Easy Fixes for Common Computer Issues

Problems with your computer can be frustrating, but many common issues have simple solutions. Follow the below tips to ensure your computer continues to run smoothly.

Easy Fixes for Common Computer Issues

Help! I just deleted a vital file

Act quickly to recover it

It happens to everyone — instead of dragging a file into a folder, you drop it into the bin instead.

  • Immediately go to the Recycle Bin (Windows) or Trash (Mac). The file should still be there. If using a Mac, just drag it back to its desired location. If you're a Windows user, right-click on the accidentally deleted file in Recycle Bin and choose Restore from the menu.
  • If you have already emptied your trash, the file may still be on your hard drive. Stop using the computer immediately — any activity might write over some or all of the accidentally deleted file. Get advice from an expert about file-recovery programs that might be able to retrieve your file.
  • Always back up your data. That way, you'll at least have an earlier version of the lost file.

I can’t copy files onto my flash drive

Free up some space on the drive

Flash drives are gadgets that allow you to store files temporarily or move them from one computer to another. If your flash drive doesn't respond, here's what to do.

  • If the flash drive is new, it may require formatting by your computer. First, plug the stick into your computer's USB port; in Windows, go to My Computer and right-click the USB drive on the list. Select Format from the menu. In Mac OS, navigate to Go -> Utilities -> Disk Utility. Select the flash drive and click on the Erase option.
  • The flash drive may be full. If using a PC, drag any files you don't need from the flash drive to the Recycle Bin to create more space. Be aware that the files will disappear for good — there's no way to retrieve them later. If using a Mac, drag the files into the Trash; you then need to go to Finder -> Empty Trash to get rid of the files and create more space on the flash drive.

My computer’s date and time are way off

Replace the battery

If your computer tells you it's January 1949 or some other crazy date, it's time to change the battery on the motherboard. Don't be tempted just to live with the incorrect date — all the files you work on will be "stamped" with this wrong information, making them impossible to sort in date order later.

My computer’s clock is inaccurate

Set it with atomic precision

The clock within your computer is little more than a cheap wristwatch that relies on a quartz crystal to keep time. Its long-term accuracy is usually poor. If you have an Internet connection, it's simple to set your time and date to synchronize with the most accurate atomic clocks in the world.

  • In Windows, click on the clock on your screen to bring up the Date and Time Properties. Click on the Internet Time tab and check the Automatically Synchronize box. Mac users should click on the clock on screen, then select Date and Time Preferences -> Date and Time and check the Set date and time automatically box.
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