Common PC Hardware Problems

by Lita McLeary

PCs in general are built to last for a long time because all of the sensitive components and hardware are housed inside a casing that protects them from dust and other harsh elements. However, some common PC hardware problems occur despite the protection. It is important to be able to identify and solve some of the most common PC problems because a dysfunctional computer may mean hours of lost work and revenue.

Significance

As you use your computer, you may bump into several hardware problems that may hinder your productivity. Some problems are easy to deal with, but others are a lot tougher to fix. If you are an amateur PC user, you may find it difficult to open the PC and check the internal components without risking more damage.

Types

Peripheral problems may include mice, keyboards, printers and any other devices plugged into the front or back of the unit. Motherboard-related problems include loose devices such as the video card, memory chips or CPU that may cause the PC to not run properly or not boot at all. Hard-drive problems and memory issues are common and can range from minor to serious, depending on what caused the damage.

Identification

Peripheral problems are easy to identify. If an external device (such as mouse or keyboard) fails to work properly, the problem may be related to the external device itself or a loosely plugged device. When you try to boot your PC and it does not load the operating system but directs you to the BIOS instead, the problem probably lies on the motherboard. Sometimes your computer may show the initial boot screen but will fail to boot because of a memory error. A defective hard drive may also cause your PC not to boot at all.

Solutions

Delicate components like video cards, cables and peripheral devices connected to the motherboard may eventually loosen over a long period of continued computer use. Tightening loosely plugged cords and other internal or external devices may initially solve the problem. A memory error occurs when the memory chip isn't supported by your motherboard or if the memory is simply faulty. Consult your motherboard's manual to see what memory is supported and crosscheck by looking at the sticker on your RAM. If you are uncertain whether it is supported, try inserting it in a different slot. Hard-drive damage may make it difficult to recover your saved data and may require a hard disk replacement if the damage was severe. Get a hard-drive problem fixed as soon as it is detected to avoid data loss. The easiest solution is to clear some hard-disk space. If the problem is too difficult for you to comprehend, seek the help of a licensed computer technician.

Considerations

Just because there is a malfunction in the hardware doesn't mean that it is impossible to repair. Some hardware problems can be easily fixed. The only time solutions are unavailable is when physical damage takes place where the only way to fix the problem is by replacing the damaged unit with a fresh one.

About the Author

Lita McLeary started writing professionally for the "Philippine Inquirer" in 1989, a daily national newspaper. She has written for private online clients for over seven years. At present, she writes full-time for various websites. McLeary holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal arts from the University of the Philippines.