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This page contains answers to common questions along with some tips and tricks

that may be useful.

What do I do if...

1. the computer locks up and/or is acting weird?


2. the computer is completely dead?
3. the keyboard doesn't work?
4. the mouse doesn't work?
5. the computer displays a disk error or non-system disk message?
6. the computer starts up in "safe mode"?
7. the printer doesn't work?

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the computer locks up and/or is acting weird?

1. If the computer is frozen and will not respond to any commands, it may be
necessary to press Ctrl + Alt + Del (all three keys at the same time) to bring up
the Task List. Select any program that says "Not responding" and click the End
Task button. Repeat until all tasks are ended. If this does not work, turn the
computer off, wait several seconds, turn the computer back on, and let the
computer run the Scandisk.

2. Reboot it. A majority of problems that occur while you are using your
computer can be fixed by rebooting. 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 reboot, 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 reboots, it fixes most of these small problems.
Therefore, restarting the computer periodically while working can help reduce the
risk of glitches.
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the computer is completely dead?

Check all the connections, the cables between the CPU and the monitor and all
the electrical cables. Check the wall socket or surge strip to see if they are
bad (sometimes a surge strip will have good and bad outlets). If you have a green
light on your monitor but not on your CPU, then there is a problem with your CPU.
If there is a green light on your CPU and not your monitor, then you have a
problem with your monitor and your CPU may be fine. If you have another monitor
that you know is good, the quickest way to test is to put another monitor on the
machine and see if you get an image on the screen. If you have a light on both
the monitor and the CPU, check the pins of the data cable between the monitor and
the CPU. A single bent pin can cause an image problem.
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the keyboard doesn't work?

1. Press Ctrl + Alt + Del (all three keys at the same time) to bring up the
Task List. Select any program that says "Not responding" and click the End Task
button. Repeat until all tasks are ended. Check periodically to see if the
keyboard will work.

2. Check to make sure the keyboard is still properly connected to the


computer. If the keyboard has been disconnected, you may have to reboot your
computer.

3. If all else fails, then turn the power off. Wait a couple of minutes
before turning the computer back on.

Special Note

One of the dirtiest parts of your computer is the keyboard. Regular cleaning
will help keep the keyboard working properly. First, blow compressed air through
the spaces in between the keys to remove dust and lint. If you shake your
keyboard upside-down this will also remove some of the particles.

Another keyboard problem that could occur is when you turn your computer on
and you get a message that no keyboard was detected or you get into Windows but
are not able to type. Remove the keyboard connector for the CPU, examine the pins
in the connector to ensure they are straight, then reinsert the connector. Also,
check and make sure the mouse and keyboard connectors have not been switched. If
the keyboard still doesn�t work try connecting, another keyboard that you know is
working. This will determine if you need a new keyboard or if you have a CPU
problem.

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the mouse doesn't work?

Check to make sure the mouse is still properly connected to the computer. If
the mouse has been disconnected, you may have to reboot your computer.

Like the keyboard, the mouse pad is sitting in the open most of the time
getting dusty, wet, slimed, or anything else that happens on you desktop. The
mouse then rolls over whatever has collected on the mouse pad and gets inside,
gumming up the works. To clean the mouse pad, wipe it off occasionally with a
damp cloth or get a new one.

You also need to clean your mouse regularly, as often as twice a week. If you
turn your mouse over, you�ll notice a round ball with a cover over it. This cover
can be twisted off and the ball will come out. Roll the ball on a clean, lint
free cloth. Then take a look at the rollers inside the mouse. Take tweezers, a
screwdriver, or even your fingernail to scratch the dirt and lint off the rods.
Next, you should look inside the mouse and clean out any other dirt or lint that
is hiding in there. Finally, replace the ball and twist back on the cover.

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the computer displays a disk error or non-system disk message?

1. You may have left a disk in the A drive. Remove it and press any key on
the keyboard to reboot the computer.

2. If you don�t have a disk in the A drive, and the message is accompanied by
a "clunking" sound, turn the computer off and send for a technician.
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the computer starts up in "safe mode"?

At times your computer could develop a problem which causes you machine to
boot up in what is called "safe mode". The easiest way to try and solve this
problem is to run a "scandisk".

1. Click on Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and Scandisk.

2. Place a check on "Automatically fix errors".

3. When Scandisk finishes, reboot your computer to see if this fixed the
problem.

4. If the computer still boots up in the Safe Mode, click on Start, Programs,
Accessories, System Tools, and Disk Defragmenter. If you receive the message "You
don't need to defragment this drive now", continue with the process anyway.

5. When Disk Defragmenter is finished, reboot your computer to see if this


fixed the problem.

6. If the computer still starts up in safe mode, you need to contact a


computer technician.
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the printer doesn't work?

If the printer will not print at all, you need to determine if the printer
itself will not work or if it is not receiving a print message from the computer.

1. Many models have a built-in self test option which allows you to print a
test page by holding down the feed button for a few seconds. The power button
will begin to flash and a test page will print. If the printer self test fails,
your problem is with the printer itself rather than the printer cable or computer.
Should this occur, you should contact a technician.

2. If the printer self test prints, the next step is to have Windows print a
test page. Click on Start, Settings, Printers, and right click on the icon of the
printer with the problem. Select properties and press the Print Test Page button.
If the test page fails to print, make sure the printer cable is firmly seated in
both the computer and the printer. You should also check the ends of the printer
cable to make sure that none of the prongs are bent. If the test print fails, or
if the print consists of nonsense characters or a few characters printed over many
pages, you need to uninstall then reinstall the drivers for your printer.

Paper feed problems and jams can often be resolved by using paper which
conforms with the specifications provided by the printer manufacturer. On ink jet
printers, the rubber rolls which pick up each sheet can sometimes become coated
with paper residue which decreases the friction. Cleaning off the residue can
sometimes solve paper feed problems.

Special Note

If your ink jet printer is making a banging or grating noise, you need to
clean two areas of the printer.
1. Some models of ink jet printers have a gray colored narrow plastic film
which extends almost the whole width of the printer just behind the rod on which
the print head travels. If this film gets dirty, the print heads can have
problems determining where it is and can crash against the end of the printer.
Use tissue or soft cloth to clean this strip.

2. The printer head moves across a rod that can also become dirty. With the
printer power on, raise the front of the printer and clean the rod with a paper
towel. Put the front of the printer back down and turn off the printer. This
time when you lift the front of the printer, the printer heads will move across
the rod. This will allow you to clean the part of the rod that was covered when
you cleaned it the first time. If you spray the paper towel with WD-40, this will
do a better job of cleaning the rod.

As the printer gets older, it may become necessary to perform these two
cleaning jobs at least once a week.
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