Fix hardware problems Discover some easy fixes for troublesome computer components ` with our guide to solving your Windows hardware woes More tips
One of the annoying things about upgrading Windows is when you suddenly discover that your older hardware is no longer supported. You plug it in, and either nothing happens, Windows tells you drivers aren’t available or – in the case of AMD graphics – it installs a basic display adapter that’s stuck at a low resolution.
Before you throw out the baby with the bathwater, press [Win] + [Pause/ Break] to open the System Control Panel and confirm your operating system type (32-bit or 64-bit). Now visit your hardware manufacturer’s website and seek out the latest version of its driver, making sure it matches your system type – Windows 8, 7 and even Vista drivers should work.
If you own two or more printers, it can be a hassle switching between them. One workaround is to switch default printer to whichever one you printed to last – click Start > Settings > Devices > ‘Printers & scanners’ and flick the ‘Let Windows manage my default printer’ switch to On.
Struggling to get your network printer working? If your wireless printer doesn’t have a WPS switch for easy connection to the network, connect it to your PC with a USB cable after downloading and running the latest printer software – be sure to select Wireless during setup to enable the installer to help you connect the printer to your wireless network.
Common laptop issues
Problems with your laptop screen? If the screen flickers or the resolution is too cramped, open Device Manager (press [Win] + [R], type devmgmt.msc and press [Enter]). If a yellow exclamation mark is present next to either the Display Adapter or Monitor then double-click the entry to find out what the problem is; look for an updated driver from your laptop manufacturer or take a closer look at any error codes or troubleshooting options offered.
If the screen appears to be dead and you recently plugged it into a monitor, it may still be set to output to the HDMI port – check for special keys that enable
you to cycle through available displays – typically something like [Fn] + [F3] – to see if the screen comes back, or re-connect it to a monitor and go to Start > Settings > System > Display. Look under ‘Multiple displays’ to set the default screen back to the laptop.
If the problem persists, then it may be a physical problem. You could source a service manual online and open your laptop to check for a loose connection, or try an online service such as www. hplaptoprepair.co.uk, which offers a parts-only or fully-fitted repair service.
Other common driver issues may be linked to your laptop’s trackpad not working as it should – it’s worth looking on your manufacturer’s website for a dedicated driver. If one exists, go to Start > Settings > Devices > ‘Mouse & touchpad’ and click ‘Additional mouse options’. Look for a Device Settings tab where you may find some configurable tweaks to make it more useful.
Finally, head to Windows 10’s battery saving feature via Start > Settings > System > Battery, where you can tweak your laptop’s battery saver settings to come on earlier and so prolong the time it lasts between recharges. Also look at switching your web browser to Opera (www.opera.com), which comes with its own built-in battery saver to extend browsing time, too. Sleep-related computer problems can usually be fixed once you know which component is refusing to play nicely. Right-click the Start button and choose ‘Command Prompt (admin)’. Type
powercfg –energy and press [Enter]. When complete, browse to C:\Windows\ System32 and double-click the energyreport.html file to review in your browser. Make a note of errors and then identify suspect devices in Device Manager. Double-click each in turn and look under the Power Management tab (if it exists) for settings to prevent that device from bringing your computer prematurely out of standby.
Most sound-related problems come down to the incorrect playback (speakers) or recording (microphone) devices being selected. Click the ‘^’ button in the Taskbar notification area and look for a white speaker icon. Right-click this and choose either Playback or Recording devices to see a list of available devices, including which one is currently the default. Select the correct device and click Set Default – you can click the down arrow next to it to choose different default devices for regular sound and communication through applications such as Skype.
Finally, go to Start > Settings > ‘Update & security’ > Troubleshoot where you will now be able to access all the available Windows troubleshooters. Start with the ‘Hardware and Devices’ option to see whether this can help resolve the issue for you.
“Most sound-related problems come down to the incorrect playback or recording devices being selected”
Struggling to set up your wireless printer? Hook it up to your PC via a USB cable first, then choose how it connects to your network.
Plug your laptop back into your main monitor if you can’t get the display working to troubleshoot.
Windows 10’s troubleshooters are now found under Settings.