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10 Ways to Know Whether You Need Laptop Repair
March 18, 2019
Is your laptop showing error messages, loading programs slowly, or shutting down unexpectedly?
While there could be a number of reasons why this is happening, some of those reasons are more serious than others. The most common red flags that lead to laptop repair include:
- The battery won’t charge
- Laptop shuts down unexpectedly
- Blue screen of death
- Programs start or run slowly
- Laptop becomes hot to the touch
- Laptop’s fan is noisy
- WiFi or Bluetooth connection issues
- Keyboard becomes unresponsive
- Display/screen is cracked or broken
- Laptop attacked by virus or malware
Not all of these issues will require a professional to complete the laptop repairs as some fixes can be done at home.
Depending on the age, model, and operating system of your laptop, you have several options to diagnose your issues and figure out the next steps to get your laptop working well again.
Here are the most common issues that may require repair:
1. The battery won’t charge
If your laptop won’t hold a charge, won’t charge fully, or won’t charge at all, you could need a new battery. Battery life for a laptop is around two to four years, although how you use and charge it will determine its useful life.
If it’s nearing the end of its life, your operating system may warn you with a red “X” over your battery icon in your tools tray. If not, you can use a third-party program to see what capacity your battery has left.
This repair is among the simplest for most laptops and only costs as much as a replacement battery, although a few laptop models may not let you open the battery compartment and will require you to ship the laptop to the manufacturer for repair.
One other reason the battery won’t charge is that your charging cord is not working. This is an easy replacement.
If the indicator light doesn’t come on when you connect your charger to your laptop or it does but only when you hold the charger at a particular angle, you could also have a broken laptop charging port.
Charging port repairs do require you to have an expert open your laptop and make the repairs internally, but it is usually a quick job for them so parts and labor costs should be reasonable.
2. Shutting down unexpectedly
If your laptop simply turns off in the middle of a task, it could be a battery issue. Check to be sure your laptop is plugged in and charging, then turn it on after it’s had some time to recharge.
It may also be a screen error. If you hear your computer running but there is nothing on your monitor, restart your laptop and see if it happens again. If you’ve discovered it isn’t any of these issues, you may have a hard drive failure. In most cases, this is a symptom of a larger, more complicated problem.
Make a backup of the data and programs on your laptop as soon as possible and take the laptop to a professional for inspection and laptop repair service before you lose what’s stored on your device.
3. Blue screen of death
Windows-based operating systems have measures in place that will shut down your computer before major issues happen, such as a complete breakdown of your hard drive. It will usually warn you by showing a blue screen with an error message.
Because these error messages are somewhat ominous and can warn you that it’s a major issue with your operating system, hard drive, or computer components, it has been dubbed the “blue screen of death.” While it can happen once or twice without consequence, it’s typically the sign of a larger issue.
Read the error message in full when this happens and use the Windows-based troubleshooting software that pops up on the blue screen to perform a system recovery or restore it to an earlier point.
If this doesn’t resolve your issue, you may need to reinstall the Windows software, but the troubleshooter should walk you through the next steps to figure out what exactly is happening and how to handle it.
4. Programs starting or running slowly
When is the last time you ran basic maintenance on your laptop? If you’re like most people, it’s been too long. Go to the Windows search bar or ask Cortana about “system maintenance.” You’ll be prompted to perform a set of tasks right away or schedule them for later.
Optimize hard drive
These include disc optimization tasks, which will free up space on your hard drive and store your files more efficiently. You can also try this list of ways to tune up your PC - it works for laptops as well as desktops.
Also, try to pinpoint what programs are giving you issues. If you only experience lag when using a web browser, you may need to update the browser to the most recent version, or you could have too many cookies and temporary files stored on your laptop.
Perform a clean-up of these unnecessary files, then restart your computer.
Delete temporary files
Finally, make sure your desktop is clear of the dozens of files and folders that accumulate there, because this uses precious memory and can really slow your laptop down.
Move them to the documents, photos, or videos folders, or delete them altogether. If these fixes don’t work, it’s time to take your laptop to a computer repair pro.
5. Laptop getting hot
All laptops get a little warm by design, and it’s advised that you don’t use them directly on your lap. If you are using a lap desk or other safe surface and you can still feel the heat, take a moment to cool down your laptop by turning it off, disconnecting the power cord, and performing a quick check.
- Allow 10 minutes for the laptop to cool
- Open the battery compartment
- If the battery is extremely hot, it may be time to replace it
- It could also be that the vents have become clogged so use a dusting cloth to wipe these off
- Make sure you are using your laptop on a hard, flat surface
- Consider investing in a cooling pad
- Avoid using it on soft bedding, a pillow, or anything that restricts airflow
If your laptop is still getting too warm for comfort after making these changes, it’s time to consult an expert for laptop computer repair.
6. Laptop becoming noisy
Similar to the heating problem, this could be a symptom of a clogged or dirty fan, blocked vents, or build up inside the computer. Go through the same process as for the heating issue above and see if you can pinpoint the source of the noise.
- Is it a fan? This would be an intermittent noise issue
- Is it the DVD-ROM drive? Eject the drive drawer and see if it stops
- Could it be the hard-drive itself? Clicking or cracking noises could mean your hard drive is failing
If you can’t diagnose the noise problem on your own, don’t hesitate to take it to a computer repair professional.
Except for the DVD-drive error, which can sometimes be solved by removing the DVD and using a DVD lens cleaning product, most of these problems will require professional diagnosis and repair.
7. WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity issues
Does your internet keep dropping while you’re using your laptop? Are you continually needing to find your home network or re-input the network key? Does your Bluetooth speaker not recognize your laptop?
Annoying internet or network issues can put a damper on your productivity, but they don’t always mean you have serious problems.
Before going in for laptop service and repair, try troubleshooting your wireless router and ensuring it’s not a problem with your network. Other devices shouldn’t be able to connect if it’s a wireless problem.
If other devices are working properly, use your laptop’s “identify and repair network problems” feature by asking Cortana or searching in the start bar on your laptop.
You’ll be guided through a repair sequence that may restart your computer’s wireless adapter or ask you to make changes to your settings. If this doesn’t fix your problem, you will be prompted to take your laptop in for repair.
8. Keyboard unresponsive
If your laptop doesn’t sense your typing, several things could be to blame. First, see if it’s only numbers that aren’t working because pressing the “num lock” key accidentally may keep you from using the keypad. Press it again to resume numerical input.
Dirt and dust
Next, see if dirt or dust is the problem. Use a can of compressed air to clean between the keys. You can also check individual “problem” keys by gently lifting the keys to pop the button cover off.
Not all keyboards have removable key covers, so don’t do this if your keyboard buttons aren’t designed this way. Check for debris and use a dry cotton swab or compressed air to remove dirt. Replace the key cover.
If you have any visibly damaged keys or the cleaning remedies don’t work, see if your keyboard has been deactivated. Check your “keyboard status” through Cortana or your search bar.
It should tell you if your keyboard driver is connected and working. If the status shows problems, contact a computer repair professional near you.
9. Screen cracked, blurry, or pixelated
Laptop screen repair is big business, in part because it’s one of the very few things that is difficult for consumers to DIY.
Doing almost any kind of fix on your screen can void the manufacturer’s warranty, and cracked or broken screens are actually quite sharp and can injure someone who isn’t experienced in fixing them.
Almost every laptop screen repair process requires you to crack open your laptop, using specialty electronics tools and a keen eye, so it’s recommended that you leave screen issues to the professionals.
If you really want to try it yourself, read here for instructions on what to do with a broken laptop screen from Tech Takes.
10. Computer virus or malware attack
If your computer is running unusually slowly, is plagued with pop-ups, has redirected you to questionable sites, or simply won’t stay turned on, you could have a virus or malware problem.
- First, restart your laptop by accessing the Update and security screen through Cortana or the search box.
- Click on “Recovery” and then “Advanced Startup.” You’ll have the option of rebooting in Safe Mode.
- After your computer is on again, you’ll notice that some of your programs are missing or appear strange.
- Navigate to your antivirus software, and run an update to make sure your detection tools are all in working order.
- Run a full system scan, which could take several hours to complete.
- After it is finished, restart your computer normally and perform the quick version of a scan.
You should be notified if any malicious files have been found, and your computer should work normally at this time. Immediately back up important files and create a restore point that you can come back to if trouble strikes again.
Always keep your antivirus software updated, at least weekly. New bugs come out all the time, though, so nightly updates are recommended and can be done while you’re asleep and not using your computer.
Do you need laptop repair?
Today’s laptops are made to guess what the user wants to do intuitively, and that includes solving issues with the device itself. Thanks to the easy-to-use troubleshooting tools on most Windows laptops, getting answers usually happens at the click of a button.
Your laptop can often guide you through the process of computer laptop repair, including software bugs and basic PC monitoring and maintenance. It will also give you a record of the issue at hand, arming you with a trail of evidence you can provide to a laptop repair professional if they ask what’s been going wrong. Sometimes, error logs and messages are the best way to track down those hard-to-diagnose issues.
For serious malfunctions, including hardware failure and accidental water or impact damage, consulting a professional well-versed in HP laptop repair as soon as the incident happens is best. Even if your computer is beyond the initial warranty or coverage period, a simple call can tell you what the common repairs may be and the cost to have them done.
It could be quite affordable if handled promptly before other, more-costly issues arise. If you can’t find a professional that lives close, many will offer to have you send in your laptop and return it when finished, sometimes for a discount or at a cost included in the repair fee.
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About the Author: Linsey Knerl is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Linsey is a Midwest-based author, public speaker, and member of the ASJA. She has a passion for helping consumers and small business owners do more with their resources via the latest tech solutions.