Easy Fixes for At-Home Tech Problems

Easy Fixes for At-Home Tech Problems

Taryn Williford
Apr 30, 2010

As our tech gets smarter, it seems like we're getting dumber. Phones quit working. Computers freeze up. The thermostat decides to think for itself. Some of these problems require (expensive) professional repairs, but some other problems are easily solved with a quick restart,plug-and-unplug or just by blowing into the Nintendo cartridge. So tell us, what's your favorite easy fix?

Back in the days of Super NES, any IT problem was quickly solved with a quick and hard blow into the game cartridge.

We'd like to think that our amateur tech support skills have become more advanced, but the truth is that easy fixes are still the way to go. (How many times have you called customer support and the first thing they tell you to do is restart your machine? Exactly.) Here are our favorites:

  • Unplug it. Unplug whatever device is giving you trouble. Wait 30 seconds and plug it back in. If it's a wireless device, cut power by removing the battery for 30 seconds or more or letting the battery completely die out before recharging.
  • Clean the connections. See those metal plates where the battery meets up with the phone? Sometimes all you need to get back in action is a quick wipe down of all the connection parts. Use a clean cloth and wipe down plugs, too.
  • Blow out dust. Dust bunnies are evil little creatures that want to kill your tech. Just like the old-school Nintendo games, lots of PC problems can be solved with a quick blow. Use your powerful lungs or a can of compressed air.
  • Check the circuit breaker. In-home appliances giving you hell? Check the circuit breaker. Sometimes a quick flip of the switch can get "broken" appliances or lights to come back to life.
  • Dry them out. If you suspect moisture is to blame, dry out your devices in a bowl of rice. We've got a how-to right here.

(Top image: Gregory Han from How To Dry Out (and Hopefully Save) Wet Electronics. Poster image: BustedTees.com.)

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