Steps to Take When Facing a Windows 10 or 11 Problem: Trouble Shooting Guide

Windows computers are fantastic tools, but even the best technology can face hiccups. Whether it’s programs crashing, slow performance, or unexplained errors, Windows 10 and 11 problems can bring your entire workflow to a screeching halt. Don’t fret! This guide helps you diagnose and solve a range of Windows issues.

1. Identify the Problem

Don’t just start applying random fixes! Pinpointing the root cause is crucial. Ask yourself:

  • When did it start? – Did the problem coincide with a recent update, app installation, or hardware change? Identifying any recent changes can significantly narrow down troubleshooting.
  • What specific error message(s) appear? – Error codes often provide valuable clues for pinpointing the cause. Take note of them.
  • Is the problem isolated? – Does it affect only one program or your entire system? This helps determine if the issue stems from a faulty program or a deeper Windows problem.

2. Basic Troubleshooting

These essential first steps often go a long way in solving common Windows issues:

  • Restart: The classic IT support trick for a reason – a simple restart can resolve surprising issues.
  • Windows Updates: Updates from Microsoft can patch bugs, improve performance, and solve security vulnerabilities.
    • Press the Windows key + I to open the Settings app.
    • Click on Windows Update in the left pane
    • Click on the Check for updates button to start
  • Safe Mode (Clean Boot): If problems persist, boot into Safe Mode, which launches Windows with minimum settings. If the issue vanishes in Safe Mode, third-party software is likely to blame. Here’s how to boot into Safe Mode (Clean Boot):
Use clean boot to troubleshoot performance issues in Windows 10 | Microsoft

Step 3) Troubleshooting Specific Issues

Let’s address some common culprits:

Slow Performance:
  • Disk Cleanup: Run the built-in tools to clear temporary files, system files, and other space-hogs.
  • Task Manager: Identify any programs hogging excessive system resources and shut down what you don’t need. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.
  • Startup Programs: Streamline your boot process by disabling programs that automatically launch when you turn on your machine. Go to Task Manager > Startup.
Crashes & Freezes:
  • Driver Updates: Ensure your device drivers (especially graphics and network drivers) are up-to-date. Typically, these can be found on the manufacturer’s website for your device.
  • System File Checker: Run the SFC tool to check for corrupt system files ( Windows 11 start button Start Menu > type cmd > right-click Command Prompt > [Run as administrator] > type sfc /scannow and press Enter).
  • Windows Image Repair: Run the DISM command tool to repair the Windows image.
Blue Screen of Death (BSOD):
  • Note the error code: BSODs usually display a stop code which helps with troubleshooting.
  • Recent Changes: Revert any recent software or hardware installations or updates.
  • Run Memory Diagnostics: Check for issues with your RAM. Search for Windows Memory Diagnostic in the Start Menu and run the tool.
Network Issues:
  • Network Adapter: Make sure your network adapter (wired or wireless) is recognized and has updated drivers. Check in Device Manager (Right-click Windows 11 start button Start menu > Device Manager).
  • Network Troubleshooter: Access Windows network troubleshooting tools in Windows 11 settings icon Settings > Troubleshoot > Other troubleshooters > Network and internet.

Step 4) Advanced Troubleshooting

If simple fixes don’t work, dig deeper:

  • System Restore: Roll your PC back to a previous working state with System Restore. Note: You might lose recently installed software or changes made since that restore point was created. Learn more:  How to Restore Windows 11 Using System Restore.
  • Malware Scan: Perform a full system scan with your antivirus/anti-malware software. A malicious infection can wreak havoc across your system.
  • Clean Reinstallation for Severe Issues: Consider reinstalling Windows completely as a last resort when facing persistent, serious problems. This will address deep-rooted issues and give you a fresh Windows installation. Crucial Note: Back up your essential files and data before starting. For in-depth instructions and guidance on this recovery process, refer to our article: How to Recover Windows 11.

Step 5) Seek Additional Help

  • Online Forums and Communities: Get help from experienced users and experts on support forums dedicated to Windows. Some great places to start include the Microsoft Answer forums and relevant subreddits.
  • Microsoft Support: Directly access Microsoft’s support website for troubleshooting articles, guides, and contact options.
  • Professional Assistance: If troubleshooting yourself proves unsuccessful, consider seeking help from a certified PC technician.

Conclusion

Windows woes can be frustrating, but most can be conquered with a methodical approach. By carefully identifying the problem, following these troubleshooting steps, and knowing when to reach out for further assistance, you can reclaim a smooth Windows experience! If you have additional Windows troubleshooting tips or suggestions for improving this guide, please leave a comment below! Your feedback helps us create even better resources for our community.

author avatar
Derick Payne
My name is Derick Payne. With a deep-seated passion for programming and an unwavering commitment to innovation, I've spent the past 23 years pushing the envelope of what's possible. As the founder of Rizonetech and Rizonesoft, I've had the unique opportunity to channel my love for technology into creating solutions that make a difference.

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