Change causes trouble. Recall the items you’ve changed recently and you can better pinpoint problems and devise solutions. Use this list as a starting place.

  • Restart Windows to cure common ills.

  • Rarely do you need to reinstall Windows. Use the System File Checker to repair damage to Windows. Reinstall only after an unrecoverable disaster.

  • When your computer is more than five years old, the problem is most likely the computer itself. Buy a new one.

  • Resist the temptation to upgrade Windows. Rather than upgrade, buy a new PC with the latest version of Windows preinstalled.

  • Back up. Back up. Back up.

  • Use Safe Mode for troubleshooting only; do not run applications or finish your work in Safe Mode.

  • If the optical disc doesn’t format, throw it away.

  • The best way to troubleshoot disk storage is to understand what a file is.