12 Answers to Common Computer Questions You’re Afraid to Ask

One of the best ways to learn is to ask questions. The trouble is, when it comes to computers, people are often afraid to ask. After all, you don’t want to sound stupid in front of your tech-savvy coworker or IT guy.

The truth is, any good IT services provider should be happy to answer your questions. We believe that every question is an opportunity to help you learn how to use technology safely and more effectively. To help, we’ve created this list of answers to the most common computer questions you might be afraid to ask.

1. My computer isn’t working. What do I do?

Whether it’s your whole computer, a single program, your email, or the internet, sometimes things just don’t work. That’s exactly when you should call IT support—after all, it’s why we’re here!

If you’re afraid to ask for help over a small issue, try some basic troubleshooting for common computer problems. We even have a checklist you can download!

Download our troubleshooting checklist

Or, maybe you’re just hesitant to call because you don’t know what to say. Communicating the problem is half the battle. Here’s a list of the information you can provide to help IT support fix your computer faster.

2. Why is my computer so slow?

Does your computer take forever to start up or open programs? Or just seem sluggish throughout the day? There are many reasons why your computer might be running slow

Often, it’s because you have too much stuff running—like 10 different programs or dozens of internet browser windows at once. You also might have a virus or malware. If it’s been years since you’ve gotten a new computer, chances are you just have outdated tech that can’t keep up.

If your computer prevents you from getting work done because it’s too slow, that’s a problem. Contact your IT support to help you get your computer systems running efficiently.

3. How can I do things faster?

Speaking of speed, if you’ve ever watched a tech-whiz on a computer, sometimes it seems like they’re doing magic with how quickly things fly around the screen. In reality, they’re probably using keyboard shortcuts.

By learning a few simple buttons, you too can save time and increase your productivity. For example, using Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V to copy and paste, Ctrl + P to print, or Alt + Tab to switch between open apps. Check out our full list of keyboard shortcuts you should know.       

4. I lost a file on my computer. Where did it go?

Finding a missing document or app may take a little detective work, but your computer has a lot of tools to help.

First, check your Recycle Bin to see if you accidentally deleted a file. If not, check if you saved the file in a different place. In general, having well-organized files & folders will help you find things more quickly and easily.

If it’s not where you expect, try opening the program you used to create the file (like Word for a document or Excel for a spreadsheet). Each program has a list of recently opened files, and if you go to Save As, it will display the folders where you recently saved other files.

Lastly, Windows 10 has a powerful search feature. Just click the magnifying glass on the main toolbar and type in what you’re looking for. Windows will search all your documents, apps, photos, and more.

Windows Search bar

5. Why do I need to back up my computer?

Sometimes you really do lose files, and they’re gone forever if you don’t back up your computer

You may lose data at any time due to a hardware failure, a natural disaster, a virus or ransomware attack, or human error.

If you want to protect your critical business files and avoid a data disaster, invest in a reliable data backup and recovery service.

6. How do I know if an email is spam?

Everyone knows that spam email exists and has probably been told 100 times not to click on it. Unfortunately, the bad guys are getting more clever, and spam emails are getting harder and harder to detect.

Here are two basic rules to remember:

  1. Be suspicious. Always check who sent the email, and be wary of links, attachments, or any requests for personal information.
  2. When in doubt, ask. It’s always better to ask your IT provider or double-check with the email sender before you click a bad link and potentially put your business at risk.

For more tips, read our full article on how to detect and avoid phishing emails

7. How can I tell if I have a virus?

There are many ways to tell if your computer has a virus. Ideally, you’ll have a good antivirus program installed that will catch the virus and alert you before it causes any damage.

If a virus or malware infects your computer, chances are you’ll see the symptoms like annoying pop-ups, error messages, programs crashing, or things just running really slow. Use your antivirus software to run a scan, or ask your IT company for help to remove the virus.

8. Why do people create viruses in the first place?

While there are millions of different viruses out there, they tend to have a few basic objectives:

  • To make money. This might be by displaying tons of ads & pop-ups on your computer, convincing you to buy software to remove the virus, or locking your files and demanding a ransom.
  • To steal your information. Some viruses can track your activity, and when you type in passwords or credit card information, they send it back to the bad guys who can break into your accounts, or resell your information online.
  • To take control of your computer. Once a bad guy has access to your computer, he can do a whole bunch of nasty things like deleting or stealing files, crashing your network, or using your computer (and others) to launch attacks on websites and servers.
  • To cause trouble. Whether it’s out of boredom, maliciousness, or to prove a point, some people create viruses and malware just because they enjoy wreaking havoc.

9. How do I avoid getting hacked?

Getting hacked isn’t a matter of IF, but WHEN. Cybercrime is on the rise, and, unfortunately, there’s no 100% foolproof way to stop hackers. The real problem for most small businesses is that they don’t even know when they’ve been attacked.

The best way to protect your business is to implement cybersecurity measures like antivirus protection, network monitoring, and stolen password detection. Our team at EZComputer Solutions would be happy to talk to you about cybersecurity solutions for your small business.

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10. Why shouldn’t I use free WiFi?

You may have heard that you shouldn’t use public WiFi networks, like in coffee shops, hotels, or airports. While they’re free and convenient, these networks aren’t secure, which means hackers can intercept everything you’re doing over the internet.

If you’re on public WiFi, avoid doing anything involving your personal information, including shopping online, logging into your bank account, or even signing into your social media. Instead, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to keep your connection secure.

11. What are cookies?

Not delicious baked goods. Internet cookies are tiny packets of information exchanged between your computer and the websites you visit.

Cookies help websites recognize users and track their activity. For example, a shopping site would use cookies to keep track of items in your cart and recommend related products.

Cookies notification example

In general, internet cookies are safe, and help websites work properly and customize your experience. However, they can cause privacy concerns, and some viruses and malware can be disguised as cookies.

12. What is “the cloud?”

The cloud and cloud computing refer to data and services that run over the internet, instead of your local computer. Technically, the cloud is a network of servers around the globe. Practically, it means you can access software and services from any device, as long as it has an internet connection.

Many services you use every day are cloud-based and involve everything from document storage and backup to communications, entertainment, business applications, and much, much more. Common examples of cloud services include Google Drive, Dropbox, Netflix, Zoom, Salesforce, and even Facebook!

Don’t Let Your IT Questions Go Unanswered

If you have questions about your computer or IT systems, we’re here to answer. Regardless of how small or silly it may seem to you, your problem deserves to be fixed. We want to help you get your computers running smoothly and turn your IT from a headache into an advantage for your business. Give EZComputer Solutions a call today!