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workIf there's one thing I can't stand it's inanimate objects that refuse to cooperate!  Computers can often times drive you to the brink of insanity. Even if you've kept up with your preventative maintenance, problems may still arise for any number of reasons.

Sometimes a conflict may arise after new hardware or software is installed. You'll probably figure that one out when you start or restart your computer and it either goes nowhere past the welcome screen or opens Windows in safe mode. Safe mode is sort of a diagnostic mode where only the necessary system files load up with Windows, not all of the device drivers and such that normally load.  If you do have a conflict you can try correcting the issue in Safe Mode.

Sometimes small issues can be cleared up by simply restarting your computer.  There's no guarantee this will work but it's worth trying before you get any deeper into troubleshooting your computer.

Remember that your computer is nothing but a bunch of electronic parts which, over time, can burn out. For example, If one of the fans in your system stops working the electronic components can overheat and burn out. On the other hand, a component can burn out simply from age. Not all parts used in a computer are equal. In other words, you and I may have the exact same computer but while some component in mine may burn out in 3 years, that same component in yours may last 5. That difference can be caused by use, environment, factory defect, or it may just be that one simply runs its course faster than the other (sort of like people).

Other than components the same thing can happen to your hard drive. I have a computer with a hard drive that's been going for over ten years.  I also have a newer computer with a hard drive that's just about five years old that I just had to replace.  Again, not all parts, even those that are the same part, same manufacturer, are created equal. 
Note:  It is always a good idea to backup your files periodically onto a disk, flash drive, or some other storage device in case something like this happens to you.  In a matter of a second you could lose every file, letter, and picture you have saved on your computer if you haven't made a copy of it somewhere.

If you do run into issues with your computer, try a little troubleshooting on your own. If by chance you know what it is but don't want to attempt a fix, know what it is but can't fix it, or haven't the slightest idea what it is, take it to a pro.

It also might be a good idea to keep some kind of computer journal so whenever you install new hardware or software or make any big changes in your system you can record the date and what you did. Then, if any issues arise, you may have a place to start in figuring out what the issue is.

Also, DO NOT LIE to the tech if you call for help or take your computer to a pro.  You're not saving yourself from being embarrassed about the stupid thing you did to the computer, you're only prolonging the repair process.  Once the problem is fixed, the person working on your computer (or talking you through it) will likely figure out what you did anyway so save yourself the time and fess up!

The first rule of troubleshooting is to start with the easiest solution and work toward the hardest.  In other words, if the picture on your monitor doesn't come on you don't go opening up your computer case or (worse) your monitor.  You would first check to make sure it's plugged in. 

A quick note about ESD
It is important to take precautions when working inside a computer case.  Not only to keep you from being electrocuted, but also to keep from adding to your computer issues by blowing out the system with ESD (Electrostatic Discharge).  It takes about 10 times less static electricity to blow out computer components than it does for you to feel a shock.  It is suggested that if you work inside a computer case you use a mat or wrist strap but if you don't have that equipment you can still do what needs to be done, you just need to be even more careful.
~  Try not to work on carpet.  Work somewhere clean, dry, and comfortable.
~  Unplug the computer and open the case.
~  Before you jump in there, push the power button on your computer case for about 5 seconds.  You may (or may not) hear a slight noise or see the LCDs on your motherboard light up just for a second.  You do this because your system holds a bit of electricity in it even when you've unplugged it.  Holding down the power button with the computer unplugged discharges any electricity lingering in the system.
~  Now touch the metal frame of the computer case to discharge any static electricity you may have.
*** Any time you plug back in to check something, remember DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING INSIDE WHILE THE PC IS PLUGGED IN.  Remember to unplug and go back through the steps above.  Safety First!