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Troubleshooting PC Problems: Fix Those Nagging Issues

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A new year kicks off with a new computer for millions of people, though many more will make due with what they already have for at least a little while longer. For those who'll ride it out with their workhorse computers for a little longer, now is a good time to whip that baby back into shape and to get rid of some of those nagging issues that have been allowed to fester.

Pop-Ups

They're a nuisance that's often tolerated because they generally don't disable or cripple computers. But pop-ups are often the windows to dark souls, gateways to sites rigged with malware and phishing attempts.

Review each web browser's extensions menu to ensure that nothing sketchy has been installed. Spam-generating extensions will often skirt antivirus and anti-malware scans.

Click on the hamburger button and then select the "Settings" option in Google Chrome or the "Add-ons" option in Mozilla Firefox. Click on the "Extensions" or "Extensions or Appearance" heading and then disable any suspicious extensions.

If the pop-up windows disappear, then its time to remove the suspect extensions. The next step is to run a full, not quick, antivirus scan -- even if removing a bad extension fixed the problem, it's still a prudent measure to scan the entire computer for anything that may have been left behind in other places.

Printer Won't Print

If there's a print issue, make sure the default printer hasn't fallen back to the Document Writer. Press the printer's "Cancel" button or powercycle it, powering it down and then turning it back on again.

If the print queue is free, the print settings may have defaulted back to the native Document Writer. Take a trip to the Control Panel's "Devices and Printers" menu, right-click on the targeted device's hardware and then select the "Set as Default Printer" option from its context menu.

If the trouble carries on, try updating the printer's drivers. Search "Windows Update" from the Windows' search menu and then click on the updater's icon.

Click on the "Check for updates" option and then look for an update for the printer. If there are no new updates for the printer, disconnect the device and try re-installing its software.

Frozen Screens

The sources of temporary freezing and full-on seizures are myriad, but some of the common causes include changes to the hardware and bottlenecks. If the freezing issues started after an update to the computer's hardware, such as a new component or updated software for a device, try using a different device driver, whether moving to the most recent or stepping to proven software.

If the freezing issue slowly developed over a year, or years, it's likely the result of aging hardware. Anything under 4 GB of RAM can easily be fattened with pre-buffered HD content, causing your computer to freeze.

If the problem appears to be related to aging hardware, well, there's a chance one component can make a world of difference. Again, RAM is a good place to start if its pool is less than 4 GB. If one component doesn't stand out as problematic, then its time to let an expert diagnose the situation.

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