15 Common PC Problems and How to Troubleshoot Them

There’s no need to rush off to the tech repair store for every problem your PC might have. A lot of usual computer issues can be solved quite easily on your own, allowing you to handle them with a few straightforward steps.

This guide is here to help you fix common PC issues by yourself. Below, you’ll find a rundown of the top 15 hardware problems that PC users encounter and how you can deal with them without outside help.

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1. PC Overheating

A heating PC slows down the entire system and can lead to frequent crashes. Moreover, PC components might permanently damage due to continuous exposure to heat.

There are two primary reasons your PC might overheat: either the cooling system isn’t functioning correctly, or the PC is generating more heat than the cooling system can manage. For both scenarios, I’ve detailed a comprehensive guide on various methods to manage an overheating PC. Make sure to check it out.

2. Dysfunctional USB Port

If your USB port stops working, it might not necessarily be broken. Here are some solutions that can help resolve this issue:

Method 1: Restart the PC

Restarting your PC can solve many issues, including problems with the USB port.

Method 2: Uninstall USB Port Driver

Uninstalling the driver of the USB port will prompt Windows to reinstall it upon restarting your PC, potentially fixing the issue. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Press Windows + R keys and enter devmgmt.msc in the Run dialog to open the Device Manager.
  2. Expand the Universal Serial Bus controllers option.
  3. Right-click the entry USB Host Controller and then click on Uninstall.
  4. Repeat this for all entries with USB Host Controller to uninstall drivers for all the USB ports.
  5. Once deleted, restart your PC, and Windows will automatically reinstall the drivers, fixing any driver-related issues.
Hardware problem uninstall driver
Method 3: Disable USB Selective Suspend

The USB Selective Suspend feature in Windows saves power by suspending idle USB ports, but sometimes it might prevent a USB port from working. Here’s how to disable it:

  1. Press Windows + R keys and type powercfg.cpl in the Run dialog to open Windows Power Options.
  2. Click on Change plan settings next to your current plan, then click on Change advanced power settings.
  3. Expand USB settings and disable USB selective suspend setting.
  4. Restart your PC to see if the issue with the USB port is resolved.
Disable USB suspend

Note: Keep this option enabled to save battery power. If disabling it doesn’t resolve the USB port issue, consider enabling it again.

3. PC Keeps Disconnecting from WiFi

If your Wi-Fi is functioning properly but your PC keeps disconnecting from it, the issue may be due to your PC’s network card not receiving full power. Windows features a built-in power saver option that reduces power to the network card. You’ll need to disable this feature by following these steps:

  1. Navigate to Advanced settings in the Power Options.
  2. Expand Wireless Adapter Settings and then Power Saving Mode.
  3. Adjust this to Maximum Performance.

Alternatively, if your PC continues to disconnect from Wi-Fi and the issue persists, the problem might be a faulty wireless adapter driver. Consider using Auslogics’ Driver Updater to detect and resolve issues with device drivers by fetching and installing the latest official driver software.

Maximize network card performance

4. PC Beeps

The motherboard of your PC is equipped to detect issues and uses beeps of varying rhythms to communicate problems. For an in-depth understanding of what different beep patterns mean, check out this detailed article on interpreting these signals.

If your PC fails to start after emitting these beeps, solving the problem can be challenging. Nonetheless, I’ll discuss two common issues that cause beeps and how you can resolve them yourself.

Problem 1: RAM Displacement

One common issue I encountered is the RAM becoming loose or displaced, leading to 2-3 beeps from the PC without it booting up. The solution is straightforward: open up the PC (though laptop users might prefer professional help) and reseat the RAM. Here’s how:

  1. Clean any dirt from the RAM slot using a cotton bud after removing the RAM completely.
  2. Reinsert the RAM, applying sufficient pressure on both ends to ensure it is fully seated.
  3. Secure the clips, ensuring they’re properly locked, as even slightly loose RAM can prevent your PC from working.

Refer to this video for guidance on installing the RAM properly:

Problem 2: Issues with Newly Added Hardware

Beeps can also result from damaged or incorrectly installed hardware components. Remove any hardware you’ve recently added to see if it addresses the issue. If your PC functions correctly afterward, ensure the component is installed correctly or consider repairing or replacing it.

5. PC Fans Not Working

If you discover that one or more fans within your PC are not functioning, it might be due to accumulated dirt. You’ll need to open your PC and clean the fans and other components using a can of compressed air or a leaf blower.

For guidance on the cleaning process, watch this helpful video:

If cleaning doesn’t solve the issue, consider using the SpeedFan app to diagnose and possibly fix the problem. This app allows you to control your PC’s fans, though your motherboard must support fan control to utilize this feature.

SpeedFan application interface

6. PC Not Using Full RAM Capacity

There are times when your PC might not utilize all the RAM installed. For instance, you could have 4GB of RAM, but the Task Manager only shows 2GB in use. Often, this is due to a specific Windows setting.

Note: If a small amount of RAM (200-400MB) is not being utilized, it’s likely reserved for hardware use, and there’s not much that can be done about it.

The solution is straightforward – Windows may have been set to use only a part of the available RAM. Here’s how you can adjust it:

  1. Press Windows + R keys and type msconfig in the Run dialog to open System Configurations.
  2. Navigate to the Boot tab and click on Advanced options.
  3. Check the box next to Maximum memory and enter the total amount of RAM installed (in MBs).
  4. Click OK and restart your PC to apply the changes.
System configuration for maximum memory usage

Good to know: While adjusting these settings, also consider checking the Number of processors option to ensure your PC is using all available CPU cores. Set it to the maximum number to utilize full CPU power.

If the issue persists, it’s possible that one of the RAM modules may not be properly installed. Attempt reinstallation to see if it resolves the issue.

7. Overworking Fan

Your PC’s fan speeds up based on your PC’s temperature—the higher the temperature, the faster the fan runs. If your PC’s temperature is normal (you can check it using HWMonitor), but the fan is still running at full speed, you might need to manually adjust the fan speed.

The SpeedFan app can help you monitor and adjust the speed of your PC’s fans. This issue of fans overworking typically occurs only with motherboards that have fan control capabilities, so compatibility with the app shouldn’t be a concern.

8. PC Crashes Before Loading the OS

If your PC crashes immediately after showing the manufacturer logo and before loading the operating system, the issue likely lies with the RAM or the hard disk. This means the operating system can’t load because the RAM is corrupted or the hard disk is damaged.

For those with multiple RAM slots, removing each RAM module one at a time and starting the PC can help identify the faulty component. Ultimately, you’ll need to replace the corrupted RAM or hard disk.

9. PC Isn’t Powering On

If your PC isn’t powering on at all, with no lights turning on, the problem could be with the power source.

Desktop users: Ensure that the extension cord, power outlet, and all connections are functioning correctly. If they are, try swapping the power cable with another one, such as the monitor’s, to see if the PC turns on. If this resolves the issue, you’ll need a new power cable.

Laptop users: Try removing the battery and then reinserting it before starting the laptop. If that doesn’t work, remove the battery again and connect the laptop to the charger to try powering it on without the battery. If the laptop powers on, the battery may need to be replaced.

Note: It’s also wise to disconnect any external devices from your PC when attempting these solutions, as a malfunctioning device could be the cause of the power issue.

10. Noisy PC

A noisy PC often signals the need for a thorough cleaning. You can clean it yourself using a can of compressed air or a leaf blower. Overclocking your PC’s GPU and CPU might also contribute to the noise.

Here’s a video demonstrating simple methods to clean your PC:

Sometimes, the noise could be coming from a disc in the DVD ROM. For more details on PC components that can cause noise, check out this informative article.

11. Noisy Hard Drive

Clicking or grinding noises from your hard drive are warning signs that it may be failing. Hard drives have a finite lifespan, and these sounds often indicate imminent failure. The CrystalDiskInfo hard drive monitoring tool can help assess the health of your hard drive, displaying conditions like “Good,” “Caution,” or “Bad.”

CrystalDiskInfo interface showing hard drive health

It’s crucial to back up your data immediately and consider acquiring a replacement hard drive before the current one fails.

12. Blue Screen of Death (BSOD)

The feared Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) can be triggered by both software and hardware issues, though it often points to hardware problems. It’s crucial to address BSOD promptly as it indicates significant trouble.

Blue Screen of Death

BlueScreenView, a helpful Nirsoft utility, provides valuable information following a BSOD event, aiding in the identification and resolution of the issue. Here are some common BSOD triggers and their fixes.

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Corrupted Drivers

Corrupted drivers can lead to BSOD. To diagnose and address this issue, follow these steps:

  1. Access Device Manager by typing devmgmt.msc in the Run dialog.
  2. Expand each category and look for any drivers marked with a yellow triangle icon.
  3. If any are found, right-click on the driver and select Update Driver Software to update it.
Driver update process

Alternatively, third-party apps like IObit Driver Booster can automate the process of identifying and resolving driver issues.

Excessive Load on RAM

Opening more programs than the RAM can handle might freeze the system and trigger BSOD. Limit the number of concurrent programs or consider upgrading your RAM to avoid this issue.

Faulty Hard Disk

A BSOD can also signal a failing hard disk. Refer to the guidelines in problem #11 to detect hard disk issues.

Overheating PC

An overheating PC may lead to BSOD if excessive stress is placed on the components. Follow the instructions provided in problem #1 to address this.

13. Blank Monitor

If your monitor displays nothing, it could indicate an issue with the monitor itself or the graphics card. Test the monitor with another PC to determine the source of the problem.

If the monitor doesn’t power on at all, try replacing the power cable with one that’s known to work. For more troubleshooting tips, here’s a useful article on fixing a monitor that shows nothing.

14. Monitor Goes Black After a Few Seconds

If your monitor goes black after displaying for a few seconds, it may be related to color quality or screen adjustment settings. Try pressing the auto-adjust button on your monitor. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, consider changing the display color from 32-bit to 16-bit.

Connecting your PC to a different monitor to adjust the graphics card settings could also be helpful. Using the auto-adjust feature might briefly restore the display, allowing you to tweak the color settings in that short window.

15. Keyboard Issues

If your keyboard is noisy or fails to type repeated words correctly, it’s likely not a hardware issue. Windows settings such as toggle keys and filter keys might be activated, leading to these symptoms. To disable them, follow these steps:

  1. Access the Control Panel and select Ease of Access.
  2. Click on Change how your keyboard works.
  3. Uncheck the boxes next to Toggle keys and Filter Keys to resolve the issue.
Disabling filter keys
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Wrapping Up

While many hardware issues can be resolved by adjusting settings or using specific software, some problems may necessitate a trip to the computer repair shop. Knowing what’s wrong with your PC enables you to take appropriate action. We’d love to hear about any PC hardware problems you’ve encountered and how you solved them, so please share your experiences in the comments.