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An Introduction to Basic Computer Troubleshooting. How To Keep Your PC Computer Running. LITA at SLIS. By William Straub January 2009. Disclaimer. The following are troubleshooting hints, use them at your own risk.

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How To Keep Your PC Computer Running


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    1. An Introduction to Basic Computer Troubleshooting How To Keep Your PC Computer Running LITA at SLIS By William Straub January 2009

    2. Disclaimer • The following are troubleshooting hints, use them at your own risk. • The information in this presentation is not necessarily endorsed by SLIS/LITA. • When in doubt, call a professional computer repair technician.

    3. Computers and Cars • Both computers and cars need regular maintenance. Would you run an automobile without changing the oil every 5000-10000 miles?

    4. How to Solve Approximately 80% of Computer Problems • Try to save your work if possible. • Close all programs. • You may have to press Ctrl + Alt + Delete. • Shut down the computer (don't just restart). • Wait 10 seconds. • Turn the computer back on.

    5. How to Solve Approximately 90% of Computer Problems • Save and shut down. Cold boot (don't just restart). • Do not install software unless absolutely necessary. The more software you have installed, the greater chance for conflicts and software problems. • Patch/update software • Keep VirusScan up-to-date

    6. Keep a Log Book • Write down any changes you make to your hardware or system settings. • Write down the date and version of every software program you install.

    7. Protect Your Computer on the Network • Virus Scan • Firewall • Updates for your operating system (Windows update or Microsoft update) • Update/patch essential software

    8. Protect Your Computer on the Network • Update/patch essential software: • Microsoft Office (Microsoft update) • Adobe Reader (adobe.com) • Adobe Flash plugin • Adobe Shockwave • Mozilla Firefox • QuickTime / iTunes (apple.com/quicktime) • Other browser software

    9. System Updates • Essential to protect from malware/hackers In Windows XP: Start > Programs > Accessories > System, then Automatic Updates tab

    10. System Updates • I choose “Notify me but don't automatically download or install them.” • The system notifies me when updates are available. • Then I wait a few days and check Web sites before installing updates.

    11. Basic Troubleshooting Hints • Stay calm. • Turn off the machine (don't just restart). • Check and re‑check all plugs. • Think: What was the last thing changed on this computer? • Write down the problem. • Use logic to isolate the problem.

    12. If You Cannot Solve the Problem • Know your limitations. • Write down the symptoms and anything you tried to do to fix the problem. • Contact DoIT • Contact the company who sold you the computer. • Go to your local library-- use public computer or local Yellow Pages

    13. Basic Computer Maintenance • Backup your data • Maintain antivirus software • Maintain firewall • System updates • Other software updates • Maintain your hard drive • Backup system files • Clean your computer • Dust • Deal with system lockups and freezes

    14. What to Do When Your Computer Freezes • Sometimes if you computer is having problems the best solution is just to save all of your work and then shut down the computer normally. Leave the computer off for approximately 10 seconds for the memory ( RAM ) to clear, and then turn the computer back on.

    15. If Computer Is Frozen (continued) • If Ctrl + Alt + Delete does not work at all, press the reset button on your computer. • If you don’t have a reset button, press and hold the power button for approximately 5 seconds

    16. What to Do When Your Computer Freezes • Wait 10 seconds • press Ctrl + Alt + Delete • see if any tasks are not responding, if so end them (select the End Task button) • try to return to the desktop by clicking the Cancel button

    17. If Your Computer Is Still Having Printer or Lockup Problems • click Start  Shut Down • Then start up your computer and press the F8 key immediately after the memory check, then select Safe Mode

    18. If Your Computer Is Still Having Printer or Lockup Problems • DoIT: Windows - Disk Diagnostic Tools • http://kb.wisc.edu/helpdesk/page.php?id=229

    19. If Your Computer Starts But Says: • remove the floppy disk from your A: drive • Or use your System disk to boot up the computer. Non-System disk or disk errorReplace and press any key when ready missing operating system

    20. Virus Scan • Get virus scan software free for students from DoIT: The Security Starter software for UW-Madison can be downloaded here: http://www.cio.wisc.edu/security/secure/ • If your little icon has red circle – if it doesn't look like this, then update virus scan software manually and/or reboot.

    21. Make Backups • It is essential that you backup your data files (Word documents, spreadsheets, important e-mail, etc.) everyday before you turn off your computer. • While working, save your work every 5 to 10 minutes. • I recommend you make a backup of your work on a different device at least every hour.

    22. Make Backups • On your computer at home save your work on the hard drive and USB stick. • Backup is cheap. Your work is not. • Buy and use an external hard drive. • Burn CD or DVD of files for off-site safety. • Upload essential files to mywebspace.wisc.edu

    23. Try free online backup services, such as Mozy.com or Fabrik.com (offer as much as 2GB free space).

    24. Backing up your Registry in Windows XP • Use CFGBACKUP (Configuration Backup) to backup your Registry on the hard drive.

    25. Create a Restore Point • This backs up the registry so you can go back in time if your system has issues due to newly installed software. • It does not protect from hard disk crash.

    26. Create a Restore Point in Windows XP • Start  Programs  Accessories  System Tools  System Restore • Select Create a Restore Point • Next, type a descriptive name, and select Create

    27. Create a Restore Point in Windows XP

    28. Create an Automated System Recovery Set Using Backup • Requires access to external USB or disk drive • Will not work with CD-R/DVD-R • Start Backup in System Programs System Tools Accessories • Advanced Mode • Tools > ASR Wizard • Click checkbox for “System State”

    29. Printer problems Registry Backups Software - Installation Software - Uninstalling Sound problems Speed up your computer Terminology Update device drivers Video problems Viruses Basic Computer Maintenance • Backups • Connecting to Internet • Computer Freezes • Computer Won’t Boot • Create a Startup Disk • Dust • Macintosh Computers • Microsoft Word problems

    30. Printer problems Registry Backups Software - Installation Software - Uninstalling Sound problems Speed up your computer Terminology Update device drivers Video problems Viruses Basic Computer Maintenance • Backups • Connecting to Internet • Computer Freezes • Computer Won’t Boot • Create a Startup Disk • Dust • Macintosh Computers • Microsoft Word problems

    31. Printer problems Registry Backups Software - Installation Software - Uninstalling Sound problems Speed up your computer Terminology Update device drivers Video problems Viruses Basic Computer Maintenance • Backups • Connecting to Internet • Computer Freezes • Computer Won’t Boot • Create a Startup Disk • Dust • Macintosh Computers • Microsoft Word problems

    32. Safe Mode • If Windows will not run correctly you may be able to access the Control Panel and fix problems by using Safe Mode. • Start Safe Mode by: • pressing F8 when the computer is starting up and selecting Safe Mode • or hold down the shift key while the computer is starting up

    33. Check the Device Manager • Click Start Settings Control Panel System, and click on the Device Manager tab. • Note any hardware which has an next to it. • You can also print out the Device Manager information for later use. • Click computer, Properties button to see IRQs and I/O addresses.

    34. Installing Software • Check to make sure that your computer system meets the minimum requirements for the software to be installed. • From Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint: click Help About System Info button • in Microsoft Windows XP: click Start Programs  Accessories  System Tools  System Information

    35. Installing Software • Backup your Registry. • Backup the original files. • Look for README files which can give installation hints and tips.

    36. Installing Software • StartSettingsControl Panel Add/Remove Programs, and click the Install button • or follow the directions in the manual or README file • Once you have started an installation it is best not to cancel / abort it. Instead allow the installation to complete and then uninstall later.

    37. Installing Software • Realize that the more software you install, the greater chance for Windows to become unstable. • After installing the program, and you are sure it works, you should backup your Registry again.

    38. Uninstalling Software • To remove software you may be able to use StartSettingsControl Panel Add/Remove Programs, and click the Add/Remove button. • Read the documentation or README file which came with the program. • Some programs put uninstall programs in the Start menu.

    39. Uninstalling Software • You may find an uninstall program in the directory/folder where the program resides. • If that doesn’t work, find the folder where the program resides and delete it manually. • It is not recommended that you delete any file in the WINDOWS directory or subdirectories.

    40. Create a Startup CD • If your hard disk has a problem you will need a bootable CD.

    41. Inkjet Printer Maintenance • Use a dust cover (an old pillow case works fine) to keep the print heads clean when printer is not in use. • Do not turn off ink jets from a power strip. Allow ink jets to turn off by themselves or the ink cartridges may dry out. • Keep your paper dry by storing it in Tupperware.

    42. Inkjet Printer Quality Issues • Try cleaning the print cartridges using the software which came with the printer. • See the manual or toolbox software which came with your printer. • For a HP DeskJet only: Remove the print cartridges and clean under the carriage with a damp paper towel. Allow to dry completely.

    43. Laser Printer Maintenance • Use a damp cloth to clean up toner spills inside. Let dry completely. • Use a separate electrical outlet. • You can extend the life of toner cartridges by gently shaking them back and forth when they say they are empty. • Replacing toner cartridge fixes most print quality problems.

    44. Laser Printer Paper Jams • Keep your paper dry by storing it in Tupperware or drying it in the microwave. • Do not run paper through a laser printer more than one time. • Check paper path for little pieces of paper. • Clean the printer rollers with 99% alcohol. Allow to dry completely.

    45. Dust: the Enemy of Electronic Equipment • Use a can of compressed air to remove dust from the inside of your computer at least once a year. • Blow out the fan on your computer’s power supply and all vents. • Do not spray compressed air into a floppy diskette drive.

    46. Cleaning Your Mouse • Flip the mouse over and remove the ball. • Wash the ball with warm soapy water, rinse, and let dry. • Use 99% alcohol and cotton swabs to clean off all of the grime. • Use a small screwdriver or your fingernail to clean dirt off of the wheels inside the mouse. • Replace the old dirty mouse pad.

    47. How to Clean a CD-ROM disk • Spray a non-ammonia based window cleaner on the data (not label) side of the CD-ROM. • Use a paper towel or tissue to wipe from the inside to the outside edge of the CD-ROM. • Do not wipe in a circular motion as you would for a vinyl record.

    48. How to Clean a CD-ROM disk • Use a paper towel or tissue to wipe from the inside to the outside edge of the CD-ROM.

    49. If You Cannot Connect to the Internet • Sometimes Internet Service Providers (ISPs) do not have enough connections. Wait 15 minutes and try to connect again. • Try to connect during off-peak hours, i.e. not during the noon hour or in the evening. • Try calling your ISP’s technical support phone number. • See Troubleshooting your modem

    50. Sound Problems • Check the Volume Control on the task bar. • Are the speakers turned on? • Are the speakers plugged into the correct jack? • Does the sound work with headphones? • Check the volume and settings in the Multimedia Control Panel.