How to fix common computer problems

No doubt your computer is integral to your life whether for function or fun. But likely it has its difficult moments. These two common problems shouldn't require a professional if you know how to fix them yourself.

How to fix common computer problems

Silence a noisy PC

  • Has your desktop PC become as noisy as a jet taxiing down a runway? The rise in decibels may be caused by dust and dirt clogging up one or more of the cooling fans inside.
  • To quiet your system — and help it run cooler and more efficiently and last longer — you'll need to venture inside the case and use a can of compressed air to blow away the stuff that's gumming up the works.

1. Disconnect the computer's power cord and the cords going to the monitor and other peripherals; then remove the case's side panel. (You'll probably want to place the computer on top of some newspapers, as you're likely to be making a mess.)

2. Look on the back of the case, and locate the cooling fan for the power supply by the vents in the case. For safety, don't open up the power supply, but use the can of compressed air to clean the fan as thoroughly as possible.

3. Use the compressed air to clean out any other fans used inside the case, including those on top of the central processing unit and the graphics processor; you may need to remove these components to get to the fans. Be sure to clean out any other dust and debris you see inside the case before reattaching the side panel.

Remove a stuck CD or DVD

  • Although improper placement of a CD or DVD on the motorized tray is the leading cause of stuck disks, crooked labels and flawed disks can also result in jams.
  • If a disk gets trapped inside your CD or DVD drive, don't panic; there's a simple way to get it out without breaking the tray.
  • First, Locate the emergency tray release on the front of the drive. It's a small hole that's usually positioned toward the middle of the faceplate.
  • Then, straighten a paper clip and gently slide it into the hole as far as it will go.
  • This will trigger the tray's eject mechanism, and you should be able to remove the disk. (If this doesn't work, you may need to have the drive professionally serviced or buy a new one.)
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