Quick Tech Fix

practical-help-graphic-80802020-ruleQuick Tech Fix: a reader asks…

I remember reading somewhere on your website, but I can’t find it. Can you tell me the quickest and easiest way to fix my computer, smartphone or tablet? Or any other electronic device.

Yes, I previously outlined my 80/80/20/20 rule in my article: Windows PC Fixes. Let me give you a slightly different version. Here’s what you should try anytime you have a problem with your technology:

male-t-shirt-with-saying-first-restart-your-computerThe first thing you should try is to restart the computer or device. That includes a typical computer shut down and start up routine, unplugging a device (from electrical power), waiting a few seconds and then plugging it back in, pulling out the batteries from a device, and putting in new ones, or in some other way forcing a shutdown.

For example, a frozen iPhone/iPad can be forcibly shut down by holding both the power and the home buttons at the same time. Once it’s shut down, release the buttons and then press the power button to turn it back on. Doing a restart/repower will solve about 80% of all problems with your consumer technology. Even with Blackberries, a handy technique called “The Battery Pop” would fix so many problems.


Windows-7-Windows-UpdateIf the above doesn’t fix the problem, then the second thing you should try is to update the computer, software, firmware, or driver(s) for the computer or device. Run Windows Update on your PC, visit the Updates tab on the App Store on your Mac, and/or update whatever you can on the computer or device. This solves another 16% of all problems with your consumer technology.

That’s it!

The way I explain this is that 80% of all technology problems are solved by the first task above. That leaves 20%, and 80% of that remainder can be solved by the second task above. The remaining 20% of that is really only 4% of all computer problems that can’t be solved by the above two tasks. So you should certainly try those before you call for help. After all, any service technician is going to try those first before they do anything else. Why pay for a service technician when you can possibly solve the problem yourself?

After a couple of decades helping thousands of folks, this rule has held up and proven true for me so many times that it’s become second nature for me, and I hope it becomes second nature for you too. That will help you become more self-reliant with your technology, and who knows, someone else might ask you for help!


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