network troubleshooting

DIY networking troubleshooting you can do before calling in the pros

Network issues with your computer can be frustrating, but you might be surprised to know how many issues can be fixed with a little know-how. If you find yourself scratching your head, run through some of these simple troubleshooting measures before calling in the pros.

When the overall performance is slow/lagging

The best overall approach to keeping your network healthy is a simple one: eliminate risks before they have a chance to slow your system down. And one super easy way to do that is to make good use of your anti-virus.

First, it should always be on to proactively stop threats before they infect your network. But if things are already slowing down, it’s possible something slipped past your defenses. It may be time for a thorough scan.

Prepare yourself. This might take some time, but it’s an easy fix that often speeds things up.

Tip: make sure the virus scanning software is fully up to date before scanning

When your downloads are taking forever

Before you lose all hope (because, yes, a slow internet connection is that tragic), check to make sure speed is actually the issue. We recommend heading over to Speedtest.net.

This browser-based tool (meaning no downloads) will tell you your upload and download speeds. You can compare these to what your ISP says they should be. If there’s a significant difference, it’s time to call your ISP and let them know you’re not getting the speed you’re paying for.

Tip: A good ping is anything under 100 milliseconds

When your files won’t send to the printer

If you’re using a wireless printer, try using a USB cable instead. It’s also a good idea to power cycle your printer. Just turn it off, disconnect it from the outlet and from your network, wait 30 seconds, then turn it back on and reconnect it.

We know “turn it off and turn it back on again” is everyone’s least favorite advice. But a power cycle solves a lot of problems. Computers and the devices they work with sometimes just get hung up. A full power cycle can help you ditch those snags and get things back to the speed they should be happening at.

Tip: Remove all the jobs from the ‘printer queue’ before power cycling

When your Wi-Fi keeps disconnecting

Fickle wireless connections can be a real head-scratcher. But before you call your IT support provider, there are a couple of things you can do that might fix the issue. First, make sure your device is within decent range of your router.

Next, see if other devices are having connectivity issues. If your laptop keeps dropping Wi-Fi, but your phone stays connected and your coworkers aren’t having any issues, then it’s more likely an issue with your laptop than with the internet connection.

Finally, try power cycling the router. (It’s the same as power cycling the printer—turn it off, disconnect it from everything, wait 30 seconds, then turn it on and reconnect everything.)

If none of that works, reach out to your ISP (if they provide your router) or your IT support provider.

Tip: right-click the Wi-Fi icon on your taskbar and select Troubleshoot Problems to let Windows run a quick test on your connectivity

When your computer keeps restarting

Before full-on panic sets in, make sure you’re not just getting automatic Windows updates. Windows updates often cause your computer to restart multiple times. This is expected and normal. No worries.

If updates aren’t behind the restarts, try updating your drivers. If your graphics card driver (for example) is out of date, it can cause some seriously annoying issues.

If that doesn’t work (or if your computer is making any kind of strange noise), it’s definitely time to call IT support. And if you’re getting the dreaded ‘blue screen of death,’ don’t be shy about asking for help.

Tip: If your DIY troubleshooting isn’t working, ask for help