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The Main IT Problems of the Small Business PC User - by Philip Crompton


  • PCs are a great tool to help you with your work
  • IT can help you make money
  • PCs are a major factor in causing Stress

All three statements are true, however most of us fail on the first two and seemed to be plagued by the last.

How can my PC be made to help me with my work?
It seems very obvious that we use the PC to help us with our work, but we fall in to one of several traps.

  • We don't know how our PC can help us
  • We let our PC rule us and panic when we go near it
  • We try to use the wrong program to achieve our goal
  • We don't ensure our PC is Secure
  • We download some complete junk then wonder why our PC is slow!

PCs are very powerful tools. They have the capacity to store the entire content of the British Library and they can search the world for the most obscure detailed piece of information. The only problem is we don't know how to get to it!

A hammer in the hands of a DIY enthusiast will help put up a shelf. Put a hammer in the hands of a sculptor and you get a work of art. You need to invest time and money to get the most out of your PC. It is important to have the right programs for the right job. Don't invest in a program that does not help you with your productivity. Then invest in training to ensure you know how to use that program.

Training is Key:

To pass a driving test we spend many weeks learning about road signs, the highway code and driving a car, yet we put someone in front of a PC and expect them to be able to use all of its power. The reality is that person only uses E-mail and Word. If your lucky they venture to the Internet but never get anything useful from it.

Define your requirements
If you are an accounts clerk, your PC requirements are different to a Sales person and more importantly your psychology is different. you need to identify what the PC must do and then how that will work within a network.

Professional Training saves you money and time!
The Driving Test is a good example of when we use a professional trainer. We know that trying to teach our son or daughter to drive can be a nightmare. They know better, we know we do! The result is we argue, we don't want to be bothered, they fail and no one wins! We then employ a Driving School! Just as we call in a plumber when we have a leak, call in a professional or go to college to learn about specific PC Programs. It takes a long time to teach yourself when you could probably be doing something better and more profitable.


Everyone has basic requirements of knowing how to collect and send e-mails (with attachments). You need to know how to write letters in Word then print or e-mail them. You probably need to know how to effectively search for information off the internet. These things are easy to define, but it becomes more difficult to know about the specialist needs and the specialist software applications that help you.

Do you use Sage or Goldmine, PowerPoint or Exchange?
A Consultants role is to help you identify the applications which will help your work as well as the training need to use them. If you have the right tool for the job, your PC becomes an invaluable tool and you become very productive.

Some Common PC Faults:

You turn on the computer and nothing happens

No lights, no beeps, no fan noise.
POWER! Check the plug - check the socket works with another device. If you're absolutely certain that it is connected, then unplug everything and re-plug it in.

The computer comes on, but nothing appears on your monitor.
You hear a beep and then nothing appears. You may have a monitor problem. Check the cables. Is there a green light on the power button of the monitor? If not it is either not receiving the signal or the power, so check the cables into the back of the PC and monitor. Still no joy disconnect the power cable from the monitor and the wall - swap it with another cable that you know works. Still no joy, then it is probably time to buy a nice new flat screen.

Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD)
If you regularly get the "Blue Screen of Death," you may have a random access memory (RAM) problem. The other problem which is quite likely is that you have a virus or spyware. Ensure your antivirus definitions is up to date and also your AntiSpyware product then run full scans on both.

Your PC turns on then stops with a strange message
If you boot up, and the computer cannot find the C: drive, you might have a bad hard drive. You may get a message such as no operating system loaded or insert boot disk.

The chances are your hard drive has either died - normally it makes funny grinding sounds when you turn it on, or the operating system has become corrupted. Seek expert advice, especially if you don't want to loose data. If you try to do things, you may find you overwrite your files.

Moral of this story is ensure you do regular FULL backups.

My Broadband has stopped working
If you have a Broadband Router - e.g. Wireless and you stop getting on to the internet, the chances are it has frozen. Pull the power out of the back of the router leave it out for 30 seconds. Put the power back in and restart your PC. 9 out of 10 times that cures the problem.

My PC works very slowly
Virus or Spyware! In nearly every case I have seen, the PC has been infected with either a virus or spyware. Ensure your AV definitions and AntiSpyware products are up to date and run a full scan.

You can do full scans off the internet and the Trend Housecall product is very good. Type in to your search engine Trend Housecall, then run their full on-line scan.

It may of course just be the case that you are expecting too much. If you have recently installed a program, (some mainstream antivirus products now have a name for themselves as slowing down a PC), that might be the problem. You can install extra RAM which on older PCs makes a big difference.

When I am on the Internet my PC does not go to the website I want
You have Spyware. There are several aims of spyware, and the more malicious ones include trying to steal your credit card information, but also to present you with Pop-Up Adverts and take you to the chosen Spyware Websites. Take the same action as above.



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