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Your Top 4 Computer Problems: Solved!

June 02 2014

edutizingHaving computer troubles? You're not alone. Unresolved tech issues are a sure way to slow your real estate business down. After all, not having access to crucial systems and information makes it hard to service clients and keep up in a competitive market.

So let's try a little damage control. We asked the technicians at Tech Helpline how to solve common computer and software problems faced by agents. As a tech support service owned by REALTORS®, they speak to thousands of agents a year and understand exactly what issues real estate pros need help with. Read on for their solutions to your hairiest tech problems.

1. Slow Computer

Does it take forever to open a program? Will your computer freeze if you have more than two windows open? Then you, my friend, have a slow computer. There are many things that could be the root cause, like malware, a build-up of temporary files, programs running in the background, viruses, hard drive failure, disk fragmentation, and more.

The Fix: Are there programs you haven't used in a while (or don't recognize)? Uninstall them! They may be quietly running in the background without your knowing, slowing your system down. To uninstall a program in Windows, go to your Control Panel and click on "Uninstall a Program." Then from the list of programs that appears, select a program that you no longer want and click "Uninstall." Repeat for all unwanted programs.


If you're having problems uninstalling, download Revo-UninstallerRevo-Uninstaller. They offer a free trial that you can use to uninstall stubborn programs.

If temporary files or disk fragmentation are your problem, you can kill two birds with one stone. CCleanerCCleaner is a program that can clear out your temporary files and defragment your hard drive. It's vailable for both Mac and PC.

2. Malware/Virus

A sluggish system can also be the result of malware and viruses. Do you frequently encounter pop-ups--especially ones that prompt you to pay for software to "clean" your computer? You may have a virus or malware!

The Fix: Malwares can disguise themselves as innocuous programs, toolbars, or simply hide in the background running. The easiest way to identify and remove malware and viruses is by scanning your system. Tech Helpline recommends the following programs for this. Each can be downloaded for free and offer either a 30-day trial or a one-time scan:

Occasionally malware can hide in your Internet browser's cache and cookies. Use CCleanerCCleaner to remove any temp files and clear your recycling bin, cookies, cache, browsing history, etc.

In the worst case scenario, you may have to manually uninstall programs known to be malicious. Look out for programs by authors like Conduit, Wajam, Sweetpacks, RegCleaner, My PC Backup, myfreewebsearch, and webcake. If you don't know how to do this (or don't want to!), the support team at Tech Helpline can take care of it for you.

3. Printer Installation

Installing a printer can be a pain in the you-know-what. The easiest thing to do is identify what printer you have and what associated programs you have installed.

The Fix: For example, if you have a wireless HP printer, try going to the Start Menu. Under the All Programs list, you will see the option HP > [Name of your printer]. Within these folders will be an option like "Update IP address" or "HP setup" that you can select to setup your printer again.

If that doesn't work, you may be missing printer drivers. You can search for the drivers for your printer model online and install them on your computer. Here's a list of drivers from major printer makers:

If you are still unable to detect your printer, try uninstalling any programs associated with the printer from the control panel (see item #1) and reinstalling newer versions from the list above.

4. Sending and Receiving in Outlook

Having issues sending or receiving email in Outlook? You may need to verify your ports.

The Fix: Before you can do that, you need to know what version of Outlook you're using. If you're not sure, simply navigate to the "Help" button on top your screen or click "File" then "Help." The version will be listed there.

Verifying your ports is a slightly different process on each version of Outlook. Below are tutorials on how to do that for the three most versions. Match these settings to ports provided by your email providers.

I hope you found these tips helpful. If you still find yourself overwhelmed (or just pressed for time!), remember that if you have Tech Helpline as an association member benefit, you can reach out to their support team Mon. – Fri. 9 am to 8 pm and Sat. 9 am to 5 pm Eastern Time. They can walk you through any issues you're having, or even fix the problem remotely. Click here to learn more.Click here to learn more.