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Quick Start Guide Computer Troubleshooting Basics

I. Introduction Computers are incredibly complex devices, and as such have more than a few areas for problems to occur. Presented here are answers to some of the more common problems you may encounter. II. Start-Up (Boot) Problems Occasionally, your computer may not start properly and/or display confusing error messages and options upon start. Two common situations that cause boot errors are described below: 1. Floppy Disk in the Disk Drive When a computer starts, the machines BIOS (Basic Input Output System) looks at various drives in the computer to locate the operating system. The first place the computer looks is usually the floppy drive. If a floppy disk that does not contain an operating system is left in the computer, the boot sequence will stop. Worse, the computer may display error messages: Remove disks or other media or the more cryptic NTLDR is missing Fortunately, the fix for these messages is easy. Simply eject the floppy disk, press any key on the keyboard (the spacebar works nicely), and the computer should start properly. 2. Safe Mode Messages If a computer crashes or is shut down improperly, it may display a bewildering array of start options when the computer is started. These options include: Safe Mode Safe Mode with Networking Safe Mode with Command Prompt Enable Boot Logging Start Windows Normally Etc, etc, etc because in most cases, there is only one operating system, and one choice, Windows XP Professional. In the rare instance that the computer does contain multiple operating systems, you simply choose the desired system and press the keyboard Enter key to complete the startup sequence. Sometime the computer will run disk diagnostics (Scan Disk) as part of this recovery sequence. Let the computer complete this activity. After the scan is finished, you should be able to complete the start up sequence properly. III. Shutdown Problems Just as computers sometimes hang when they start, they also occasionally hang (refuse) to shutdown. Occasionally, computers will lockup during use. If any of these conditions occurs, you can force the computer to shutdown. To initiate a forced shutdown, simply hold the Power Button in on the main system unit for 6 seconds. This will turn the computer off. Shutting down a computer in this manner is only advised when the computer is locked up. When you restart the computer, the machine may present options for safe mode restart. IV. The Computer is Just Plain Ornery Computers, like children, sometimes need a timeout. If your computer is acting oddly, give it a timeout. In other words, shut the computer down normally and restart it. If the computer wont shut down normally, use the forced shutdown method described above. In most cases, once the computer is restarted, the gremlins will be gone. V. Printing from Blackboard and the Web Printing web pages is a challenge for a variety of reasons. Sometimes printed text will be cut off, other times only bits and pieces of the web page will print. Some web pages will have a link to a printer friendly version of the page. Look for this link and use it. These pages are well-designed and nearly always look fine when printed.

Generally the best way to recover from this problem is to select Start Windows Normally using the arrow keys on your keyboard. Once this choice is made, press your keyboard Enter key. After you press the Enter key, the computer may ask you to choose an operating system. This is a bit confusing,

Learning Technologies Center Updated June 6, 2006

Computer Troubleshooting Basic (cont.)


Beware of framesets. Many websites (including Blackboard) are displayed in framesets. A frameset is a container for multiple web pages. In the case of Blackboard, the screen you see is actually composed of three separate web pages. To print from a frameset: 1. Using Internet Explorer, right-click the background of the web page. Perform this right-click in the general area containing the information you wish to print. 2. Select print from the menu that is displayed. This will display a standard Windows print dialog box. 3. Click the Options tab in the print dialog box and choose the option that says Only the selected frame. VI. Saving and Viewing Blackboard Files Professors post a variety of files to Blackboard including Adobe Acrobat (PDF), Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. To view these files it is generally best to save the file to your computers desktop and then open the file by doubleclicking it. To save a file to the desktop: 1. Right-click the hyperlink for the file. 2. When the menu appears, click the Save Target As option. This will display a standard File Save As dialog box. 3. Save the file to the Desktop of the computer. Once the file is saved to the Desktop, it can be opened easily by double-clicking the file icon. Why do we save files to the desktop instead of opening them directly from Blackboard? Saving files to the desktop allows you to open the file in its native application, rather than a file viewer used by your Internet browser. The native application has full functionality; the file viewer often does not. VII. Printing Adobe PDF Files from the Web Adobe Acrobat documents are easy to print from the web, but individuals sometimes experience difficulty with this task. When printing Adobe documents, it is important to select the print button built into the PDF viewer. The Adobe PDF print button is indicated by the blue arrow below. Clicking the browser print button (shown beneath the red symbol) or choosing print from the file menu will print the web page that contains the adobe document, but will not print the actual document. The best approach for printing documents is achieved by first saving the document to the computer desktop and then printing the document from its native application. VIII. Blackboard Documents Wont Open To properly open a file from Blackboard, follow the steps listed in section five. If the file still wont open properly, check to ensure that the files native application editor or viewer is installed on the computer. A computer cannot open or display a file if the appropriate application editor or viewer is not installed. For instance, a professor might post SPSS files on his or her Backboard site. If your computer does not have the SPSS application, the files will not open. If your computer seems to have the correct application for your document or file, check to see if the application is current. The problem may be that the file you are attempting to view is newer than the application you are using to open it. This is a particular problem with Access databases. A computer that has the Access 97 application will not be able to open Access databases created with more recent versions of Access. IX. Additional Questions? Kutztowns Learning Technologies Center staff can help you with basic troubleshooting. To arrange an appointment for training, or to ask additional questions, contact: Will Jefferson Learning Technologies Center Coordinator 610.683.4757

Learning Technologies Center Updated June 6, 2006