How to troubleshoot and fix your computer problems.

Below are articles of interest to help you troubleshoot problems with your computer, or Internet, or web sites. More are being added all the time. The articles available now are:

Pay Attention to Errors
Laptop Issues
Computer Won't Power Up?
Computer Care
Computer Heat
Computer Safe Mode Troubleshooting
Using a Laptop May be Hazardous to Your Health

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Computer Resources
Computers, PC's, Laptops, Software, Peripherals
Troubleshooting
Internet services, ISP's
Hosting
Business Computer Leasing
Webmaster Tools - Site Upload, Optimize Submit
Viruses, Hoaxes, Protection
Computer, Internet, Web and Publisher Services


Pay Attention to Errors

Is your computer coming up with an error, or acting up? When you are having problems with your computer, pay attention to erros that come up. Write them down, and quote them in total to a technician (unless it's a looong run-on list of letters and/or numbers) - write the main part and message down. Often you cannot copy and paste the error, but if you can, all the better. A technician will need to know exactly what the error message is in order to troubleshoot and help you fix the problem. The error message usually contains very specific codes that give the technician information needed to evaluate the situation.

Most of the codes and errors need to be interpreted by a technician. There are only certain ones that you can fully understand on your own. There is a code book that m=needs to be accessed by a technician, specific to your system (whether it's your computer, your operating system, your Internet connection, etc.). You may be able to purchase the troubleshooting and code book if you feel like going it on your own, but chances are you will upgrade your computer eventually and then you will need a new book. Also - there is no guarantee that the problem you have is specific to your computer - it may be attributable to another part of your system.

Find the contact information - phone and email - of the system components of your computer. Know how to get hold of the people who can help you when you are having problems. The computer manufacturer, the Internet service provider, your operating system company, etc.


Laptop Issues

When you have a problem with your laptop, often it can be quite expensive to fix. Laptops are not like a personal computer where you can replace parts that go bad. Most parts are internal to the unit and you cannot get to them easily - so replacing bad parts usually need to be done by a qualified technician. Before that, however, make sure to fully back up all files and programs in your laptop - everything. As a rule - back up every day or every week - make a habit of it. You might want to back up every time you change a file or write a document. Get a USB stick and back up onto it regularly or copy onto disks.

Has your modem gone bad? You can get around this problem by enabling or buying a wireless connection. You'll then have to find a wireless network you cna connect to. You can also buy a card to insert into the laptop which will have a phone connection on it. Look at CompUsa for such a card - they are quite helpful.

Have you lost your screen backlight?

Has your keyboard or mouse gone bad? If the keyboard keys quit working, you can buy a keyboard to use with it, finding the right connection as you have available on your laptop. Same thing for a mouse problem.

Short of these quick, get-by fixes, you'll likely have to get your laptop services by a technician, or replace it.

Perhaps your laptop screen doesn't work. Sometimes it lights up when starting up, then goes black. Sometimes it won't go on at all. Sometimes it works for awhile, then goes black.

Can you see a VERY faint outline of what was on the screen before it went "black"? Chances are your light is still working, if it can start up as lit. It is probably just very dim and you can't really see it. This is annoying, but as long as you don't need to work where there isn't another computer, you can get by with plugging in another computer monitor into the laptop, and use that screen while you need to. Chances are that if you have had the screen go black on you, you have probably shut down the computer improperly. This can cause problems with corruption of files that were open at the time. As soon as your screen goes black, plug in another monitor right away, and at least shut the computer down properly. You might have better luck with the screen if you cool down the computer - place a fan to blow on it or use in a cool air-conditioned room. It may just be overheating - perhaps one of the internal fans is no longer working. Short of this, you'll have to take the laptop to a technician, and have him look at both the back-light and the internal fans. You can also try to run a troubleshooter or return your laptop to a previous day's timeframe (a date prior to the back-light problem starting). It isn't likely to correct this way, but it also cannot hurt, and may be able to un-corrupt files. OR - you can look for another compatible screen and replace the one on your computer. This isn't always a good or possible option - it depends on how the screen connection is configured.


Computer Won't Power Up?

Have you turned on your computer and no image came on the screen, or no iterations were heard? If you cannot get your computer to start up - take note of what you can. Did the fan come on? If it comes on, there is power coming in. If not, you might suspect the power cord, or the power box within the computer. Maybe the outlet at the wall has gone bad. Or your power surge protector may be having a problem. If too many things are plugged into a power supply, it may weaken the power draw and perhaps your computer cannot get enough power. Before you try anything, make sure the computer is always turned off. Try plugging the computer into the wall directly. Does the computer come on?

Does the fan come on but no display on the monitor? Now turn the monitor off, and then unplug it from the back of your computer. Now turn the monitor on. Does it give you a message that there is no source? If so, the monitor is not having a problem. If not, perhaps your computer might be working, but your monitor isn't going to show anything to let you know. If you can try another monitor, plug it in.

If still nothing, try to isolate power from the computer. Unplug the power cord from the back of the computer. Then hold the power button down for about 20 seconds. This will allow the computer to discharge any electical back-up or hold - and perhaps it can allow a re-set of the system. Now plug the computer in (straight into a wall plug) and try to turn it on. If it works, you've just saved a trip to the repair shop. If not, there could be a more serious problem (there could be a bad mother board or a logic board - a mother board goes through its start-up iterations and may get "stuck" at some point, perhaps at the time it checks the monitor - and cannot go forward). If it does work, go through the entire system and unplug things from the power strips, and unplug from the wall socket. Let it discharge and reset. Do this for each part of your system, and then plug back in. You will put your system back on with all electrical situations reset and discharged. If it doesn't work, call a technician. Consider the cost of a repair (labor and parts) and compare to the cost of a new computer. You might just be able to take your hard drive from the old computer and add into a new computer (make one a slave and one a master) - you won't even lose your data unless the hard drive is having problems.

About the author: P. Roe troubleshoots and repairs computers and websites. Subscribe free to "Wise Little Tidbits" at http://www.doubleii.com/subscriptioninfo.html to help you troubleshoot, repair and optimize your computer and websites.
More articles at http://doubleii.com/articlesreports.htm


Computer Care

Regularly blow compressed air through the inside of the computer, or put your vacuum on exhaust (after you clean the vacuum filter so you don't blow stuff out the exhaust) and blow - it will get the dust build-up off so the laptop won't overheat as easily.

Make sure you turn the computer off by shutting down using your START button - don't just turn it off.

If your computer gets stuck, hit CTRL-ALT-DEL and shut down any programs running one at a time, or if you cannot shut anything down, then manually turn the computer off and leave off for at least a minute so it can reset itself. Don't try a "RESTART" - it needs to stay off to refigure itself out and clear out problems.

Don't download anything unless you know what it is, and who is sending it - you can get a virus so easily. Also - you might want to look at your cookies occasionally and see if you want certain sites to have cookies on your computer.

Laptops

Take good care of your laptop - use it off of blankets - make sure not to ever cover the airholes.

Don't keep it plugged in with the battery - the battery will lose life being left on this way for long. Do let the rechargeable battery run all the way down or most of the way down, and then recharge all the way - that is best for battery life, unless it's a lithium ion battery.

Don't leave it plugged in unattended - some can get quite hot, enough to cause a fire.

Regularly blow compressed air through the laptop airholes, or put your vacuum on exhaust (after you clean the vacuum filter so you don't blow stuff out the exhaust) and blow - it will get the dust build-up off so the laptop won't overheat as easily.

About the author: P. Roe troubleshoots and repairs computers and websites. Subscribe free to "Wise Little Tidbits" http://www.doubleii.com/subscriptioninfo.html to help you troubleshoot, repair and optimize your computer and websites.
More articles at http://doubleii.com/articlesreports.htm


Relief for your back & neck when using a laptop, and eliminate the heat.
Laptops are ergonomically awful - the screen and keyboard aren't in the right places to keep yourself healthy - you have to lean over to work with it, and then there is the problem of heat - which can and does cause other health problems. One wonderful invention is the LapGenie - it is an adjustable desk to set your laptop into the best position it can be. It folds up for easy travel, and has many other uses. Check it out. It's made a huge difference to me and a lot of people. Highly recommended!


Computer Safe Mode Troubleshooting

If your computer is acting very sluggish,and you have tried to reboot (fully shutting it off for at least one minute and then re-starting), but it won't start up correctly (if at all) you can try to straighten it out by opting for it to start in "safe mode" it will be limited in what you can do, but it will allow you to troubleshoot and perhaps save some data.

Right now while your computer is acting correctly, go to START, HELP and then put "safe mode" in the index search box. See how it tells you to start safe mode it may say to hit F8 as the Windows screen is coming up. I recommend that you hit whichever key it tells you, every second while starting up so you will not miss the opportunity. Then pick the "safe mode" option of starting up - this will get you to the limited mode.

You will not be able to use your drivers and other features, but you can run your troubleshooter. Go to START, HELP and put "troubleshoot" in the index search box. Then choose the scenario that best describes your situation. Make note of what it tells you to do, since it is unlikely that you can print it out. Then follow those instructions as written.

Once you run the troubleshooter, start the computer back up in "normal mode" if the choice comes up, and see if your problem is takes care of. There might still be a little work to do in some cases, like perhaps removing your modem and then having Windows detect it as new hardware and re-installing the driver (if your modem connection will not work).

The "safe mode" trick is invaluable as a troubleshooting and repair resource. Remember it!

About the author: P. Roe troubleshoots and repairs computers and websites. Subscribe free to "Wise Little Tidbits" http://www.doubleii.com/subscriptioninfo.html to help you troubleshoot, repair and optimize your computer and websites.
More articles at http://doubleii.com/articlesreports.htm


Computer Heat


By Pauliina Roe,
http://www.doubleii.com/WiseLittleTidbitsNewsletter.htm

Your computer will operate better when the temperature is colder - not hotter. That is why rooms with computers are usually heavily air-conditioned.

The optimum temperature of a computer is said to be between 60-85 degrees in the room. The inside of the computer can be 40 degrees hotter than the room temperature, and circuit boards are safe up to 125 degrees and the hrad disks can fail at 110 degrees, so make sure to cool down the room the computer is in.

If the computer is in a hot room, it can get too hot - and the heat can corrode chips and other parts on the circuit board, while your hard disk may crash.

Make sure to have a good fan inside the computer - see that it is spinning fast, and not erratically or slowly. Replace it if needed - sometimes the bearings fail, and sometimes dust build-up cause them to fail.

Blow your computer dust out with a blast of compressed air, or clean vacuum air in reverse flow. That will help knock the dust off of components, which keep heat building up inside the computer.

Watch the room temperature, and take care to keep the computer insides clean, with a good fan.

About the author: P. Roe troubleshoots and repairs computers and websites. Subscribe free to "Wise Little Tidbits" http://www.doubleii.com/subscriptioninfo.html to help you troubleshoot, repair and optimize your computer and websites.
More articles at http://doubleii.com/articlesreports.htm


Using a Laptop May be Hazardous to Your Health

Laptops are not designed to be very user-friendly. Sure - laptops can function very much like your desktop computer - and can be used and taken almost anywhere. But - are they good for you?

Laptops typically run hot - how comfortable is this when placed on your lap? Not only can some laptops get hot enough to scald you, but they can get hot enough to affect or threaten fertility in men. This can happen whether the laptop is running via battery power, or if it is plugged in (some laptops, when plugged into an AC circuit, can get so hot that a fire can begin). You may be able to lessen some of the heat by regularly blowing air through the laptop vent holes, to knock off the dust accumulation and build-up, which can keep it running hot. This won't keep it cool, however - the laptop will still get plenty warm. You need a buffer between you and your laptop.

If you notice soreness, tightening or stiffening of your neck, arm, wrist or back - suspect your laptop. You may be bending over in an awkward position in order to see the screen, and the keyboard is not in an optimal position for your arms or wrists. Using a laptop can cause arm and wrist discomfort (and can aggravate Carpal Tunnel Syndrome).

Just as you should try to position your desktop in the best ergonomic position, you should also try to position your laptop in the best ergonomic position. The screen should be at eye level or as close as possible, not making you look down at the screen. The keyboard should be as close to parallel to your elbow level as possible, so your wrist will be straight ahead of the elbow, parallel to the floor (or if you are reclined, perpendicular to your upper body). You can position the laptop somewhat better on a desk or table, but optimally you need to prop the screen up higher than meeting at the keyboard level - and thankfully laptops do allow folding beyond the 90 degree angle. The problem is now figuring out how to prop the back of the laptop higher. Your best bet is to invest in a laptop desk that will allow you to easily position your laptop into the best ergonomic configuration.

A good laptop desk will be adjustable, so you can prop the laptop at a good angle for doing your work on it. You should be able to place the keyboard in a good position for your arms and wrist, but also raise the screen higher to as close to eye level as possible. Not only will you take care of the positioning of the laptop, but you will be able to raise the laptop off of your lap, so the heat will not cause discomfort. Laptops are a great invention, allowing you to take your work anywhere, but they just weren't built with an optimal, ergonomic design.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Pauliina Roe has always looked for the most healthy options in products. She represents the LapGenie laptop desk, which is by far the best solution she has found for laptop comfort. More information can be found at http://doubleii.com/LapGenie.html

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