Friday, November 4, 2011

Troubleshooting Basics

*Today's post is the first in a series by Dion Staton, the school librarian at North Jefferson Middle School. 

Troubleshooting Basic Computer Issues

I often am asked what you do when teachers have computer problems. And the answer is, truthfully I inhale deeply, and ask one question, “Have you restarted the computer since the trouble began?” This one question actually solves about 50-60% of all computer issues in my school. But what if that does not work? What do you do?

Well here is my basic process and some thoughts behind why I do these things. They are very basic and easy to perform and they get to the root cause of 80-90% of computer issues in my school. So take this for what it is: a very basic troubleshooting guide. I hope you find it helpful. 

The computer locks up and/or is acting weird?
1.  If a computer is frozen and will not respond to any commands, you will need to press Ctrl + Alt + Del (all three keys at the same time) to bring up the Task Manager (See pic1 below).  Select any program that says "Not responding" and click the End Task button.  Repeat until all tasks that are not responding are ended.  If this does not work, turn the computer off by holding down the power button for 10 seconds, wait thirty seconds, turn the computer back on, and let the computer start up again. Likely 60% of computer issues can be fixed this way.
2.  Just as stated above “When all else fails, restart!”  A majority of problems that occur while you are using your computer can be fixed by shutting down the computer and restarting.  Applications sometimes don’t release memory like they should when they are finished.  The end result is your computer locks up or acts really weird.  When you restart, memory registers are cleared and most everything is reset.  This fixes a lot of problems.

Special Note
It doesn't hurt a computer to leave it running all the time.  However, using the computer for long periods of time causes small problems that can build into larger ones.  When Windows restarts, it fixes most of these small problems.  Restarting the computer periodically while working can help reduce the risk of glitches causing big issues later on which seem worst than they are.

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