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5 basic troubleshooting steps to fix Windows 10 problems

A PC can run into all sorts of problems and they may have a specific cause, or a general one. You will likely have to Google the symptoms to find out what’s wrong but there are a few things you should always, always try before anything else. These are basic troubleshooting steps to fix Windows 10 problems that will, in many cases, resolve most problems.

Restart system

Whatever is ailing your system might be fixed by restarting it. Many a times people have posted on help forums with a very specific problem and have had various solutions suggested to them by others only to end up fixing everything with a system restart. Never underestimate this step and always try it first.

Run troubleshooter

Things break and on Windows 10, they tend to break often. There are certain components on the OS that tend to create more trouble than others which is why there’s a troubleshooting app built-in on Windows 10. You can run it for whatever type of problem you’re having.

Open the Settings app and go to the Update & Security group of settings. Select the Troubleshoot tab and scroll down to the items that you can run the troubleshooter for. Pick whatever type of problem you’re having and apply any fixes that the troubleshooter finds.

Edit start up items

A startup item can often be the cause of a problem. It may not appear immediately i.e., you may only experience the problem a few minutes after you’ve booted to your desktop. This is because Windows 10 doesn’t start everything up at once. It does so sequentially so that the system isn’t immediately overburdened with all the processes, system or otherwise, that need to start.

It’s possible that one of your startup items is causing problems. To fix this, you should disable all startup items and reboot your system. If the problem fixes itself, it’s likely being caused by an item that runs at start up. Slowly enable the items again, one at a time until the problem resurfaces.

To enable and disable startup items, open the Task Manager and go to the Startup tab, select an item, and click the Disable/Enable button at the bottom right.

Disconnect hardware

Hardware can cause trouble on any system and often, there aren’t many indications as to when hardware is failing. You should definitely run a health check on your SSD, but if you have any external hardware attached to your system that you can work without, remove it and check if the problem goes away. Often, external drives can cause problems especially if they have errors that need to be fixed.

Check/Update drivers

Windows 10 likes to update drivers. The latest version of the OS gives users more control over how the updates are installed but that doesn’t mean you’ll never be force-updated to a new driver.

It is always worth checking if there’s a driver update available for the main components on your system; Network drivers, GPU or graphics drivers, Bluetooth drivers, audio drivers, and even a BIOS update.

If you’ve recently received a driver update, it may be the cause behind your problems. Roll it back if you can, or look online for the previous version. You can check for driver  updates from the Device Manager. Search for Device Manager. Expand the various groups of devices. Right-click a device, and select the Update Driver option.

Bonus item: Run sfc scan

Running a system file scan is often considered a basic troubleshooting step. It’s easy to run the scan but reading the log isn’t as easy which is why we can’t put it under basic things to try. That said, if the above five steps don’t fix the problem, this should be your go-to solution.

Open Command Prompt with admin rights, and enter the following. When the command is finished, it will output a log file that will show you errors it may have found with your file system. Go through the log, and try and resolve as many of them as you can. The command itself will also try and fix the problems that it can fix.

sfc /scannow

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