troubleshooting

Google Chrome's shutdown glitch defies an easy fix

When diagnosing PC problems, sometimes it pays to take the easy route.

About every other time I open Google Chrome lately, an error message alerts me that the browser failed to close correctly. I'm then prompted to click the Restore button to reopen the tabs that were active when Chrome last closed.

Who's got the time to figure out what's causing the browser to hiccup when it closes? Just go the restore route or start the browsing session afresh. No big deal, right?

Having nothing better to do over a holiday weekend, I decided to look into … Read more

Test your network with Chrome Connectivity Diagnostics

When you're having network issues and can't access the Internet, isolating the problem isn't always easy. As Ghacks points out, many computer systems have networking tools available to help you figure out the issue. Tools like ping, traceroute, nslookup, and netstat, are all proven utilities that help identify network problems.

If you're not familiar with using those tools or would like a simpler all-purpose tool, Google has created a Chrome app called Chrome Connectivity Diagnostics. It contains several different networking tests with the results displayed in an easy-to-read format.

After installing Chrome Connectivity Diagnostics from the … Read more

Useful OS X troubleshooting utilities for the new year

If you regularly use your Mac (or any computer, for that matter), then you will undoubtedly run into a problem or two. For the most part, issues are small configuration hiccups that can be fixed by at the very least restarting affected programs, logging out of your system, or restarting it. However, there are times when a problem may require more attention in order to properly address.

In these cases, the use of various system utilities to monitor your computer's activity can help pinpoint problematic connections, processes, or other aspects of your system that may be contributing to the … Read more

Five rules for trouble-free software updates

If you think you've been spending more time than usual waiting for your software to update, you may be right.

The release of Windows 8.1, OS X Mavericks, and iOS 7.0.3 has given us update fatigue. This weekend it took me a total of 7 hours to install all three upgrades: 2.5 hours for Windows 8.1, 3.5 hours for Mavericks, and 1 hour for iOS 7.0.3.

Even though the updates installed without a hitch, most people have no need to rush applying the upgrades. Taking your time is one of my &… Read more

Save time and trouble with these 10 productivity tips

When you've got work to do, you don't want to wait for your computer to finish whatever system task it's doing before it gives you back control. Even worse, you don't want to spend a big chunk of your workday trying to get a balky machine to work at all.

If you're serious about squeezing every ounce of usefulness out of your computer, put these 10 productivity-boosting techniques to work.

No. 1: Check your power, check your cables, do some preventive dusting Ask any help-desk staffer and they'll tell you the one thing they … Read more

Jumpshot is your frustration-free solution to a cleaner PC

Being computer savvy is both a blessing and a curse. While you're always on top of the latest tech trends and the center of attention at parties (so they say), you're also the first person that everyone bothers with their computer problems. Everybody has at least one friend or family member that is the go-to IT person you always call on whenever you have a problem with your laptop, day or night, 365 days a year. If you don't know of one, you're it, and we feel for you. Jumpshot hopes to make the lives of … Read more

How to troubleshoot software-update problems

Computer malware authors exploit weaknesses in software. Developers combat computer crooks by patching their programs to block malware attacks. That's why we're encouraged to keep our software up-to-date. Every now and then, a software update fails, leaving our systems a little less secure.

I got a first-hand look at the problem the other day when the Apple Software Update program balked at installing iTunes version 11.0.3 on my Windows 7 PC. The installer reported "insufficient privileges" and suggested I log on as an administrator or contact my system administrator. Of course, I was logged … Read more

Troubleshooting a freezing or hanging OS X menu bar

The OS X menu bar is a central location for accessing system resources in the Apple menu, application-specific menus, and also a number of system settings through menu extras that can be appended to the right side of the menu bar. Some extras that are on by default include the time and date, battery level, and volume control, but others can be added to the bar, including VPN status, keychain, the script menu, and Bluetooth status.

Though these menu extras are convenient, there may be times when problems occur with this part of the system menu, such as freezes and … Read more

Apple: Reset your iPhone before hitting the Genius Bar

iPhone troubles? Let me guess: an update won't install properly. Or an app keeps crashing on you. Or you can't get your Bluetooth connection to work.

Problems like these often drive frazzled users to the Apple Genius Bar, which, of course, requires a reservation via the Apple Web site. Before you can make one, however, Apple now suggests this:

It's true: Apple wants you to try the iPhone equivalent of Ctrl-Alt-Delete before you make a special trip to the Apple Store and, well, watch while a Genius resets the phone for you.

Although this may come across … Read more

How to analyze e-mail headers the easy way

E-mail messages weren't always as reliable as they are today, but problems can still occur during delivery. Reading message headers can help pinpoint delivery issues, like delays. But if you've ever tried looking at a full message header, you know that it can be a bit confusing to read.

Fortunately, there's a Web-based message header analysis tool that reads the header data for you and outputs it into a format that's much easier to analyze.

To use Message Header Analyzer, first copy the full message header from an e-mail message. If you need help figuring out … Read more