How To Troubleshoot A Laptop

Almost everyone who works remotely or works from home uses a laptop but what do you do when that laptop isn’t performing as it should. 

We’ve found the most common issues you’re likely to face and we’ve worked out what to do about them too. Here’s what you need to know.


The Most Common Issues Facing Laptops (And What To Do About Them)


Laptop Won’t Start

Laptop Won’t Start

This is probably the most common issue with a laptop and it can be absolutely panic inducing. Of course, if you’ve got a cloud backup, then you won’t be quite as panicked. 

So, make sure that you do, talk to your boss or your IT department to get this arranged as it can save the company a fortune too. 


Power Source Problems

Yes, we know, you’re not an idiot and you definitely left the laptop plugged in, right? 

Well, do yourself a favor and check it anyway, sometimes plugs can gradually be walked out of the socket and sometimes we really did forget to plug it in. 

Then check that the battery is properly placed in the battery compartment. 

If it is? Take it out. Then see if the laptop works running on AC only. If it does, the battery needs to be replaced.

If you have a second battery, give that a try too. 

You might also want to look at the power brick and make sure you have the right cord for the brick plugged into it – it’s easy to mix these cords up and they don’t all deliver enough power to run a laptop. 


Check Your Power Lamps

Check Your Power Lamps

When you turn the laptop on, does the power lamp turn on? If it does, this can mean that the problem is not with your power supply or battery but rather with the hardware itself.

If your laptop was designed to show which power source it’s using (AC or battery), then it’s worth checking both lights. 

If the AC light goes on but the battery light won’t? The odds are good that the battery is the problem. 

And if the battery light goes on but the AC light won’t? The odds are good that the problem is with your power brick or the cables running to it. 


Check The Display

It’s also possible that you have power but the display isn’t working properly, if your power lights are on – then push the Caps Lock Key, if the Caps Lock light comes on – then your display is probably the issue. 

At this point, you want to check your brightness controls if the brightness level is at a minimum, the screen might seem dark when it’s really not. 

Move the laptop out of direct sunlight and check in a darker area. 

Still no good? Then plug an external monitor into the laptop, if that works, you know the issue is with your laptop’s display. 

Unfortunately, display problems are going to need the laptop vendor to fix them. 


Call For Outside Help

Call For Outside Help

If by now you’ve exhausted all your options, it’s time to call either your IT helpdesk or the people you bought your laptop from and get them to take a look at it. 

Unfortunately, sometimes, a laptop problem can’t be fixed by the user and you need to get an expert to take a look at it.

It would take too long for you to learn how to diagnose and fix the problem and frankly, it’s not your job. We just hope you had that cloud backup ready. 


Windows Won’t Finish Booting

If your laptop starts to boot but won’t finish booting, then the problem is usually something to do with the Windows installation that you’re running. 

If you have a recovery disc to hand and you really should (make one today if you haven’t already) then you may be able to complete the boot sequence using that recovery disc.

You will need to enter your computer’s BIOS (turn it on and hold F2, F10 and Del) and then set the drive to your first external drive letter and pop the USB disc into the correct port. 

If this doesn’t work? It’s time to contact the helpdesk at work or the vendor for your laptop. 


Windows Won’t Finish Updating

Windows Won’t Finish Updating

I have this problem, myself, on a semi-regular basis. Windows goes through an update cycle and then you get the “this process may take some hours, don’t switch your machine off or remove the power” and you go to bed and the next morning?

It’s still the same. 

Assuming you’ve allowed about 4 hours since the update began, you can safely assume that this isn’t going to finish. 

So, what do you do? 

Switch it off, of course. 

Most of the time this won’t harm anything and it will boot normally and complete the update. 

Sometimes, it will force Windows into recovery mode but this doesn’t matter, once that finishes, it will be fine. 

If it’s not? Call your helpdesk or IT Provider for help. 


Laptop Overheating

If your laptop is getting red hot to the touch and even switching itself off after giving an overheating warning, then it’s possible that you’ve got an accumulation of dust, etc. inside that’s making it this way.

Use a can of compressed air and blow out the inside of the laptop case – don’t touch the circuit boards yourself or you could damage them.

If that doesn’t work? It probably needs thermal paste applying to either the CPU or the GPU. You can look up how to do that for your laptop on YouTube if you like, but you’re probably best off getting your helpdesk or IT vendor to do it for you.


Final Thoughts On Laptop Troubleshooting

So, there you have it. You can’t always fix your own laptop problems (well, unless you’re a laptop technician) but you can try and resolve some of the most common issues yourself. 

This simple laptop troubleshooting guide can often save hours on the phone to a frustrated help desk too.

We’ve got some great guides to other issues remote workers face too including how to fix your internet connection, the most common tech problems remote workers face and how to soundproof a home office.

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Morgan Graff
Articles: 103

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