By Martin Jansen, Owner of Jansen-PCINFO
Windows is still the most popular operating system (OS) in the world, especially in business. As a computer technician, it becomes necessary to learn some professional tips. To troubleshoot Windows, getting to the heart of the OS quickly is crucial to speedy service. Time is money.
Right Click the Start Menu
It’s natural to left click on any menu, but right clicking on the start menu in Windows results in a new list of utilities to control the OS.
These utilities used to be housed in the Control Panel in past versions of Windows, but now they are in Settings.
It’s obvious to me that Windows is now a layered OS with pretty Graphic User Interfaces (GUIs) covering the more direct controls. Some of these underneath controls, such as device manager, have not seemingly changed since Windows XP. The devices have broadened, but device manager remains the same clunky interface.
Computer technicians spend a lot of time in device manager troubleshooting and upgrading drivers. Unknown devices likely require drivers from the manufacturers website that must be downloaded and installed.
Unfortunately, computer technicians also spend a lot of time fixing printers and printer drivers. Printer connectivity always seems to be problematic. It seems like every printer manufacturer has their own ideas on how printers should be connected. The most up to date drivers are best downloaded from the manufacturer’s website.
Getting to printer controls is separate from the device manager. Type printer in the search bar to get to Printers & Scanners.
This results in the pretty interface which includes the most useful feature: Run the troubleshooter. The troubleshooter can clear the print queue from old print jobs which allows printing once again. In order to truly fix a printer, however, right click on a printer and Manage the printer and then go into Printer properties. Just like device manager, the Printer properties result in an older, clunkier interface which shows the ports.
The ports are likely where the disconnect lies. Printers are connected in a variety of ways, through wired, local USB or wireless – each is reflected in the Ports. Problems can result from mismatched ports, for instance, an IP addresses can change from the DHCP settings of the router.
Right clicking on the start menu allows you to directly access the disk manager. When Windows installs on a UEFI enabled computer, the OS usually takes up all the space on the SSD or hard drive. In order to install another OS like Linux Mint, the largest partition or volume must be shrunk to allow enough space. This is best done in the disk manager.
If possible, however, it is best to install a different OS on a separate drive. While Windows requires at least 50-60 GB of space, Linux Mint will comfortably install in 30-40 GB with room to spare for additional apps and storage of files.
I’ve covered the three main areas where computer technicians do the most work:
- Device Management
- Printers & Scanners
- Disk Management
Can you add to the list of Windows problem areas from your experience?