Common Computer Related Problems

And what to do about them

Over the last 20 years, there has been a great proliferation of technologies that are now common in most of our homes – Internet, wireless networks, cloud computing, smart phones, high-definition TV, streaming entertainment, virtual reality, and of course computers that are much more powerful than ever. While these technologies are becoming more user-friendly, that doesn’t mean they are without glitches, difficult-to-understand setup instructions, frustrations when they don’t work, and even some malicious online parties that are out to take your money with the threat of losing your functionality or data. In this column, I will be discussing common problems that you have probably encountered, and helping you deal with them. After you have tried to handle such problems on your own, it may be a better use of your time to call professionals who can help get you beyond the frustrations and on the path to enjoying your technology and having it working more productively for you.


My Wireless Network (Wi-Fi) only works on some of my devices, or in limited areas of my house.

Factors that can limit Wi-Fi effectiveness include how your home is built and objects that can block signals – steel or concrete construction and objects like air vents or aquariums, as well as interference from neighbors’ networks and other gadgets. These can all affect your signal strength and coverage. The placement (and type) of your router also can affect Wi-Fi coverage and signal strength. Some easy maintenance you can do yourself can help. But to get at the cause and solve these problems, we can analyze your network and determine how to extend wireless coverage, eliminate dead spots and speed it up.

How do I know whether to have my computer or printer fixed, or is it better to just get new equipment?

When problems come after the warranty expires, you are faced with decisions about each component: whether it is worthwhile to repair it, upgrade it or purchase new. Furthermore, some problems – like software issues – are not covered by your warranty. As new technologies get much better, the price of repair goes up and the price of new comes down, for many items such as printers it just isn’t worth fixing the old equipment, especially as parts become unavailable or more costly. We can help you weigh the pros and cons of fix/repair/upgrade vs. purchasing new equipment.

From time to time I get alerts on my screen that my computer has been blocked, my data or files are in danger. A phone number is provided for me to call have the problem fixed.

DO NOT call a phone number on your computer screen, and DO NOT let them connect remotely to your computer. These messages are NOT legit. They are from scam operators, often from outside the US, who try to get you to pay unnecessary charges and give them your credit card information. They may say they are from “Microsoft” or “Apple” or “AT&T” or a tech support company. What you should do when this happens is turn off your computer and call a reputable service company. We can make sure your computer has not been compromised, and help prevent these unwelcome hackers from getting access to your computer in the future.

Dede Catsavis is founder and owner of Computer Tutors. For 20 years they have provided computer services to thousands of satisfied, happy customers. Computer Tutors comes to your home or office to work on Windows and MAC computers, set up home networks, eliminate viruses and can help with any of your other electronics. You can reach them by phone at 314-608-7920, and you can learn more about them at