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Quick tips for handling your own family’s nightmare laptop

4 Mins read

There’s no warding off it. If you are domestic for the holidays, traveling mother and father or relatives, eventually they will mention five phrases so one can twist your stomach into knots. You may’ve idea approximately them inside the vehicle or on the plane ride domestic and damaged out into a chilly sweat. But there may be just no keeping off it: each holiday go-to, a person will say, “Can you restore the laptop?” and you will haven’t any desire but say yes. Like the Person Who Knows Computers, that is your present and miles your curse. Before you hyperventilate over the idea of a laptop blanketed in 13 duplicated shortcuts to or spyware that has seemingly been invited to make itself at home in the notifications tray, take a deep breath. Then examine our cheat sheet for five truthful pointers to help you smooth up a troubled laptop and make it in shape for human use again.

There’s no troubleshooting trauma worse than seeking to offer tech assistance over the telephone as a person describes what software or menu or blunders message they are searching for on their display. At that moment, you’re, in reality, powerless. Thankfully, that is the best troubleshooting scenario to solve, and if you clear it, the percentage of you having to do something during the vacation is lower quite. Because yr-round, instead of attempting to walk a person via a solution, you may do it yourself. TeamViewer is a godsend.


Install the unfastened version of TeamViewer on the afflicted PC and explain what it is: far-flung computing device software on the way to can help you log in remotely and take manage. Explain no person else could try this (including the authorities!) so long as they do not pass sharing the ID code and password that is prominently displayed while you open the program. Next time trouble moves, ask whoever wishes your assistance to extend TeamViewer, give you that code, and cross-study an e-book. You’ve got the conn.

Hopefully, that misbehaving PC isn’t complete with actually nasty stuff, but you by no means realize it. That’s why it’s an excellent idea to play it safe and run Malwarebytes, a reliable loose program for figuring out spyware and malware in a good way that only takes a few minutes to run. Do a test and cast off anything unseemly. Annoyingly, more current versions of Malwarebytes like and up with Windows and begin nagging you to upgrade to top class after a few weeks, and you don’t need to saddle all and sundry with that. So you have options: uninstall Malwarebytes when you run it, or properly click on the icon inside the gadget tray and disable Start with Windows. That has to preserve parents’ security from each day’s popups.

Every 12 months, I have to (attempt to) train my parents approximately the idea of digital storage space because every available year, they run out. Chances are, if your mother and father face equal trouble, they’re inexperienced in preserving a tidy report gadget. Exactly what is taking on space and where it’s at is its massive challenge. Save yourself a problem and discover the five folders of excessive-res fish snapshots your dad, by chance, copy-pasted ten instances over right away with WinDirStat. This great device scans, drives, and parses where your facts are allocated in an explorable folder structure with accompanying statistics allocation stats and beautiful blocks of color. If your parents can parent between large things and small matters, they could probably discern WinDirStat with enough persistence.

One final tip: Be certain to hide the desktop icon, so your mom doesn’t call you within midnight asking about the new virus on the pc.’ The chances are that whoever’s having PC troubles in your family isn’t always doing hardcore overclocking. Suppose their PC is shutting down immediately, jogging particularly loud or hot. In that case, the first issue to do (apart from a virus test) is open the case and find out when it changed into final cleaned, as there is an excellent danger they’re just overheating because the internal of the case looks as if Las Vegas in Blade Runner 2049. If you need to show off, arrive with a can of compressed air. If you preserve it in a belt holster, you’ll appear specifically cool, prepared to draw short and blast the dust out of its boots.

Or take the aspect out of doors and blow the dust out with a fan or windbags. Remember now not to inhale! Spotty wireless is a nightmare to diagnose. Your circle of relatives net kind of works, but, huh, bizarre, Netflix gives out once in a while, or the download velocity is shallow, but uploading looks every day when you look at it on speed test. Internet. It’s hard to inform if you’re getting the shitty provider, your router sucks, or substances (mirrors, metallic) or appliances (garage door opener, microwave, hi-fi speakers, or ghosts of lifeless household) are interfering with the signal.

Before you embark on the nightmare odyssey of phoning your mother and father’s ISP, there may be one default placing you can tinker with as a first step: your router’s broadcast channel. The concept is that while your devices might receive a sign out of your router, they could send statistics on a crowded track. All Wi-Fi channels in the 2.4GHz band have some overlap… except channels 1, 6, and 11. Those are the magic numbers about troubleshooting. Log into your router (commonly “” on your deal with bar—say that you’ve hacked into it, it will provoke your mother), and change among any of these three Wi-Fi channels to see if it improves the signal. If you want to head season, look at our How-To Geek’s guide to scanning Wi-Fi frequencies to discover the only this is least occupied. You can do that easily with a laptop or smartphone. If, despite everything that, your Wi-Fi still sucks properly, you’ve eliminated one feasible purpose in only some minutes. Also, at the same time as you’re in the router, consider changing its login from the default “admin” and “password,” just in case.

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