Common IT Problems and How to Fix Them

a woman looking at a computer crash in Michigan


Technology seems to change at lightning speeds. New gaming consoles, smartphone updates, and new versions of old programs can make a mess out of your once reliable technology. Not to mention glitches, fails and even outright computer crashes. If you use technology—and who doesn’t—you’ll want to be able to recognize some common IT problems and know what to do when things go wrong.


Computer Just Won’t Start


Your computer won’t start. It’s the end of the world! Or is it? First step: don’t panic. Take a breath and check out exactly what might be happening. Is it completely off, with no response when you hit the on/off button? If no lights, sound, or fan comes on, it’s clearly not getting power. Check the power source and all connections. Make certain your surge protector power is on. Make sure the source of electricity is actually getting an electrical charge. For your PC, you may also want to remove your computer’s battery and use AC current only to be certain it’s not the battery that’s causing the problem.


On But Then Off


Does your computer power up, but then shut right down afterward? Be sure to check connections just as you did for no power at all. Faulty wiring can cause lots of problems and even a fire if left unchecked. But sometimes intermittent power can mean that the power supply voltage switch isn’t set correctly. Look at the back of your computer. A small voltage selector switch should be set to either 110v/115v or 220v/230v. The switch needs to match the power your computer is receiving. In the U.S., that usually means a setting of 110/115. 

Another cause of your computer turning on and off may be an electrical short. A loose wire, dropped screw, or stray piece of metal can all cause an electrical short. Don’t investigate this unless you first shut down the power and disconnect your computer from the outlet. And if you have any questions at all about opening your computer, this may be the time to contact a computer technician who is well-trained and knows exactly what to look for.


Printer (and other hardware) Not Working


If your computer is working fine but you can’t get your printer to print or your scanner to scan, there’s probably a disconnect between devices. Double-check all power sources and cables again. If your hardware are wireless, confirm your WiFi signal is strong. Also check that supplies like paper and ink are full in case your hardware automatically turns on standby when it runs low on these items. If problems continue, go into your hardware settings and follow the steps for troubleshooting or updating the software as necessary.


Bad Internet Connection


Let’s face it: if you can’t get online, it’s almost not worth having a computer. If you can’t connect to the internet, first troubleshoot your modem and your router. Disconnect the power to these and wait at least one minute before powering back up. Make sure all wire connections are tight, secure, and connected to the right outlet. If necessary, restart your computer. Try to head this issue off by setting up your computer to notify you of any updates, downloads, or installations which may choke your connection.


Security Breach


With the right strategy and the right software, security breaches can be prevented. But maybe you’re not as secure as you think you are. Things go wrong. Hackers sometimes get through. First identify the information you know may have been compromised. If necessary, freeze financial accounts like credit cards or banks so no personal information can be stolen. Monitor all activity moving forward. And research the most cost-effective security software you can afford. You want and need virus and security protection.


IT is a fast-growing industry and the skills need to excel in it are in high demand. If you’ve ever considered a career in information technology, check out the Career Quest Learning Centers IT programs. We provide hands-on training that focuses on what employers really look for in new hires. Find out more by calling our Jackson (877-365-8144) or Lansing (877-481-4930) campuses now. 



“If it’s something you have a passion for, you have to follow your heart.”


“Career Quest gives you all the tools you need to be a successful medical assistant. You just have to make a choice to make it count.”