To start with, if you’re looking to get a laptop and looking at Acer, you might want to be wary. Their support is decent and fast, but if you’re anything like me, you use your PC a LOT and any time not having it around is quite the inconvenience. Over the course of the past few months, I’ve been learning more than I would have normally liked to as a result of my troubles, spending a fair amount of time scouring the Internet for some of the software tools I’ve been using.
That honestly shouldn’t have been the case, if you ask me. I’m no expert, but my experience so far has taught me several things, these first few parts being the most basic:
- If you’re having any issues, try the easiest solution first. Just reboot your computer.
- Didn’t solve it? Things can get far more complex here, but your next best bet could be to go to your PC manufacturer’s (or component manufacturer’s) site, find their support page, then look up your particular model, and look for drivers. Which driver you’ll need will typically depend on what you’re having trouble with, but it’s generally good to have up to date drivers all around.
- At the end of your rope here? Drivers not fixing things? Still have your PC under warranty? Try working with the tech support of the manufacturer. This could be awful, so if you really don’t want to, and you can still return it, well, that might be the better option.
- Out of your warranty and return period? Well, that’s probably why you’re here in the first place, but my advice is to Google even more specifically what your problem is. Think of how best to describe it, too. Otherwise, you’ll probably get many misleading results.
To make things way easier, here’s a list of links to some of the more popular PC manufacturers’ tech support pages:
In case your problems aren’t exactly rooted in hardware issues or driver issues, you may want to try using the most obvious support pages of all:
Also, it should be noted that sometimes the drivers on support pages aren’t always up to date, so if you’re a gamer and work with dedicated graphics cards, you’re better off going with those manufacturers’ support pages:
That’s the basic route if you’re not terribly tech savvy. If you’re more tech savvy, there’s a variety of things you can try.
Disclaimer: If you’re a less tech savvy user, I do not advise using much, if any, of the software below unless you take the time to read the instructions. Some of this software could potentially cause further problems for you if you’re not careful with its usage. You have been warned.
Chances are you’ve already gone through most of what I’ve described above, but there are still some pieces of diagnostic software that may help you out:
If you only want more specific information related to your processor fans or temperatures, there’s also SpeedFan and RealTemp. I’ve used RealTemp a lot to try and find if my laptop’s issues were heat related, and I cannot praise it enough. You can tell it to play a sound when your internals are getting too hot, to log the temperature changes for every second or in intervals of seconds in Excel files (or Calc files if you’re a LibreOffice user), and tweak it in a few other ways. Very great tool.
Intel processor torture testing:
Not sure what it might be, or maybe want to see how your processor runs under high stress? Prime95 is what you’re after. Google it and you’ll find it’s a tool heavily used by overclockers, but it can also help pinpoint problems with unmodified processors. Don’t follow the instructions beyond the most basic on the site (i.e. which version to download), instead download it, start it up (it won’t do anything immediate, don’t worry), select Just Stress Testing, then use the small FFTs test. If you know what you’re doing, feel free to use the other options, but do be careful, as from what I’ve heard this software really can legitimately harm your components if there’s a problem or you’re not careful.
I can certainly attest to it raising the internal temperatures significantly.
RAM testing tools:
If you’re concerned your RAM may be giving you troubles, then the best tool I’ve found to use has to be Memtest86+. The only downside is that you need to burn it to a disc, then boot from it to run the software. However, that’s a minor inconvenience in comparison to working with malfunctioning hardware. (This is if after you’ve tried reseating the RAM and it’s still causing issues, mind you.)
Hard drive recovery tools:
While I’ve fortunately not yet had to use these tools, I’ve recently dug up some hard drive recovery tools, in case you come to that worst of circumstances. The first one that I’ve found that I’ve seen a good amount of praise for is a program called TestDisk. From what I’ve read, it’s supposedly rather effective too, but as with all of this software, I highly advise reading the instructions and guides. Alongside this, there’s EaseUS Partition Master, which while holding a host of tools, also allows users to hopefully retrieve their hard drive contents.
On this note, if you’re working with external hard drives, and it’s not being detected whatsoever, some basic suggestions are: try it with a different power cord, if available and it uses one, and if another cord isn’t available, blowing into the power cord port on the external hard drive itself. It sounds crazy, but I had it work. (After also blowing into the power cord tip itself that goes into the external hard drive.) If working with older hardware in general, remember that you may be working with a faster USB setup (e.g. USB 2.0 or 3.0) and it may not be supported.
Well, that’s about all I’ve found in my research as I’ve tried to solve my own problems. I hope this comes to someone else’s aid and reduces the time they have to dig about. =D