When you can’t even get your operating system to load up, and you have work to do — patience is short. Without having to spend hundreds of dollars on computer repairs, one can find out the cause of the problem by taking the computer apart.

Disclaimer: If it’s not a software or virus issue, then this guide will lead you to diagnosing the problem, correcting it and getting back to work quickly.

1. Turn off the PC First and unplug at the socket
Don’t make the mistake of leaving the computer plugged in when it needs to be repaired. Many serious injuries have occurred because of careless repairs. Turn off the PC from the back, using the switch on the power supply or at the front. Then, pull the plug from the socket and wait a few seconds for all the fans to stop running, which may mean most of the current has stopped coming into the power supply.

2. Check the power supply again
If the computer has been erratically shutting off and causing operating system errors, check to see that the power supply is in good condition. Is there excessive dust? Or does it show any other damage that may effect it’s performance?

If it looks like some part of the power supply has been smoking or looks charred – be sure to remove it immediately as it may damage other components. Do not attempt to salvage it; it is already too late.

3. Check the other PC components
The mainboard is the next part to check in the pc when you are doing compute repair. Is there excessive dust, or other damage? If so, filter the dust out with an air-spray can, specifically made for pc repairs. You can find one at your local tech shop, or ask for one at the mall.

Check to see if components are not designed for your particular motherboard or power supply; sometimes a hobbyist will build a pc without checking if a particular RAM type will run with their system, and it leads to problems during computing operations.

Graphics cards, RAM, audio cards and other components may show damage. Spotted early, the component can be replaced or removed…and no other component will be damaged in the operation of your pc.

Note about Hard Drives:
If the hard drive has failed or makes strange noises, replacing it can be as easy as turning off the PC, unplugging two wires and inserting the new driveā€¦But not all repairs go as smoothly.

4. Check BIOS settings
Sometimes when the hardware is in good shape, the only next step to take in the repair of your computer is to check the BIOS settings. For example, if the system clock is set to the wrong date it may cause many operating system errors. Other settings, like the temperature of the processing core(s), may indicate CPU damage. Check that the temperatures are cool and good for the CPU for the durations that it is being used.

5. Replace parts that are faulty or burnt out and test
When the BIOS settings have been properly set and the burnt or malfunctioning parts have been replaced…test the pc to see if it runs. When the operating system loads up and programs run efficiently without any interruptions for about an hour– then you will know that you have successfully repaired the computer. Congratulations!

6. Other problems need technical assistance
Some computer repairs are best left to technicians who are knowledgeable about pc repair. Pay them, and they will reveal to you what components seem to malfunction most, where you can purchase them again, and if you may need a new power supply and case, altogether.

It’s a last resort, but it may save a lot of time and guessing, after the hard ware possibilities have been exhausted. You can easily find a general store such as Walmart, Futureshop, Best Buy and so on that provide an excellent service for computer repair and setup, as well as a few other tech shops. Check for reviews online too!

Computer repair isn’t just for technicians; it can be done by any adult with a basic tool box, a set of rules and some understanding of computer components. Once all components are functional, put the box together again and turn it on to see if it runs. If it fails, call a technician or go to your computer store to see how they can help. Computer repair can be easy and fun, if you do it safely.