Computer Troubleshooting













What should you do first?

The best way to trouble shoot a computer is too use deductive reasoning. Which is? Process of elimination!

Check the connections:
Make sure all your connections are secure. If your mouse is not working or your keyboard or any of your peripherals, first thing you should check is the connections. Monitor not working? Try the connections sometimes they just get jarred loose or maybe kitty has been playing!

Sometimes a simple Cntrl-Alt-Delete will get you out of a screen freeze. Other times you may have to just shut the power off (last resort). Wait about 1 minute and power it back up. A computer crash as it is called can be a screen freeze (the mouse cursor will not move or it will move but do nothing) or you will get the blue screen of death as it is called "That one is pretty self explanatory you'll know it when you see it". Don't be alarmed if you have to power your computer down by shutting the power off (some computers you have to push in and hold the power button until it shuts off. It could take from 10-30 seconds) Do not just unplug it and plug it in because you risk power surges. Just press and hold the power button! When you power back up windows will automatically run a scan disk for errors, this is normal.

Try to narrow it down:
What was the last thing you did ask yourself. Was it software that you installed? If so uninstall it and try it again. Windows basically runs programs from DLL files. Which stands for Dynamic Link Library. DLL's operate like mini programs within windows and programs that are installed on you computer. Every time you install or uninstall a program these DLL files get changed or can be altered and if one gets configured incorrectly your PC can start doing some crazy things. I once had win95 completely stop working because of a missing DLL file. The message that came up every time I tried to boot up was something like(Error missing xxxx.dll file can not start windows. I eventually had to reinstall the operating system.

Drivers and Software Patches:
Do you have the latest drivers for your video card and sound card? How about the latest direct x drivers installed? (a driver is software that makes hardware work) "Its a bit more complicated then that but its as easy an explanation I can provide without writing a book!" If you are a gamer or you have just installed a new game or any type of software for that matter. "Games seem to be more prone to problems speaking from experience". Then go to the software companies web site and see if there are any patches or fixes for your newly acquired software. A patch is a fix for bugs in software that were discovered after the release of the software. Just about all software you purchase will eventually have patches released so you should check the software companies website regularly. I once purchased and installed a game that crashed and froze up my computer every time I tried to stop playing the game. Drove myself and several hundred other people (who knows) nuts until the patch was released. The programmers had the customers who bought and were playing the game working with them via ICQ and email trying to isolate the problem because they could not replicate it under controlled settings. After about a week they finally got a handle on it and released the patch that fixed it. A valuable lesson learned by the company not to rush release on (not yet ready for prime time software)! "They ticked allot of people off". Usually a patch is relatively small 1-2mb which you download (See
How To Download ) then install it by just double clicking on it and boom fixed, very simple!

Safe Mode:
Starting in safe mode allows you to run your computer with the minimal amount of drivers utilizing only your mouse, keyboard, and monitor. It will help in troubleshooting because all other programs that are normally running in the background are shut down. You can run diagnostic software, virus scan software, while in safe mode. You can also defragment your hard drive and run a scan disk in safe mode if for some reason you are unable too in regular boot up. See
Maintaining Your PC for a detailed explanation of these Windows applications.

How to get into Safe Mode:
In many crashes, Windows asks you if you want to reboot into safe mode. . Why use safe mode? If the computer works fine in safe mode (remember the CD-ROM doesn't work in safe mode -- that's not a problem) that narrows down the problem to one of conflicting software. Remember in Safe Mode your computer will not look the same because of the minimum drivers it is using.

Start Windows in safe mode For Windows 95:
Restart your computer (Start > Shut Down > Restart); When you see the message "Starting Windows 95" Hold down the F8 key; A menu of startup options will appear. Choose Safe Mode. (You have to press it at just the right moment on both win95-98 so you may miss it a few times)

For Windows 98:
Hold down the Ctrl key while restarting (Start >Shut Down > Restart); Release the Ctrl key when you see the Desktop dialog box that indicates Windows 98 is running in safe mode. You can also press F5 to get into safe mode if you're just turning on the computer. If none of these seem to work (they should) get out your trusty manual that came with your computer and look up safe mode and it will give you some recommendation's on starting in safe mode.

Getting out of Safe Mode:
Very simple just restart your computer and away you go.

When all else fails:
Call tech support if you haven't already but its more fun to try and fix it on you own after all that's how you learn and the more you learn the more control you will feel you have over your Personal Confuser.....

For tips on the Maintenance and Upkeep on your Computer please see:
Maintaining Your PC

Having problems with your PC? Here are some tips that may help you.



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Lets Talk Ram:
Ram (Random-access Memory) Ram is the memory that stores running programs. Accessing the program through the RAM rather then having to go to the hard drive each and every time, speeding up the process as a whole. Windows uses RAM, when you surf the Internet your browser is using RAM. Every application that you run uses RAM. The Game QuakeIII is very RAM intensive.

How much RAM do you need:

If you are running Win95 you can get by with 32 but I believe Microsoft recommended 8 or 16 Mb which is ridiculous to say the least. It will run on that but about as fast as a tree sloth runs the mile! Win98 and 2000 I believe Microsoft recommends 32 and again how sloooow would you like to go?! 64 Mb minimum is what you need but preferably 128 Mb. You will see a significant gain in speed going from 32 to 64 or 64 to 128 but after that not a whole lot unless you are running many applications at once. If you run Adobe Photoshop (they recommend minimum RAM to be 128mb). So general rule of thumb if you run multiple programs get more ram. For instance if you are a Web Designer or Graphic Artist and you have the habit of running Photoshop, and Illustrator, Freehand, and Dreamweaver with multiple browser windows open 256 RAM would not be unreasonable. But if you Surf the Web do a little word processing maybe play around with web design a bit then 128 RAM is right where you should be at. That is if your OS (operating system) is Win95/98/Me. However if you are using XP 256 RAM minimum and a half way decent graphics card would not be a bad idea.







































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