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common it issues

7 Common IT Support Issues & Troubleshoots

Technology is an ever-changing part of our world and as an IT Support company, we are used to dealing with common IT issues every day. Since the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic, we have seen a significant increase in the number of people working from home. It’s useful to learn the most common IT problems that can take place at home and in the workplace to help you to continue to work more efficiently. 

Issues can be as simple as a slow running computer to a smoking laptop (yes, that has happened!) But, the good news is that many IT problems are pretty easy to fix and the more you know, the easier it’ll be to control and resolve them. Here are 7 of the most common issues that businesses and individuals face.

1. Forgotten Passwords 

Forgotten passwords seem like an inevitability in the work-place and it’s one of the top issues in IT support and troubleshooting. Coming back from holiday only to find that you’ve forgotten the key digits that’ll grant you access to your files is highly disruptive. To avoid this situation entirely, it would be a good idea to follow a strategy that would decrease the chances of you forgetting the password in the first place. 

A useful technique is the sentence method, also known as the Bruce Schneier Method. It’s an amazingly simple concept that’s easy to remember. First think of a sentence that you will never forget. Got one? Okay, now take the first two letters of each word and put them all together to make your password. Here’s an example:

My sentence: The Brass Monkey is my favourite pub in Edinburgh. 

Password: ThBrMoismyfapuinEd

Special Software

Alternatively, you may want to completely remove all risk by investing in special software. As an example, LastPass could be the answer to your problems since they allow you to generate hundreds of strong passwords and secure them in a special vault. 

If you’ve got a knack for forgetting passwords then you’ll be glad to know that retrieving them is no impossible task either, since LastPass offers you multiple recovery options. Password software can be an incredibly cost-effective solution, with plans beginning as low as $4 per month. 

Learn more about other Cyber security tips with our recent blog – Essential Cyber Security Tips 

2. Accidentally Deleted Important Files

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Accidentally deleting important files is arguably one of the most common IT problems but it’s also one of the most avoidable. If it does happen, however, the first piece of advice would be to check your recycle bin. 

To provide additional layers of protection, you may benefit from using software that syncs your files to the cloud such as OneDrive or DropBox. This means that a copy of your files are automatically saved to the cloud so that even if you accidentally delete a file from your hard drive the most recent version can still be retrieved.

Although deleted files can be retrieved from synced files on the cloud, files can still be lost. For example, cyber-attacks can target data stored in the cloud which is why alongside syncing, we would strongly suggest having cloud IT backup solutions in place to eliminate the risk of permanent loss of important files. Here at FirstLine IT, we offer protection to our clients to ensure that their data is safe and accessible using Datto’s solutions to backup data stored on the cloud. With Datto’s cloud backup you can be assured of peace of mind that your files are safe in any scenario. 

Learn more about how you can secure peace of mind for your business with our IT Disaster Recovery Planning service

3. Slow Performance 

Slow computers are painful. Trying to complete work efficiently with a machine that’s crippled by errors, weak software and poor RAM is a challenge to our patience. However, if you can get to the root of the problem, you may be able to re-energise it back to an optimal speed. Here are the main issues you need to keep an eye out for:

Not utilising RAM effectively 

How many tabs do you have open? What software do you have running in the background? Keeping only what you need open will reduce RAM usage which will only help improve computer speed. A useful tip to also know is that Google Chrome takes up a lot more RAM than Firefox. 

Not enough space on the hard disk

The hard drive provides you with copious amounts of space to store data. However, no matter how big your hard drive is, it can still make your computer slow if too much clutter accumulates. Look to delete any files that you don’t need, especially videos and photos since they tend to take up the most memory. 

Too many startup programs

Startup programs are programs that automatically load once you switch on your computer. Although it can be a useful feature, having too many running at once is detrimental to computer speed. Simply removing the startup programs you don’t need may help the computer to run faster. If you are unsure of how to do this, contact your IT Support company who can guide you through the process. 

Malware 

We all hate them but they exist. Malware consume a significant amount of computer memory, draining enough resources to limit its use for other legitimate programs. If you are experiencing slow performance for no obvious reason, there may be a possibility that your system has been infected with malware. Whilst there are tools that you can download to identify and quarantine malware, we would always suggest that you contact your IT Support in the first instance before trying to rectify the issue yourself. 

Learn more about how your business could benefit from protection with our Cyber Security services 

4.    Overheating

When your computer generates more heat than it’s able to handle then it’ll overheat. This can be serious because your device may either shut down without warning or even suffer permanent damage. To avoid this, follow these simple steps:

Keep it clean

Dust accumulation is a big culprit and it can dramatically reduce the lifespan of your computer. Having vast amounts of dust build-up near your fan will raise the temperature of your device, further increasing the chances of overheating. Make sure to give your device a regular clean to stop this from happening. Before attempting to clean your system, we would always suggest that you contact your IT Support team as the problem may lie elsewhere and dismantling parts of your system will only increase the risk of damage. 

Give your computer some breathing space

Any object or material that’s blocking the fan will inhibit its ability to cool the machine. Avoid placing the computer near anything that radiates heat e.g a radiator. 

Be wary of the sun

This is particularly relevant to laptops. If you’re going to work outside when it’s sunny, make sure to avoid direct sunlight and sit in the shade. Needless to say, this will almost certainly decrease the chances of your device overheating. 

5.   Printer Problems

Printers can offer their own set of mysterious problems ranging from reducing computer speed to being unable to carry out their primary function – to print. Here’s what to do if you come across either one of these issues.

Hampering computer speed

You may never have guessed, but printers are sometimes culpable for a decrease in computer speed. To see whether this is the case, first disconnect and uninstall the printer, then test to see whether this has had any effect. If you believe that your printer may be the culprit, we would suggest contacting your IT Support who will be able to investigate and offer a diagnosis.

A refusal to print

There could be a myriad of possibilities as to why your printer isn’t printing. Always first check the connection. Ensure that the USB cable is connected properly at both ends and that the power cable is plugged into the wall. 

If you’re connected through either wifi or Bluetooth, ensure that the devices are paired correctly with one another. If you’re still having no luck, try plugging your machine via USB and see if this alternative works. From here you’ll be able to identify whether the problem lies within the wireless connection or the printer itself. 

6. Slow Internet Connection 

No internet, no work. That seems to be the rule in the digital age and so a slow internet connection can be remarkably frustrating. Now that we are seeing an increase in the number of people working from home and relying on their own internet, there are inevitably going to be problems with connection from time to time. There are several different ways you can troubleshoot this. Here are three things that you can do.

Reboot your router

Just like any machine, your router is susceptible to being in a state of complete overload. When this happens, your internet connection can become slow. To reboot your router, simply remove the cables from the power outlets for around ten seconds before plugging them back in again. You may have to wait a few minutes before everything gets back up to speed again. When the connection is established, check to see if there are any improvements. 

Use an ethernet cable

Ethernet cables provide a more secure connection to the internet compared with wifi. This is because many variables can hamper wifi connectivity, including thick walls and metal objects. Opting to use an ethernet cable will almost guarantee a more stable internet connection. 

Improve your WiFi connection

Whether you are working from home or using the office WiFi, if you find that you are experiencing a poor connection, try moving closer to your router to see if this has an impact. If the building you are in has thick concrete walls, this may also interfere with the signal. Our suggestion would be to implement a WiFi mesh system where you can install multiple base stations around your office or home. 

Learn more about how your business could benefit from our Business WiFi services

7. USB Problems

USB problems can be fiddly since they can arise either from the device itself, the port or the laptop. The first thing to do is check if the USB device is functioning on other devices. If so, this narrows it down to either the USB port or your laptop. 

The first time you use a USB device it may need to auto-install drivers to allow it to work efficiently, preventing you from being able to use it straight away. Similarly, you should check to see if there is an updated version of your USB driver. Quite often these updates fix a number of these errors relating to hardware, making it very likely that it will resolve problems that you’re having with your USB. 

Final words

As you can see, many of the common IT problems can be solved without the assistance of an IT professional but sometimes you do need to call in extra help. And that’s when you need to be able to rely on an IT support company to be there for your business. When instructing an IT support company, we suggest ensuring you choose a company with an established reputation.  

To find out more about our IT Support Services here at FirstLine IT, or to learn how we could support your business, we welcome you to contact us today. 

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Existing customer: 01865 598 100

New business:01865 598 145