Welcome to our Q&A page. Here, we answer questions pertaining to computers and some common issues that may arise while using one.

In addition, https://www.computerhope.com/ is a great site for more help solving computer problems!


Why is my computer not working?

1. Before you do anything else, restart your computer.
2. Check for operating system updates. Needing an update can significantly impair your PC’s performance.
3. If you’re having problems with a peripheral (mouse, keyboard, monitor, printer, etc), try switching it on and off. If that doesn’t work, try disconnecting and reconnecting the device.
4. As a last resort, download the latest drivers and perform a full reinstall.


How to fix a slow computer

1. First step to fixing a slow computer is to verify that your machine is the actual source of the problem. It may not be the computer, it may be your broadband connection.
2. Check whether you have free space on the hard drive holding your operating system. Windows needs room to create files while your system is running. If your hard drive is maxed out, performance suffers. Now is the perfect time to clear some space!
3. Microsoft’s ‘System Configuration’ tool is your next-best bet for tackling slow performance. Many applications launch automatically when your machine boots up, which can stretch out boot time—especially on older, slower PCs. Make a habit of trimming the startup items. Open the tool by pressing Windows + R, typing “msconfig”, and finally – pressing the Enter key.
4. Windows’ System Configuration Tool lets you disable programs and services that automatically start when you boot your computer.
Once you’ve made all your changes, click OK and restart the computer. It should boot up quicker and feel noticeably faster.


Why are downloads taking forever?

1. Use Speedtest.net when you’re having connectivity problems. Run a speed test to see what your download and upload speeds are. Ideally, they should be at least 50 percent of your Internet service provider’s advertised speeds, with a ping under 100 milliseconds.
2. If the speeds seem solid, make sure that you aren’t inadvertently downloading or uploading anything. Many torrent downloading programs run in the background and minimize into the system tray instead of the task-bar. A good speed test should give you an accurate assessment of your ping, download speed, and upload speed.
3. Check your network hardware. Updates for network cards aren’t all that common, but if your card’s manufacturer offers a newer driver, download it.
4. Resetting your router and modem can help with connection problems too. Most routers and modems have reset buttons, but pulling the power cable for a second or two can do the same thing. Don’t cut the power for much longer, or the hardware may reset itself to factory defaults.
5. Still having problems? Call your Internet Service Provider, which can tell you whether the problem is on your end. As a last-ditch measure, the ISP could reset the master connection to your home.


Why does my computer keep restarting?

1. Hardware problems are hard to diagnose and solve. First, confirm that you aren’t just getting the latest wave of Windows updates, which can automatically restart your computer during installation.
2. Then work on updating all of your critical system drivers. Your graphics card, motherboard, and network card drivers are crucial.
3. Sometimes it can be viruses, adware, or overheating, and sometimes it can be something as simple as making sure your video card is updated.
4. Is your computer making weird noises? If you’re lucky all you’ll need to do is give the machine a thorough cleaning.
5. Modern computers have safeguards that shut down the system if a component is overheating. Which can be the cause of frequent restarts when you’re running resource-intensive programs or video games.


How to get rid of pop-up ads

1. You’ve most likely installed an adware program that displays unwanted ads. Although benevolent adware exists, most of the time adware is up to no good. Getting rid of it isn’t easy. There’s a ton of little system-utility tools out there that promise to clean up everything, with names like PC Speed-up, PC Speed Pro, PC Speedifier. A lot of times those programs are not going to do much. Some programs will work, others are snake oil.
2. Avoid downloading programs that offer to speed up your PC or clean up your registry.3. Running a full scan with credible antivirus software is your first step.
3. If that program doesn’t find and remove the adware, turn to Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free, a great utility for removing all types of malware. Just make sure to disable your standard antivirus software before running it.
4. Multiple antivirus programs working at the same time will often result in problems. You only want one active, real-time antivirus scanner installed.
5. If all else fails, there’s always the nuclear option: a complete system reinstall. It might take a long time, but it’s the only surefire way to remove adware or spyware. Remember to back up all your personal files.


Why does Google look weird?

1. Browser hijackers are a particularly nasty breed of malware. Such programs take over your Web browser and can stealthily redirect your Google searches and other queries to fake pages meant to steal your personal information or to further infect your system.
2. Running a real-time antivirus utility is the best way to stay safe. If your browser has already been hijacked, uninstall the browser and use your antivirus program in conjunction with Malwarebytes to remove the intruder.


Why does my Wi-Fi keep disconnecting?

Spotty wireless connections can be a puzzler. Is it your computer? Your router? Your ISP? Try a few things before calling your Internet service provider.
1. Windows Network Diagnostics may not always solve your problem, but it will usually point you in the right direction.
2. Confirm that your computer is within range of your wireless router. Weak signals mean weak connections.
3. Next, make sure your PC’s wireless card has the latest drivers. Try letting Windows troubleshoot for you by right-clicking the Wi-Fi icon in the task-bar and selecting Troubleshoot problems.


Why do I keep seeing ‘There is a problem with this website’s security certificate’?

1. Issues may be due to an incorrect system clock, Website security certificates sync up with your computer’s clock. Old computers in particular run the risk of having a dead CMOS battery—the watch battery in your computer that keeps its system clock ticking. Click the clock in the system tray and select change date and time settings to correct any issues.


How to fix a printer

1. Ensure your printer’s drivers are up-to-date,
2. Ensure it has enough paper and ink or toner to print.
3. Try turning the printer off and on.
4. Unplug the printer and plug it back in.
5. Check your printer’s print queue by looking for the printer icon in the system tray and double-clicking it. The print queue shows you the status of each job as well as the general status of your printer.
6. make sure that ‘Use Printer Offline’ isn’t selected. Sometimes, printing while your printer is turned off can cause Windows to set your printer to work offline and that can stall jobs sent later.


Why can’t I open email attachments?

1. If you have ever encountered an attachment that you couldn’t open, it was probably because you didn’t have the software necessary to view the file. If you don’t have Adobe Reader or another PDF-compatible program, you won’t be able to open that TPS report.
2. The usual suspect is the .pdf file, for which you can download a free PDF reader. If your problem involves a different file format, a quick search on the attachment’s file extension (the three letters after the period in the filename) should tell you what type of program you need. If the attachment lacks a file extension (which might happen if it was renamed), adding it back should set things right.


Why is my program not working on my new PC?

1. Before you call tech support, make sure that the software you’re trying to run is compatible with your operating system. Older software might not function on Windows 8, and an app created for Mac OS X definitely won’t run on your Windows PC.
2. A 32-bit program might run on your 64-bit operating system, but it doesn’t work the other way around.
3. Not all file types work on Windows. For example, files that have the .app extension run exclusively on Mac OS X.
4. If an online game balks, you might be missing the required plug-ins—Java and Flash are the usual culprits. Most browsers will alert you to install these items if necessary.


When to throw in the towel?

We hope our Q&A page was helpful, but if you are still experiencing an issue, A Laptop Shoppe’s Mike Chartrand recommends contacting tech support for “problems that are beyond your capabilities.” When in doubt, avoid voiding a warranty or damaging your computer. “Be aware of your own abilities,” says Mike, “The last thing you want to do is make things worse.” When the problem becomes too complicated, call us at 403-274-5190 or click here to go to our contact page where you can fill out our service request form.