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January 2016: You’re right in the middle of something and your computer starts acting up. Is it the app you’re working in or your device that’s the problem? How can you tell?

Most problems are software problems. Some are definitely hardware problems. And some can be caused by one of the other. This chart lists 16 of the most common problems — knowing where to start troubleshooting can save you lots of time. And if you need to call in the cavalry, you’ll know which customer service department to call!

Note: Of course, there are exceptions to the rule.

Computer is slow Could be malware, too many start-up items (Windows) or build up of temporary files Could be hard drive is fragmented or starting to fail, not enough RAM or an old CPU
Computer keeps restarting Could be automatic OS update problem, adware, virus or other malware Could be graphics card, motherboard or network card drivers
Keyboard, mouse, printer or other peripherals aren’t working properly Could be driver issues Could be computer port issues or peripheral component issues
Peripheral commands interpreted incorrectly
App command not working Software if it’s happening in only one app Hardware if it’s happening in more than one app
Internet is slow Could be an app in background is consuming the bandwidth Could be hard disk failing
Downloads take forever
Computer freezes
Attachments won’t open
PC blue screen of death (although it could be your drivers)
Pop-up ads
Corrupt files or long delays accessing files
Google performing oddly
Sudden shut off…or sudden anything weird
Graphical errors like your computer screen is jumbled
Unusual noises


If you’re lucky, your problem is a software problem that can be easily resolved by running a repair utility or uninstalling and reinstalling. To keep problems away, keep your software updated. Also keep your computer clean and in good shape, paying attention when things seem weird so you can start troubleshooting before it ruins your day. If you get a new computer and it’s having problems — quick, trade it in while you still can!

And if your company works with Leapfrog, call our super-smart, friendly Help Desk frogs. They’ll figure everything out for you and even fix it remotely.

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