become dislodged, sticky, worn out or just stop working.
 
Thankfully, some laptop manufactures provide quick online guides for replacing keyboards on their support pages; simply type “keyboard replacement” into the search bar or check the manufacturer’s knowledge base.
 
In some cases a liquid spill may cause corrosion or damage to motherboard or other internal components and may require additional repairs.
 

7. Can't Connect to Wireless Network

Symptom: 

No Internet connection, frequent time-outs while Web browsing
 

Solution:

Make sure wireless is turned on, smarter software tools, make sure router is broadcasting network name (SSID)
 
 

Part of taking your laptop everywhere on the go is expecting to be able to connect to any wireless network, whether in an airport, coffee shop, or hotel.

But wireless networks, by their very nature, are finicky beasts.

Some laptops come with an external button or switch, separate from the software settings, to enable wireless connectivity.

Always make sure this wireless toggle is switched on.

Also make sure that the network you’re connecting to is broadcasting its network name or SSID.

 

8. Stuck or Dead Pixels

Symptom:

Dead, red, green or blue dots on your notebook’s screen

Solution: 

Massage away dead pixels, replace LCD
 
Nonconforming or stuck pixels can be a nuisance on an otherwise functional laptop LCD.
 
The pixels usually remain red, green or blue, or may not light up at all.
 
Unfortunately, manufacturers will not always replace an LCD in warranty for just a couple stuck pixels.
 
There is a solution though that can sometimes help. Take a soft material, like a felt cloth, and gently rub in a circular motion around the stuck pixel.
 
Performing this trick will usually get the pixel to light up properly.
 
Once you find the right location and pressure to illuminate the pixel, hold your finger there for up to two minutes, and voila, no more stuck pixel.
 

9. System Crash

Symptom: 

Laptop won’t boot up
 

Solution: 

Remove the hard drive and place it into an external enclosure. Run Checkdisk.
 
 

It can be very stressful when your laptop refuses to boot up.

More often than not, however, the problem is as simple as a missing system file or a bad sector on the hard drive.

To determine if that’s the case, you can remove your hard drive using the instructions from the manufacturer and place the drive into an external USB enclosure.

Connect the enclosure’s USB cable to an open USB port on a working PC.

If the file system is still intact, the hard drive should show up as an external drive and allow you to transfer data to and from the drive.

Next, try running Checkdisk on the drive by opening a DOS prompt (Start/Programs/Accessories/Command Prompt) and typing in X: where X is the letter of your external drive. Then hit Enter. Now type “chkdsk /f.” Your system may ask you to dismount the drive; this is okay, so type Y and then hit Enter.

Your laptop will now display some information about your drive (file system type and serial number) and then scan the drive, fixing any errors it encounters.

An error report will print out, so you can see what changes were made to the drive.

If all went well, you’ll be good to go once you plug the hard drive back into the crashed laptop and power it on.

 

10. Virus or Malware Problems

Symptom: 

Virus alerts, pop ups, slow downloads
 

Solution: 

Install antivirus and malware removal software, use free online virus scan

 

Viruses and malware can cripple your system.
 
Always keep Windows updated.
 
Windows Defender is part of Windows 10 and recommended antivirus.
 
Make sure you always have an antivirus software installed and kept updated. 
 
We recommend scheduling periodic scans just to be safe. 
 

11. Faulty Graphics or Driver Issues

Symptom: 

Corrupt or distorted video

Solution: 

Download the latest drivers, replace or repair graphic card
 
 
Video issues are a common failure on laptops.
 
The trouble often stems from newer games and software that require the latest video card drivers to work.
 
Even though most laptops ship with the latest driver files, some systems will be outdated by the time the machine is sold.
 
That’s why it’s critical to update your graphic drivers often.
 
Sometimes the audio and network drivers may need to be updated as well.
 
Many laptop manufacturers offer installation packs that will give you the latest drivers and offer automated tools to update the rest of your notebook.
 
However, if you fail to find drivers at your manufacturer’s website, you can try the video card’s manufacturer, usually ATI or Nvidia.
 
If your system comes with an integrated graphics chip from Intel, your best bet is the laptop manufacturer’s website, although you can also try Intel’s support and downloads page.