Basic Troubleshooting Steps Every Work From Home Employee Should Know

The coronavirus pandemic has forced businesses and employees to switch to a remote work setup out of the blue. Although some businesses are already experimenting with this work arrangement, the majority of businesses and offices are still operating the traditional way. 

Because of the coronavirus, businesses, some as big as Microsoft, Amazon and Twitter, are encouraging employees to stay home. However, due to the sudden shift, not all employees have been trained on how to work from home. Despite the not-so-smooth business processes due to the adjustment period, businesses are trying to make the remote work setup work since this will be part of the new normal. 

One of the common issues remote workers have to deal with is when something goes wrong with their equipment or run into PC errors. When the printer won’t print, the computer won’t boot up, or suddenly the internet connection gets cut off, remote employees will not be able to complete their tasks, affecting the entire business operations as a result. 

You don’t have to send  your device to a technician to have it fixed every time you encounter some hiccups while working. Most PC errors and problems can be fixed by simple troubleshooting steps that you can do yourself. 

But before we discuss the solutions to specific computer issues, you need to perform these general troubleshooting steps first to see if they are able to solve the problem.

  • Quit all programs that are running and windows that you are not currently using.
  • Check your cords and cables to make sure they are connected properly.
  • Press the F1 button to check the Help window for a solution to your problem. 
  • When you see an error message or notification pop up, record the full message by writing it down or taking a screenshot for future reference.
  • Try to recreate the problem by redoing the sequence of commands or actions you performed before the problem happened. This would help you determine the cause of the error. 
  • Restart your device to see if it fixes the problem. To reboot your computer, click the Start button, click on the power icon, then choose Restart.
  • If restarting doesn’t work, shut down your computer completely and then turn it back on again.

If doing the steps above does not help, check out our list of common computer problems that users often encounter and the steps to fix them. 

Problem #1: Frequent app crashes

When your apps often crash, you need to determine first if the problem is limited to a specific app or if it happens regardless of which app is running. If the crashes are limited to a certain app, such as Microsoft Word or Skype, the first thing you need to do is restart the app to see if the problem is temporary. If it does not help, you need to uninstall the program completely, then reinstall a clean copy of the app. 

If your apps crash randomly, then the problem has probably something to do with the device itself. Make sure you have enough memory to run the programs by checking Task Manager for CPU and memory usage. If a lot of processes are active, your computer may not have enough resources to support them all. You also need to check your hard disk to make sure that you have sufficient  storage space to run apps. 

Problem #2: System crashes 

If your computer crashes before it is able to load the operating system, which means you only see the manufacturer logo and not the Windows logo, then the problem is related to the RAM or hard disk. Since the operating system is unable to load, then your RAM could be corrupted and can’t handle the boot loader or your boot drive is so damaged that it can’t load any data stored in it.

If your computer has multiple memory slots, taking out each of the RAM cards one by one and restarting your PC will help you determine the culprit. If all your RAM cards are working fine, then you need to check if your hard disk is causing the problem. You can use an extra hard drive to check if the current one is corrupted. Once you’ve found what’s causing the issue, you will need to replace the corrupted memory stick or the hard disk. 

Problem #3: Computer is not turning on

If your computer has no power with not even a single light, then your power source is the problem. 

For desktop users: 

Check your extension cord, outlet, and cables to make sure they are working fine. If you’re using an AVR, disconnect your PC from it and plug it directly into the outlet. Replace the power cable if you have an extra lying around. If not, use the monitor’s power cable instead to see if the CPU turns on. If it does, then you have to get a new power cable. 

For laptop users: 

If you’re using  a laptop and it won’t turn on, remove the battery first then put it back on before restarting your device. If it doesn’t work, take the battery out again, then plug in your charging cable. If your laptop turns on, then your battery is the problem. You need to replace your battery as soon as possible. You can use your laptop while directly connected to the charging cable for the meantime. 

Problem #4: USB is not working

If your USB ports are not working, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are broken. Try restarting your computer first to see if this fixes the issue. 

If not, try uninstalling the USB port driver. This will force Windows to reinstall the latest port driver when you restart the computer. You can uninstall the driver via Device Manager > Universal Serial Bus controllers > USB Host Controller, then click Uninstall. Restart your computer and Windows will automatically reinstall the USB port driver. 

You also need to check whether you have the USB selective suspend setting enabled. Open the Windows Power options, then go to Change plan settings > Change advanced power settings > USB settings, then turn off USB selective suspend setting. This setting is usually enabled if you want to save on battery. Restart your computer to see if this resolves your USB port problem. 

Problem #5: WiFi keeps disconnecting. 

Working from home requires an internet connection to access and submit files, communicate with the team, and complete your tasks. If your computer has WiFi problems, then you need to check several factors to find out where the problem lies. 

Restart both your computer and your router to see if your internet goes back. You should also try resetting your router if restarting doesn’t work. 

If your router is working fine, then you should see if your computer’s network card is not getting enough power. When you turn on Windows’ power saver, the system automatically gives less power to the network card. To disable this, go to Power Option > Advanced settings > Wireless Adaptor Settings > Power Saving Mode, then choose  Maximum Performance under Setting. 

If all these steps don’t work, switch to a wired connection for a more stable internet connection. 

Problem #6: Beeping sound

The PC motherboard is equipped with the capability to detect problems and you’ll know that it is motherboard-related when you hear beeping sounds. Motherboard problems are difficult to handle because some of the issues might be too technical for common troubleshooting techniques. However, most common motherboard issues are related to the RAM or any recently installed hardware. 

When your computer beeps two to three times and won’t boot at all, then the RAM in the motherboard might be loose or out of place. You can easily fix this by opening your CPU and reinserting the RAM. Make sure to clean the dirt inside the slot before inserting the RAM back. Check if the clips are properly locked to ensure the RAM stays in place. 

If you recently installed a new piece of hardware and you get beeps, then that hardware could be damaged or installed incorrectly. Take the hardware out first then see if you can boot your computer without the beeps. If it works, then you need to reinstall the hardware correctly or get it replaced if damaged. 

Problem #7: Blue Screen of Death. 

When you get a BSOD error, don’t panic. Make sure to remember the stop code included in the error message so that you know where to start troubleshooting. BSOD errors can be caused by either software or hardware issues, and the stop code is your clue. Whatever the reason behind the BSOD error is, you need to fix it immediately because it could be a sign of a big problem. 

BSOD problems are often caused by corrupted drivers, too much pressure on the RAM, faulty hard disk, or overheating PC. Updating your drivers, upgrading your RAM, closing unnecessary processes, replacing your hard disk, and maximizing your PC fans should help resolve this error. 

If you have a stop code, you can search for the specific steps to fix that particular BSOD error. You can also run the built-in BSOD troubleshooter on Windows 10. 

Problem #8: Blank or black screen 

If your monitor is not showing anything, then your monitor or the graphics card could be faulty. Try connecting the monitor to another CPU to check if your monitor is broken. If it is working, then your graphics card is the culprit and you need to replace it. If your monitor is not powering on at all, use a different power cable to see if it helps.  

But if your monitor turns on and then goes black after a few seconds, then you need to adjust the color quality or resolution. Most monitors are equipped with an auto-adjust button so all you need to do is press it. If not, you need to manually change the display color from 32-bit to 16-bit. 

Problem #9: Printer is not working

There are a lot of reasons why your printer may not be working. Make sure it is turned on and you have enough paper on the tray. Check if there are any blockages in the printer that might be preventing it from completing the printing job. If you’re not getting any response from your printer, try updating the printer driver and see if it helps. 

If you’re using a wireless printer, make sure both the computer and the printer are connected to the same wireless network. Should the problem persist, remove the printer from your computer and configure it again. 

Problem #10: Keyboard or mouse is not working

If any of your computer peripherals are not working, such as keyboard, mouse, speaker, microphone, or headset, disconnect them from your computer before rebooting. Connect it back and try to reinstall the driver associated with that faulty accessory. If it doesn’t function properly after doing all that, you need to replace it with a new one. 

For keyboard problems, you need to check your settings first and see whether you have enabled toggle keys and filter keys. Go to Control Panel > Ease of Access > Change how your keyboard works, then uncheck Toggle keys and Filter Keys. 


Most computer issues have simple solutions. But if the troubleshooting methods above don’t work, you might need to ask for some help. You can search how to fix your PC errors on YouTube or on the internet. There are a lot of tutorials online to help you handle your PC problem step by step. 

If you’re working from home, you can also ask your company technician or IT department to help you out, especially when you need to reformat your drive, reinstall your operating system, or perform dangerous troubleshooting methods.