Resolving Your Computer Issues

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Some good, common sense PC troubleshooting advice when your PC starts misbehaving.

So, you got your PC going with all the latest tracking software with plug-ins out the bum hole. You just did a weekís worth recordings and feel very good about the outcome. You decide you are going to work late today mixing the songs. Turn on the computer and BAM, absolutely nothing. Or BAM, your computer is running so slow that you canít do anything. But just the other day it was fine and dandy?? Well, sometimes this happens and you need to know what to do. Guess you can call this a guide to what to do when your computer screws up right when you donít need it too.

I thought about us the other day when I had some issues. I turned on my computer this past Saturday afternoon and guess what, it would get to different points of booting up and restart itself. BLOODY PIECE OF CRAP! This is a top of the line machine! I have hours of work on a couple of songs that I canít lose! Anyway, I cooled down and found out the problem and was backed up and running.

Software Problems:

Let me touch on the issue of slow computers. I see a lot (majority) or people complain about their slow computer. I had many clients when I was building computers for people complain a couple of months later after buying one from me about how slow my computers where. I always asked them if it was slow when they got it. The answer would always be the same, ďNoĒ. See, a slow computer does not mean your computer itself is slow. There are two different issues when it comes to a computer problem; itís either a software or hardware problem. In most cases of slow computers, itís a software problem that can be fixed easily. Viruses and Spyware are easy getting on computers everyday just by simply surfing the internet, causing your PC to run slow.

Restart Ė If your computer runs okay most of the time but after a while starts to slow down, just give it a reboot. Before I do any type of trouble-shooting to figure out what is wrong, I do the easiest thing first, simply restart the machine. A lot of times, that fixes the problem.

Viruses - Itís a no-brainer to have antivirus software on your computer. It would be embarrassing to get a virus to screw up your PC because you didnít spend the $50 (most of the time they have rebates to make it even cheaper) and got you some protection. So, get some. The two most popular brands are Norton and McAfee. I like Norton because itís pretty simple to use but itís totally up to you what you choose, they basically do the same thing. Also, there is a button in every antivirus software to ďupdateĒ the virus definitions. DO THAT! If you donít, itís pointless and it wonít protect you from the latest viruses. If you have high speed internet that is on all the time, you can set it to automatically update its virus definitions anytime you like it too. Hereís what gets missed understood as far as virus protection. It does exact what it sounds like, it protects your computer from viruses, and might not get rid of some viruses you already have. So, lets say, you got a virus and decide to buy antivirus software to solve your problem. Yes, there is a chance this may work because it will either delete, clean, or quarantine the files that are infected. I have seen cases where it will quarantine the files (basically, hide the file from all the other files so the virus wonít do any more damage) but already the damage has been done. So, all you are left to do is format (delete everything) the machine and start over fresh. Some viruses will affect your machine and do no damage that you can see. Like some of the worms you have heard about the past couple of months, they just made your machine restart after like 60 seconds. No damage, just a nuisance. Protect yourself just incase, you never know.

Spyware Ė I wish a law could be past on this along with spam. Spyware is the most aggravating and nonsense thing on the internet. You get it and donít even know how. It will take over your browser and change your homepage to something you really donít want your kids to read. It makes these stupid little pop ups come up in the middle of the night, so you got a nice little collection of these for you to look at and close when you get up in the morning. As a System Administrator where I work, I get tired of people getting this and I have to clean it out. Itís not their fault, they just agreed by clicking on things they shouldnít have, didnít know any better. There are two programs I use that works 99% of the time to get rid of these problems and they are totally free. Adaware and Spybot. There are other free types out there that work good but I like these two because I know they work for me. Adaware finds things Spybot doesnít, Spybot finds things Adaware doesnít. You can get them both at download.com. Just like the antivirus software, they have an update feature that you need to run to get an update so it will get rid of the latest threats. Run both of these programs and clean all spyware it finds. These need to be run pretty constantly. I run my about every week and find stuff every time.

Problem Programs Ė This doesnít happen much but I wanted to touch on it. You just got a nice program to do your check book and such. You install it and use it some and then shut down the computer for the night. Come back the next day to do some mixing and found that your computer is slower then Grandma pulling out of Wal-Mart. Okay, like I said, this doesnít happen much at all but is a possibility. Sometimes programs donít install right or just plainly doesnít like your system and wonít work right. Here is what I would do. Uninstall the program and restart your computer. If your computer works fine now, then you know by putting on that program had screwed up your machine. You can try to install the program again to see if maybe it will be okay now. If your PC is still messed up after all of this, then some damage has been done and formatting (erasing) and reinstalling might have to be an option. I hope Iím understandable on this. Whatever Operation System you have (Windows XP/2000/ME/98), it is far from perfect. It can be screwed up easily where you have to format the machine and put the Operation System right back on. Thatís why I am all for having a second hard drive to back up our recordings because we donít want to lose what we have worked on. Computers are flaky. That is why companies like the one I work for hire an IT person to handle their computer situations. If computers worked like you want them too all the time, I wouldnít have a job. I bring all this up with problem programs because I had a situation about a month ago. My PC had been acting weird for a couple of days being really slow at times where I would restart to fix the problem. After a while, restarting wasnít helping. Come to find out, my antivirus program wasnít on the bottom right of my screen on the task bar, where it had been for a long time now. Couldnít even open up the program. So, I uninstalled it, restarted my machine, reinstalled it and now my problem is fixed. Sometimes a program will stop working right and reinstalling it will hopefully fix it.

Hardware Problems:

PC Will Not Boot Ė Hit power button on PC tower, and nothing on the screen. A couple of things to check on this issue. Make sure your computer and monitor is getting power. Make sure all the cables are plugged in good and in the correct place. A good diagram on where different cables go is here: http://www.pcworld.com/howto/article/0,aid,116585,00.asp. If all of that is good, your monitor or video card is dead. You can get a good video card for under a hundred bucks or a monitor for around a hundred. Best thing to do if you donít have a spare, buy one and see if that works. If not, take it back for refund because you got another issue (like motherboard is dead).

PC Boots But Locks Up Ė Got to love it! PC freezes up at the Windows XP screen, etc. and you canít get in! You can now freak outÖÖ..just kidding. Turn off the computer by holding in the power button on the tower for about 5 seconds. When you turn the computer back on, most of the time you will get a screen with different choices since the computer wasnít turned off the ďcorrectĒ way. Some choices you will have for this screen: Safe Mode, Last Good Configuration, and Safe Mode with Networking, etc. Try choosing ďLast Good ConfigurationĒ, most of the time that will work and you will be back up and running. If this doesnít work, then your Operating System is corrupted and formatting and reinstalling is the probably the only option.

PC Keeps Restarting Itself Ė Like my issue this past Saturday, my computer was restarting itself. I would be in the middle of a game, and the computer would reboot itself. See, computers donít like dust or heat. My problem was my fans where do dusty, it wasnít cooling off my CPU like it should. Keep your fans inside the case and outside free of dust. It wonít hurt to take a cloth or air can and clean it off. To prevent this, donít stick your computer in tight area where air flow canít get to it. When your computer gets hot, most of the time it will cut itself off so it wonít overheat. Sometimes restarting computers could be drivers not working right. Update your video drivers, etc. by going to the manufactureís website and getting the latest drivers.

These are just some situations that happen to computers to make your life harder when you want to record. The suggestions I have made may not be the solution that you need to fix your problem. I have learned in my career that most computer problems are not always 100% similar to each other. I am here on the message boards along with dB and others that know computers very well to help you. Hope this helps you understanding computers a little bit more and how to prevent major crashes. If wanted, I could do an article on how to format and reinstall an operation system on your PC. Just drop me or dB a line if you like that.

Oh yeah, if this has helped you and you like this place (which I know you do!), donít be afraid to join HRC. Itís cheap and your support will keep this place growing with more information!

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User-submitted comments

Curtisshearer
Jun 15, 2013 03:10 pm
I NEED HELP
I got Cubase LE4 with my Phonic USB Interface and it looks like it recognizes my mic but when i hit record on the track and the play area it doenst come up HELP!


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