Troubleshooting Your Computer By Charles E. Skinner

When you've started troubleshooting your computer, write down each step you take. This way, you'll be able to remember exactly what you'be done and can avoid repeating the same mistakes. Write down the error messages you've received. You always need to check the cables of the computer. And if all else fails, restart your computer. A good way to find the problem is the process of elimination. You should make a list of things that could be causing the problem and test them one by one to eliminate them.

Problem: Power button will not start computer

Solution 1: If your computer does not start, begin by checking the power cord to confirm that it is plugged securely into the back of the computer case and the power outlet.

Solution 2: If it is plugged into an outlet, make sure it is a working outlet. To check your outlet, you can plug in another electrical device, such as a lamp.

Solution 3: If the computer is plugged in to a surge protector, verify that it is turned on. You may have to reset the surge protector by turning it off and then back on. You can also plug a lamp or other device into the surge protector to verify that it's working correctly.

Problem: An Application Is Running Slowly

Solution 1: Close and reopen the application.

Solution 2: Update the application. To do this, click the Help menu and look for an option to check for Updates. If you don't find this option, another idea is to run an online search for application updates.

Problem: All Programs On the Computer Run Slow

Solution 1: Run a virus scanner. You may have malware running in the background that is slowing things down.

Solution 2: Your computer may be running out of hard drive space. Try deleting any files or programs you don't need.

Solution 3: If you're using a PC, you can run Disk Defragmenter. To learn more about Disk Defragmenter, check out our lesson on Protecting Your Computer.

Problem: The Computer is Frozen

Solution 1 (Windows only): Restart Windows Explorer. To do this, press and hold Ctrl+Alt+Delete on your keyboard to open the Task Manager. Next, locate and select Windows Explorer from the Processes tab and click Restart. You may need to click More Details at the bottom of the window to see the Processes tab.

Solution 2 (Mac only): Restart Finder. To do this, press and hold Command+Option+Esc on your keyboard to open the Force Quit Applications dialog box. Next, locate and select Finder, then click Relaunch.

Solution 3: Press and hold the Power button. The Power button is usually located on the front or side of the computer, typically indicated by the power symbol. Press and hold the Power button for 5 to 10 seconds to force the computer to shut down.

Solution 4: If the computer still won't shut down, you can unplug the power cable from the electrical outlet. If you're using a laptop, you may be able to remove the battery to force the computer to turn off. Note: This solution should be your last resort after trying the other suggestions above.

Problem: The Mouse or Keyboard Has Stopped Working

Solution 1: If you're using a wired mouse or keyboard, make sure it's correctly plugged into the computer.

Solution 2: If you're using a wireless mouse or keyboard, make sure it's turned on and that its batteries are charged.

Problem: The Sound Isn't Working

Solution 1: Check the volume level. Click the audio button in the top-right or bottom-right corner of the screen to make sure the sound is turned on and that the volume is up.

Solution 2: Check the audio player controls. Many audio and video players will have their own separate audio controls. Make sure the sound is turned on and that the volume is turned up in the player.

Solution 3: Check the cables. Make sure external speakers are plugged in, turned on, and connected to the correct audio port or a USB port. If your computer has color-coded ports, the audio output port will usually be green.

Solution 4: Connect headphones to the computer to find out if you can hear sound through the headphones.

Problem: The Screen Is Blank

Solution 1: The computer may be in Sleep mode. Click the mouse or press any key on the keyboard to wake it.

Solution 2: Make sure the monitor is plugged in and turned on.

Solution 3: Make sure the computer is plugged in and turned on.

Solution 4: If you're using a desktop, make sure the monitor cable is properly connected to the computer tower and the monitor.

When trying to solve more difficult problems, I recommend searching the web for information first. And if that doesn't work, you need to consult a professional.

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