Quick Advice: Troubleshoot a ‘Hanging’ Computer Screen


Here is a one quick way (of many) to troubleshoot a recurring ‘hanging’ computer screen problem in four easy steps:

  1. Turn the computer off
  2. Unplug all of the attached (USB) devices
  3. Turn the computer on
  4. If computer boots normally, plug all of your devices back in

Remember the KISS method.  Troubleshooting your computer repair problem sometimes involves boiling the issue down the lowest common denominator and working your way back to a fully functional computer from there.

Sometimes computer repair problems aren’t this easy to fix but some can be.  We’re here to help with the ones that aren’t so easy.

Tell Us: What is the most pesky computer problem you’ve ever had?

Don’t Let the Holiday Season Slow You Down

I can’t believe it’s already the end of October. The weather is getting colder, ski season is quickly approaching, and excitement is building with the holidays right around the corner! I’ve always felt that the fall is a great time of year to take care of all those pesky yearlong projects that I never got around to, especially because I know that there won’t be a spare minute once the holiday season is here. And if one of those pesky problems is computer related – Let us help! The fall is a great time to get your non-threatening (or worse) computer problems taken care of before it’s too late. Let your holiday season run a little smoother knowing that your laptop is in tip-top shape!

We’re all guilty of just living with all those little problems we’re having with our laptops. Take a look at some of the most common problems our customers complain about and let us know if you’re experiencing any of the same things. Or if you’ve got something else that’s been bothering you for a while – Post it in the comments and let us know!

The Slow Computer

I don’t think there’s anything worse than having a really slow computer and not knowing why.  Whether it’s a recent problem or something that’s been going on for a while now, a slow computer is slowing YOU down. If your computer is holding you back, there’s no excuse for not getting it fixed.  Back in July we wrote a detailed article that talked about the many reasons your computer could be slow.  It’s important to understand that a slow computer can be caused by hundreds of different problems, but at LaptopMD we have the answer to all of them. We guarantee it! Every computer is different but we’ve yet to come across one we couldn’t fix.

The Alert Box that won’t go away

Ever get an alert box that just wouldn’t go away? Maybe it’s a message you’ve been meaning to check that you get when you first turn your computer on or when you’re powering it off.  A lot of times this can be due to an improper setup, a bad settings configuration, or a problem that could be indicative of a larger, unseen issue on the computer. We can figure out why you’re getting that message and more importantly – what you can do to make it go away!

The Program that doesn’t work anymore

Maybe it’s Internet Explorer. Maybe it’s Outlook. Maybe it’s iTunes or something else entirely that you’ve downloaded and installed. If it worked once, it can work again! Don’t settle for workarounds or a substitute program that doesn’t work as well as the one you actually want to use. Bring us your laptop and we’ll help you get back up and running with the software you want!

These are only a couple common problems and advice on how to deal with them.  What are some other common computer problems we could give you advice on?  Make sure your digital lifestyle doesn’t suffer this holiday season!

Back To School Technology Gadgets

The end of August is here and that means that it’s ‘back to school’ for parents and students alike!  LaptopMD has pulled together some resources that will help you pick the right gadgets and technology to put you on a path to success.

According to the National Retail Foundation Americans will spend a whopping $55 billion dollars on back-to-school supplies this year.  The bulk of that sum is spent on technology.

From iPads to laptops and everything in between, technology has become a must for most students, especially those heading of to college. Here is a quick reference guide to some awesome back to school supplies and technology gadgets for every need.

The iPad is becoming a great tool for students. Its long battery life and textbook compatibility is making it the hottest tool for back to school. Over 10,000 of the most widely adopted college textbooks are now available for the iPad via CourseSmart. iPad pilot programs are popping up at universities all over the U.S. to see how it can be implemented in the classroom. Some popular and useful apps for students are listed below.

iStudiez Pro – Student Planner
Cram – Study Tool w/Flashcards & Tests
Grades – Grade Course Calculator
Pi83 – Only $0.99 for a identical Texas Instruments Ti83 graphic calculator

The new Kindle is completely redesigned with two great price options of $139 and $189. The $139 version only works with WiFi while the $189 version includes free 3G wireless internet. The new design makes the e-reader lighter, smaller, and sleeker while still maintaining the same screen size and even better battery life. Over 670,000 books are now available on the kindle so your class reading list should definitely be covered. Plus expect to pay $9.99 or less for each title which will save you considerably versus the college bookstore. There is also a growing list of textbooks available on the kindle which will surely alleviate the stress of lugging huge textbooks around campus. You can search the Kindle Textbook store online to see if your titles are available.

Check out this great slideshow for some incredible and useful back to school gadgets. One item is the Clocky, which is a alarm clock on wheels. You’re sure to be on time to class since the clock rolls of your night stand when its activated. The list also includes $20 Altec Lansing portable laptop speakers with no A/C power needed. You’ll also find great gadgets like pocket projectors and multi function desk lamps.

Don’t forget that LaptopMD offers all college students a 10% discount on repair work! We know that your laptop and/or iPhone are essential for college survival and we want to be there to help.  We can work with you to recover your data from your hard drive so you don’t miss a beat in your studies.  We can also repair spill-damaged keyboards and bring your laptop or computer back to full working order.

Troubleshooting Laptop Motherboard and CPU Problems

Diagnose and Repair Laptop Motherboard and CPU problemsWe wanted to give you an inside look, today, at how you can go about troubleshooting laptop motherboard and CPU problems. Many times a computer may stop working or it may function abnormally if there is a problem with your motherboard and/or CPU. A computer’s motherboard is best described as the central nervous system of the computer. Everything from your laptop to your desktop computer to your smartphone has a motherboard of sort. The motherboard connects the various hardware pieces together. The CPU, or the Central Processing Unit, is the piece of hardware where most of the computer’s processing work is done. This might be described as the brain of the computer.

Combined together, the motherboard and CPU are at the root of a lot of problems that can occur with your laptop and where we might look first if you bring in your laptop for repair. Slow computer speeds, system crashes, and other hardware problems can be a result of a malfunctioning motherboard or CPU. Remember that our certified laptop and computer repair engineers are trained to diagnose these specific types of problems. We can help you if you don’t where to begin. Contact us today about any problems you might be having with your laptop or computer. Continue reading

How To Replace a Keyboard Key On Your Own

Sometimes keys fall off of keyboards due to age or excessive wear.  If one or more keys fall or break off of your keyboard, we have keyboard repair tips for you!  You can most likely fix your keyboard on your own without having to buy a new one.  There are no universal guidelines since all keyboards are different but here is a general step-by-step guide on how to put back a missing key back onto the keyboard.

Replace a Keyboard Key On Your Own

Step 1:

Remove the work key Form Key so that only the cover comes off, leaving the inside intact. This will help you to know exactly how the broken key should be put back.

Broken keyboard key, fix keyboard key, how to take out keyboard keys Inner and Outer Retainer, Rubber Gasket, Keyboard Keys

Step 2:

Identify the Key Retainers (small plastic parts) that hold the rubber gasket in place.  Most likely there will be two pieces that interlock together and snap in place at four different points. Use tweezers to gently lift the retainers up and make sure you take into account how they link and where they snap together.

keyboard key retainers, removing retainers using tweezersseparating internal and external retainers in keyboard keys

Step 3:

Similarly, use tweezers to unsnap the retainers you need to replace the rubber gasket underneath. Start by separating the outer retainer from inner retainer, one side at a time. Finish removing the final gasket by softly pulling it out with your fingers.

Removing Key Retainers using Tweezers

Step 4:

Assemble the plastic key retainers to reassemble the working key if the retainers are being replaced. If the rubber gasket needs replacing, remove the worn piece and replace it with a new one.

You can buy individual keys or rubber gaskets on eBay or Amazon.

Step 5:

Push the key retainers gently over the rubber gasket until it snaps into proper place on the keyboard. Follow the reverse procedure starting with the retainers, link them together, snapping one end in at a time, sliding the retainers over the gasket and then snapping the other end onto the keyboard base.

Step 6:

Snap the key cover back on. Gently push until you feel the key cover snap into place.

See The Repair Experts

If you face any problems replacing the keys on your keyboard, LaptopMD is always here to help you.

Computer Cleaning Tips

Computer Cleaning Tips

Dusty laptops/computers tend to overheat and as a result they may restart automatically or not function properly.   When a lot of dust and dirt builds up inside the computer, the computer will stop functioning properly and may need to be taken in for a ‘repair’ job where technicians must take the computer apart and perform a deep clean to get the computer to run properly again.  As preventive maintenance, here are some tips on how to clean your computer, keep it functioning and running safely, and avoid taking it in to the repair shop.

Computer Cleaning MaterialsCan of Compresses air, cotton buds, cloth

  • 1 Can of Compressed Air
  • A Few Cotton Balls
  • 1 Soft Cloth
  • Cleaning Fluid

Before Cleaning

Make sure your computer is turned off and unplugged before you start cleaning your computer.  This ensures that no part of the computer is harmed as you clean it.

Steps to Clean Individual Components

  1. Blow away the excess surface dust with a can of compressed air.
  2. To clean the keyboard, use cotton balls to remove large particles of dust between the keys, then blow away smaller dust particles with the can of compressed air.
  3. Wipe the surface of the keys with a damp cloth but ensure that the cloth is not excessively damp as fluid can damage the computer’s keyboard.
  4. Put a small amount of cleaning fluid on cloth and gently clean the screen.  Make sure you don’t apply pressure while cleaning the computer screen.
  5. To clean the ports on your computer, carefully wipe the inside of each port with cotton balls and then spray each of them with compressed air.
  6. To clean the computer’s fan, hold it and spray it with compressed air.  If you don’t hold it, the air will cause it to spin and could break it by making it spin faster.
  7. To clean the DVD or CD Drive on your computer, open it and spray the compressed air inside.

Speeding Up Your Slow Computer

Too Desktop Icons, How to remove desktop icons and make your computer run faster.
What makes your computer slow ?

Often times you might ask yourself why your computer is running slow.  When people bring in their computers and laptops for repair this is one of our most often asked questions.  Read below for common problems that will cause your computer to run slow and easy solutions to speed your computer up.

What makes your PC run slow?

  • Constantly working with a lot of files (moving, copying, deleting) will slow down your computer and use computer processes that are reserved for other functions.
  • Similarly, keeping several computer programs open at once can bog down system resources.  This is true, especially for certain programs that perform higher end functions, such as image manipulation programs – like Adobe Photoshop, movie editing programs, and design programs.  Video game programs can also slow down your computer system.
  • The computer’s processor speed is a factor in many cases.  Each computer is limited by its hardware (the processor) to the number of simultaneous functions it can perform.  If you are running or editing multiple programs or files, as described above, your processor will get bogged down and not be able to perform the needed tasks.  Your computer may simply have an outdated processor or the tasks you need to perform may outpace the ability of your computer’s processor.  The computer engineers at LaptopMD can look at your computer and, based on your needs, we can recommend a new computer processor which will help you perform at the most efficient level.
  • Related to processor speed and multiple computer processes, your computer speed can be affected by the computer’s RAM or the amount of available memory available to your computer.  All programs and tasks take a certain amount of memory while in use.  The amount of RAM can be increased in most computer models to allow for more user activity on the computer.
  • Windows, program, and other computer animations can also slow down your computer.  Playing video games, watching videos online and running programs with intense animation may take a lot of processing speed and use large amounts of RAM.  Animation is a common problem that can significantly slow your PC down.
  • Cookies, registry processes, and an internet browser’s cache are information files stored by programs to remember internet preferences, program settings, and other temporary files.  Over a period of time, these can accumulate and slow your computer down.  To prevent the cache, cookies, and registry processes from slowing down your computer see our solutions section, after the jump (click the ‘Read the rest of this entry’ link below).

All of these problems can be remedied either by modifying your computer’s hardware, talking with a computer expert (at LaptopMD), or by reviewing our easy solutions section after the jump (click the ‘Read the rest of this entry’ link below).  Reply in the comments with any questions you might have and we’ll help you out!

Continue reading