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Fixing and Avoiding Problems on your PC

Heat problems can often be addressed simply by cleaning out any dust with a can of compressed air and keeping the vents unobstructed. In other instances, however, you may have a bigger problem, such as a broken cooling fan, or a heat sink that needs re-seating. These fixes can sometimes be tackled at home with the right tools and some Googling for tutorials, but if you don't know what you're doing, you might want to take your PC to a professional before trying to open up the chassis yourself.


To ferret out memory problems, start by finding out where memory is being used. In the task manager, select the "Processes" tab. You'll then see a list of all the various processes running on the machine at any given moment. Without opening any programs, take a look at the percentage of physical memory being used. If a large percentage is already in use with no programs running, you've likely found your problem. If your physical memory is mostly free, try opening the last program used, and then open one program at a time to see if any of your frequently used apps are hogging all the memory.
You can also run a memory test using the Windows Memory Diagnostics Tool, found by opening the Start Menu and searching "memory." Run the diagnostic, which will involve an automatic reboot.
If your memory is mostly full, you'll want to free up some space. While freeing up RAM could easily be its own series of articles, the essence of it is this: Unnecessary files, programs, and background processes will eat up your available RAM, leaving you prone to slowdowns and freezes. To fix this, shift files to the hard drive, uninstall programs that aren't needed or used, and turn off any programs running in the background. Unsure of how to do this? Take a look at our guide, How to Remove Bloatware. To prevent future problems, make the most of your memory by cleaning up and def ragging your hard drive, and consider upgrading with more RAM.
If the problem has its roots in software, be it a malicious program, a buggy software update, or corrupted driver, there are two simple steps to take. First, revert your PC to a previous state using System Restore, also found in the System Tools folder. If you can pinpoint the date that your performance issues began, you can simply roll back your system to a prior date.
Once you've reverted to a more stable version of your system, head off future problems by updating your drivers and running a virus scan.
If these simple steps aren't enough to alleviate your frozen laptop woes, you have two options. Often solutions to specific problems can be found with a bit of Google-Fu—you can diagnose a lot of problems just by knowing the symptoms and the make and model of your laptop. Don't hesitate to contact the manufacturer's tech support, either. Many problems will pop up due to system specific issues, such as a known software bug or flawed component, and they will be able to not only help you determine what the problem is, they will also be equipped to help you fix it (assuming of course that the laptop is still under warranty).
The second option is to approach a local repair shop or technician. There are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of potential freeze-inducing problems that can arise in one laptop, and a bit of knowledge will go a long way toward figuring out what that problem is and how to fix it.

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