​Self Help for Laptops & Home Computers​​​​

Although we don't support home computers we have put together some tips and advice on how to solve some problems yourself. Please note that we are not responsible for the result of using this advice.



Going to this page opens the Windows Update function on your PC:


This page takes you to the Java Update page which checks your PC for the latest version; you need Java on your PC to display certain key parts of web pages - often webmail uses Java.


(you may often see the following icon in your taskbar – it’s Java awaiting installation – install it.)

You will need Adobe Flash and Shockwave technologies to play animations and videos.  Check you have them.



This page runs a small program that deletes your temporary Internet Files, look for this button in the ‘Fix it for me’ section then run the program:



NB – you can do this manually if, in Internet Explorer, you got to ‘Tools’\’Delete Browsing History’ and select what items from there you want to delete.  If you cannot locate a ‘Tools’ menu, then the link above is useful.

Microsoft do a free Anti-Virus software, the corporate version of which is used by the university.  It’s ‘smarter’ than most, and doesn’t just block all sorts of processes and functions that you need.



NB – Windows 8 comes pre-loaded with anti-virus software, so you don’t need to either download it, or be talked into purchasing it at the computer shop.

Related to the above link, Microsoft have a Fixit page that has lots of ‘healing’ applications and instructions.




NB – You should use this page carefully and only run what you are fairly sure may help – i.e. don’t run all the various application blindly hoping to solve a random problem!  This information is for advice only, we don’t guarantee the use of this page and it is at your own risk. If you are not sure what you are doing, ask for help from someone with IT experience.

Sometimes, if you are having difficulty doing something in Internet Explorer, using a different browser may help.  Sometimes you will find an update from Microsoft has put a useful Icon ‘Browser Choice’ on the desktop.  If not, I have listed some of the main alternative browsers and links to the right:


Chrome: https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/browser/

Firefox:  http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/

Safari:     http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1531

If more than one person use a computer, then it is really worth creating separate User Accounts for each person.  They can then have their own settings, favorites, documents folder etc, and in addition some malware only affects the user profile under which the infection happened, so you can delete the profile and recreate it.  You will be OK backing up office files and music, they normally aren’t infected.

On windows 7, go to Start, Control Panel, User Accounts, Manage Another account, then Create a new account.  Video showing you how is available HERE.

There are a number of free malware removers that work differently from anti-virus software.  Malware is designed by crooks to extort you into paying for software to remove non-existent viruses, to ‘mine’ data from your PC about you, and other nasty's.  It is useful to do a ‘sweep’ of your computer for adware, spyware, toolbar and homepage hijackers etc with the free software listed on the right..

http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download - CCleaner

http://superantispyware.com/  - Super AntiSpyware

http://www.safer-networking.org/  - SpyBot


Windows has a number of resident maintenance programs which you can use to solve problems.  Disk Cleanup searched for redundant files and gives you the option of deleting them, Disk Defragmenter (the trusty ’defrag’) rearranges all your split up files back into contiguous blocks, and system restore can restore your operating system back to a previous date. 

Go to Start, [All] Programs, Accessories, System Tools, there you will find Disk Clean-up, Disk Defragmenter, and System Restore.

How to speed up a slow computer


It may be best to remove any of the common file sharing applications that encourage software piracy, such as LimeWire and various other bit torrents, as these are too prone to malware.  Any other illegally installed software should be removed as they are an unknown quality, and may have been tampered with in order to compromise security on a host PC.


Alternatives to Microsoft Office:


Both excellent products, and both highly compatible with Microsoft Office.



Graphics Software:

Both very full featured graphics applications