Basic Trouble-Shooting Handouts
2. †Shut It Down
3.† Using Safe Mode
4.† Virus Check
5.† Find the Culprit
Check all the plugs and cables both to and from the computer, printer, scanner, and other pieces of hardware.
Is everything plugged in properly?† Don't just look at the cables, push them in and make sure they are completely seated. Make sure you check each cord, including the monitor. Make sure the power cord is plugged in to the surge suppressor; the surge suppressor is plugged into the wall.
Check that the surge suppressor and computer switches are both in the "on" position. If it still won't power up, plug a lamp into the surge suppressor and wall outlets to make sure they both are getting power.
2. Shut It Down.
Shut your computer off and wait one minute before restarting. Sometimes that is all that is needed to restore a finicky, misbehaving machine to normal.
Oddly many problems can be corrected by simply rebooting your system. Rebooting in many instances is a good place to start.
Exit all applications.
Perform a shutdown on your system.
Cycle the power to your system including peripherals. (Off, wait 10 count, on.)
After the reboot, test the system to see if the problem still exists.
3.† Using Safe Mode.
Safe Mode is essentially a limited, or minimal version of Windows that loads when your PC is having problems. Thankfully, in many situations Windows is smart enough to know when a problem has occurred and will automatically start in Safe Mode (or at least give you the option to start in Safe Mode) the next time you restart.
The idea of Safe Mode, however, is to let you do things like install driver updates or make other software changes (such as changing references to start up files, as discussed earlier) while in a familiar Windows environment. Once youíve made your changes, you can restart the machine and check to make sure that everything works.
In safe mode, the only startup programs that are loaded are the operating system and drivers for the mouse, keyboard and standard VGA display modes. Safe mode does not run the autoexe.bat or config.sys files. The main portion of the Registry is not loaded
3.† Using Safe Mode.† (continued)
To start Windows 95, 98, 2000, Me, or XP in safe mode:
1.On the Windows taskbar, click Start, and then choose Shut Down.
2.Choose Restart or Restart the Computer, and then click OK or Yes.
3.While your computer is restarting, hold down the Ctrl key (or the F8 key in Windows 95) until the Windows Startup menu opens.
4.Use the arrow keys to select Safe Mode and press Enter.
5.Click OK in the safe mode message window.
To start Windows NT in VGA mode:
On the Windows taskbar, click Start, and then choose Shut Down.
1.Choose Restart or Restart the Computer, and then click OK or Yes.
2.Select VGA Mode and press Enter.
If you are unable to start your computer in safe or VGA mode using the methods outlined above, try the following: for Advanced Users only please
†On the Windows taskbar, click Start, and then choose Shut Down.
1.Choose Restart in MS-DOS mode, and then click OK.
2.Type win /d:m and press Enter.
4. Virus Check.
Make sure your anti-virus software is up to date and all of those updates have been applied. Each of the major anti-virus manufacturers usually release updates at least once a week. Download and apply these updates as they are released. This will ensure that your software is always "aware" of the newest virus threats.†† That's important since every month dozens - if not hundreds - of new viruses are found. Older software may pick up a newer version of an old virus but the newest, unseen viruses can sneak by and infect your machine.†††††††††
4. Virus Check.† (continued)
After you are sure your anti-virus software is updated, do a full scan of your system to see if a virus is the cause of your trouble. Up to date anti-virus programs should take care of most viruses.
If your anti-virus program will not install or run, a virus may have damaged your computer. Some of the newer viruses are smart enough to disable out-of-date anti-virus software. If you can't get it to run, you may need to bring your PC in for virus removal/repair.
5. Find the Culprit.
If only one program is misbehaving, try reinstalling that one program from the original installation disk. Doing this is usually safe, but it is still a good idea to at least back up your important data, if not all of it.
Did your problem start right after you installed a new program or device (a scanner, digital camera, printer, etc.)? If so, try removing the program or device.
If youíve added anything new and your computer isnít working right, you can remove it.† Hereís how:
To remove a program click on Start>Settings>Control Panel> and select "Add/Remove Programs." Select the program you wish to remove from your computer, and then click the "Add/Remove" button. When removal is complete, you may get a message telling you to restart your computer. If you don't get such a message, it is still a good idea to restart anyway.