Are you having fun yet? Have you fallen in love with your computer?
I'm not going to get into debates about what kind of computer is better than any other. I'd rather approach this topic from the absolute bottom line. They can be very expensive toys / er, tools. Or they can be the best thing that's come along since the electric stove and refrigerator. It all depends on your sense of adventure and determination to take control of the power your computer holds for you.
It really doesn't matter what brand a computer is. The important thing is that we – the operators – need to remember that we're in charge. We are in control.
Most on the internet already know this, but for those who are still newbees…don't be afraid to play with your computer. Poke around, click on the buttons and see what they do. Read (gulp!), yes, read the help manuals and take time to see how things are put together and how they work. In computers there are lots of bits and pieces – each one impacts something else. Oh, you might think of it as a very large family – or a country. All the pieces are interrelated.
A computer that starts malfunctioning is like a child who is sick and just can't vocalize what is wrong or what you need to do to make things all better. With one exception, usually there's some kind of cryptic error message that doesn't make sense unless you're a techie. In cases like these, your best bet is to copy the message word-for-word and go out on the internet. Type the message into Google and start researching.
Sometimes this discovery will take you in all sorts of directions. But that's how we learn.
Let me give you an example. I bought a Toshiba Satellite some years back. I loved the machine – it was everything I wanted in a computer – except that it just wouldn't stay on. It kept overheating. When it would overheat, the machine just shut down…no messages, no errors, nothing! It was in the repair shop more than it was on my desk there for awhile. At first it required a new fan and then a new motherboard. Then I discovered that you need to carefully vacuum the dirt out of the fan (I have cats and their fur plays havoc with fans). Fiinally I reached the point where no one seemed to have any solutions to offer.
Each solution seemed to offer relief for 4-5 months. And then I was off on another search for solutions.
I learned that the overheating and subsequent shut down almost always happened when I was doing intensive work on the machine, running several very large programs at the same time. I am guilty of pushing my machine to the limit and that made sense. All those very large programs that use lots of resources were fighting with each other for attention (remember that large family of kids, I mentioned earlier?) I also noted that with various software upgrades (many of which I didn't even want in the first place, thank you very much Microsoft) the problem would get worse, until I could find ways to make the programs work in synch. So I scaled back and tried to be more conservative when using this laptop. Again the solution helped but wasn't foolproof.
Then one day, I decided to increase the RAM in this laptop. It was the one thing that no tech had suggested and no amount of searching on the internet turned up. Toshiba's Satellite – the problem child I loved so much – now works like a brand new machine. I've been working with it for a month now and haven't had a shut-down once.
That's not to say I won't have problems in the future. Machines all break down – just like cars and dishwashers and other mechanical gadgets. But I know more about the working of this machine now than most techs out there.
It was a long haul but, oh, it's a great feeling when you don't give up.
Remember, no one has all the answers. You may need to experiment with hardware, software, possible viruses and other varmits that may be nesting in your machine. Don't be afraid. Take charge! And enjoy…