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Frequently Asked Questions

Computer Troubleshooting Frequently Asked Questions

Printing Questions/Problems

Sent print job to printer but nothing happens
How do I to stop a print job?
Laser printer prints light or dark streaks

Windows and Miscellaneous Questions/Problems

My computer will not turn on
I lost my file
How do I use a USB drive?
My computer is locking up
A blue screen appears saying there has been a fatal error
I have lost my work because of a computer lock-up or shut down
I have lost my Windows task bar (The one with "Start" on it)
Machine comes up in "Safe Mode"
Letters keep getting replaced in front of my typing
Taskbar is too big
Why can't I hear my audio?
My computer won't recognize drives
My computer has a virus
A virus on email or external data thumb drive 
How-to articles from Microsoft (on Excel, Word, PowerPoint)


Problem - Sent a print job to the printer, but nothing happened.

Solutions:

  • Printer is out of ink/toner (20% of all printer problems are caused by this)
  • Paper problems: printer is out of paper / paper jam/paper will not load (40-50% of printer problems are caused by one of these problems) 
  • Make sure printer cable is plugged into printer and computer (disconnect and reconnect it again) you can not tell this just by looking at it.
  • Make sure you are printing to the correct printer. Your print job can easily be sent to somebody else's printer.
  • Turn off computer and printer, wait 10-15 seconds, and turn it back on. Like a person computers and printers can get confused and this will clear out the memory.
  • Make sure printer is plugged into power and turned on.
  • Make sure surge protector is turned on.
  • If it is a network printer and none of the above steps worked then please submit a technology ticket and the technology department will work on the problem
  • If it is a personal USB or Serial printer and none of the above steps worked the technology department does not provide support for these printers. Owners should reference the owner’s manual of their printer and contact the manufacturer for support.

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Problem How do I stop a print job?

Solution

  • Right-Click on the Print icon in the system tray (bottom right-hand corner near the clock)
  • Choose the printer that that you have in operation and double click on it.
  • In menu bar, click on Printer to get drop down menu.
  • Choose "Pause Printing" to stop print job (It will not stop immediately)
  • To remove print job, click on "Purge Print Documents"
  • Click on "Pause Printing" to remove check mark so that printer is back in operation mode

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Problem Laser printer prints light or dark streaks

Solution:

  • Remove toner cartridge and rock back and forth several times this will even out the toner (indicates the cartridge is low and needs to be replaced soon)

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Problem - My computer will not turn on

Solution:

  • Disconnect power cord from back of computer and reconnect after 20 seconds.
  • Flip switch in back of computer to 1.
  • Make sure electricity is getting to computer (surge protector is turned on, outlet has power to it, everything is plugged in, etc.)

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Problem - I lost my file

Solution:

  • Go to Start And then to Search
  • Click on "All Files and Folders"
  • Type in the lost file's name
  • Click on "Search"

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Problem - How do I use a USB thumb drive or external drive?

Solution:

  • Open My Computer and see which drives are shown. Most computers, for example, have a hard disk such as a C: drive and a few removable storage devices such as a floppy drive, a CD-ROM drive, and perhaps a zip drive.
  • Insert the flash drive into the USB port and watch to see where the USB flash drive appears. Most will appear as removable storage, but some will instead appear as hard drives. Note the name Windows is using to refer to the flash drive ("Removable Disk (G:)," for example).
  • Open My Documents or the location from which you want to transfer files to the flash drive. Select the files or folders you want to save to the flash drive by left-clicking on them. To select more than one, hold down the CTRL key while you click and select all of the files you wish to save.
  • Right-click on the file(s) or folder(s) you selected, then select Send to, then select the name you saw appearing in My Computer for the flash drive ("Removable Disk (G:)," for example).
  • When the copying is finished, do not immediately remove the flash drive from the USB port. Instead, left-click on the Remove Hardware icon located in the System Tray. A window containing a list of the USB devices will appear. Left-click on the Safely Remove Mass Storage Device line that matches your flash drive (for example, Safely Remove Mass Storage Device - Drive(G:)).
  • When you see the following message appear in the bottom left toolbar, it is, as it says, safe to remove the flash drive from the USB port; you may close the message or ignore it, as it will close itself automatically.

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Problem - My computer is locking up

  • Screensaver problems
  • Too many applications open at once
  • There is a multitude of other possibilities

Solution:

  • Ctrl-Alt-Del and then select - End Task
  • Continue doing Ctrl-Alt-Del until computer unlocks
  • It may be necessary to shut down the computer and reboot to get it to unlock.
  • You may need to defragment your computer's physical (hard) drives. Make sure no other programs are open (NOTE: Your virus protection must be turned off during this process. It normally has an icon on the right side of your bottom toolbar. Double click the icon. When the window appears, click "disable" and leave the window up while running the defragmentation program. When the defragmentation process is done, click "enable" and close the window.) Go to "programs", then to "accessories", and then to "system tools", and the click on "disk defragmenter". When window comes up, make sure all physical drives are highlighted (c drive and any other drive marked as physical). Click "okay" and process will begin. The time will vary from 5 minutes to as much as an hour to defragment your hard drive(s).
  • If problem persists on a regular basis, seek technical support

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Problem - A blue screen appears saying there has been a fatal error

  • The computer has become confused for any number of reasons

Solution:

  • Follow instructions on screen
  • Note: It is suggested that you reboot your machine to make sure there are no glitches within the program even if the program reappears.

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Problem - I have lost my work because of a computer lock-up or shut down

  • Is Auto Backup setting selected?
  • File may be in Temp or My Documents as .bk or .bak file
  • It may be gone forever.

Solution:

  • Check Temp or My Documents folders to see if a back-up file was created
  • Save file on a regular basis or set Auto Back-up. (In the Microsoft Word program, go to "options" under "Tools" on the program "menu bar" and click on it. Open the tab marked "save". In the "save" folder, make sure "Save Auto recover info every:" is checked and then set the number minutes you want it to do an autosave.)

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Problem - Program won't open a document

  • Different version of program running (i.e. Microsoft office 2000/Microsoft Office 1997)
  • Different application was used (Word Perfect vs. Microsoft Word)

Solution:

  • If you are using a newer version or a different application and want to access it on an older version or different application, you must save it as that version or application.
  • Do a "Save As" and then check the drop down menu next to "Save as Type" to see if the older version or different application is there.
  • Save your file as that version or application.
  • The newer version or different application should be able to read the older version or different application, but if you do a "Save or Save As" it may ask if you want to upgrade the old version or change the application.

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Problem - My icons have disappeared

  • Someone may have deleted the icon from the desktop
  • There may be a glitch in Windows

Solution:

  • Shut down Windows and reboot in case there was a glitch in the system
  • Go to Start and then to "Programs". To create and Shortcut, place the cursor on the program, right click, and select "send to" and then "desktop".

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Problem - I have lost my Windows task bar (The one with "Start" on it)

  • You accidentally hid your task bar, or someone did it.
  • You may have clicked on it, got the double arrows, and without realizing it, shoved it down until it was not visible.

Solution:

  • Option 1: Go to bottom, top, or sides of the desktop screen with cursor arrow. The taskbar should reappear. Right click on the taskbar. The taskbar menu should appear. Click on "properties". In the new window that appears, make sure that "Auto hide" is not checked. If it is, click on the box to remove it.
  • Option 2: Go down to the bottom, top, or sides of the desktop and see if double arrows appear. Holding your left mouse button down, drag the taskbar out. Release your left mouse button and your taskbar should reappear.

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Problem - Machine comes up in "Safe Mode"

  • Machine may have been improperly shut down several times
  • Safe Mode appears in all four corners
  • Printing, networking and some other functions will not work

Solution:

  • Problem can usually be fixed by going through the shutdown process and rebooting.
  • If this does not work, you probably have a problem that will need technical assistance

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Problem - Letters keep getting replaced in front of my typing

  • Insert key has been pressed

Solution:

  • Press "insert key" again.

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Problem - Taskbar is too big

  • You must have caught the bar and enlarged it without knowing.

Solution:

  • Place cursor on top edge of taskbar until you get a line with arrows on both ends.
  • Holding your left mouse button, slide your mouse down and it will make your taskbar smaller.
  • When you have reached the size you want, release the left mouse button.

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Problem - I cannot read my school email on my home computer

  • Your browser does not support Webaccess.
  • You are using the wrong password

Solution:

  • Use Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Mozilla Firefox (http://mozilla.com) to check your mail.
  • If using AOL, sign on to the internet, minimize AOL, then open one of these browsers and check your mail.

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Problem - Why can't I hear my audio?

  • Audio has been turned off, or is set on a low volume.
  • Sound card may not be installed

Solution:

  • Make certain the machine has a sound card in it.
  • Left click on the little speaker located at the bottom left-hand side of your taskbar and adjust the volume. If you double click on the icon, it will produce a volume control list for everything. Make sure "mute" is not checked.
  • If there is no speaker on your taskbar, go to Start menu and then to programs and then to accessories and then to entertainment and then to volume control. The volume control list should appear. Follow above directions.

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Problem - I placed a new program CD in my drive, but it did not automatically come up, or drive was not recognized

  • It may take a little time for the CD to begin reading. Hit retry.
  • The CD may be damaged
  • The program may not load automatically

Solution:

  • Go to the Start menu and then click on "Run". When the Run window appears, click on browse. Choose the D drive (or the one that reads your CD). Look for a file that ends in setup, execute, or install (these words my be abbreviated)
  • Double click on the file and it should be displayed next to "open" in the "Run" window.
  • Click okay and the program should begin to install.

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Problem - Computer says I have a virus

  • Virus protection software has picked up a virus.

Solution:

  • Run AVG for Windows. (right-click the avg icon on your taskbar, click "launch test center", click "scan computer")  If you are on your home computer then you can download a free personal version of AVG at http://free.grisoft.com.
  • Go to the virus vault after the scan has completed.  Select all viruses in the vault by clicking the first one, holding shift and selecting the last one.  Then press the wipe button (white eraser).
  • Reboot computer and run another scan to see if it identifies any additional viruses

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Problem - My computer won't recognize drives

  • Possible virus has removed drives (especially the CD drive)
  • Glitch may have occurred

Solution:

  • Reboot computer.
  • If drives still do not appear, get technical support

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Problem - A virus on email or on an external disk 

You do not have a virus protection program, or you have not updated the program.

  • Computer has a virus that was not recognized by your virus protection.
  • If it was received by e-mail there might not be a problem with your computer. Many viruses fake e-mail addresses by looking in the user's address book.

Solution:

  • Run AVG for Windows. (right-click the avg icon on your taskbar, click "launch test center", click "scan computer")  If you are on your home computer then you can download a free personal version of AVG at http://free.grisoft.com.
  • Go to the virus vault after the scan has completed.  Select all viruses in the vault by clicking the first one, holding shift and selecting the last one.  Then press the wipe button (white eraser).
  • Reboot computer and run another scan to see if it identifies any additional virus.

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