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Basic Troubleshooting in the classroom

By: Ryan Ukno & David Citulsky

In this session, we will show you basic troubleshooting techniques in the following areas:
A typical PC desktop/notebook system setup Peripheral equipment connected to a desktop/notebook system Smartboard and Mimio equipment Networking wired and wireless Software (MS) troubleshooting Fixing software errors/viruses etc. using free easy-to-use tools

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Desktop PC system setup

A Desktop PC (Personal Computer) consists of a Computer Case box that contains the following components: Motherboard CPU Memory Video card Sound card Power supply DVD/CD & Floppy drive Case fans (optional)

Desktop port connections

On the back

Notebook system setup

A notebook (or laptop) PC is a mobile/portable version of a desktop PC. It contains the same internal components as the desktop but in a smaller compact form-factor. The main components are: Display Keyboard Touchpad Power adapter

Typical ports on a notebook system

Lets look at a few common problems you might encounter with your notebook or desktop.

It wont power ON!

Check that your power cord is firmly plugged in and the switch on the power supply switch is ON (1). Check that lights are ON and you hear the fans working inside. Problem may be a bad connection i.e. video If there are no lights or fans check that the power outlet works!

Check that there is lights (indicate power or battery) Check that your battery is charged otherwise plug in your adapter directly. Disconnect your battery and plug the AC adapter directly. If it powers on, your battery may need replacement.

No display!
Check video cable connections to monitor Check that your monitor contrast/brightness is not set too low Make sure monitor has a green light. If its orange, recheck connections. If connections are good, video card may be bad.

Check that nothing is plugged into the VGA port . Try Fn+Fx (depends on model) to enable primary display and disable ext vga output If there is lights but nothing comes on, hold power button for 5-10 secs to completely power off. Wait 30 sec and power it back on.

No operating system!
Make sure there is NO floppy in the floppy drive when you are starting up the computer. Make sure there is NO DVD/CD in the DVD/CD drive when starting up. Make sure there is NO USB drive plugged in when starting up. It may try to boot off these drives Make sure floppy/dvd/cd/usb drives are empty and restart the computer.

Keyboard/mouse not responding

Check keyboard connection. Press Numlock or Capslock key light should be on keyboard Check mouse (optical only) connection. Optical light on bottom should be lit. Unplug/re-plug connectors to the ports and restart the computer. For wireless, check the batteries and replace if necessary. Synchronize the mouse/keyboard with the CC button.

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Peripherals in the classroom

Scanners Printers (laserjet, deskjet) Webcameras Microphones Speakers Monitors/LCD projectors

These peripherals will typically use the same cable interface USB 2.0 All should plug into the USB port of the computer

USB Type A Male To computer USB Type B Male To peripheral

Speakers/Microphones setup
Both are color coded and should be easy to identify.

Monitor and LCD projector setup

Can be connected together with one VGA cable or with two VGA cables The most common in classroom desktops is using two VGA cables For notebook computers, only one VGA cable is necessary to connect to the LCD projector.

Lets look at a few problems you might run into with peripherals..

Scanner/printer/webcam is not detected!

First check your connections, windows should make a sound when a USB device is plugged in. If it doesnt make that sound you may have a bad USB cable. If it does make the sound and cannot be recognized, reinstall the software. Obtain the CD software drivers CD or find software online.

Printer is on but will not print!

Check the status lights of the printer If it is blinking, printer has error. If no lights on printer, check the print queue of the printer and delete old jobs If the printer is network shared, make sure the computer connected to the printer is turned ON.

Microphone troubleshooting
If your mic doesnt receive sound make sure it is set as the default recording device in sound options. Adjust the sound level input options Can use third-party apps such as Skype to configure the microphone so it is ready to be used.

Speakers doesnt have sound!

Check there is power to the speakers Plug in a set of headphones to test the sound card Check sound levels not set to mute! Try speakers on a different computer If it works on another, reinstall the device driver software for your soundcard.

Monitor-projector shows no input

Check connections, back of computer/monitor and projector On projector select correct source i.e. VGA or computer1 or 2 Some systems will have a video driver utility where you specify to output to a second monitor (LCD) For notebook, use the special combo Fn+Fx (different by manufacturer) to output to projector.

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Lets look at a wired connection:

You will find wired connections in most classrooms - usually 2 ports per classroom A wired connection will have: Cat 5 network cable(s)

A network switch

Troubleshooting: Internet or network is down!

First, always check cable connections in classroom! Check your systray network icon. These indicate an unplugged cable

Be sure to check the switch (if available) and network port on PC. A link light should be lit on both ends. Also, make sure the switch has power. All else fails, try a different CAT5 cable!

Wired network problems contd

If connections are ok but still no network access
Check first that entire network is not down

Limited connectivity errors can sometimes be fixed by restarting your computer and/or network switch. Network switch in classroom Make sure that every cable plugged into the switch has a link light. Be aware of loopback connections in your classroom

Wireless connections
wireless connections are made up of scattered wireless access points sometimes found in classrooms. They connect to wireless clients using secured or unsecured connections.

Troubleshooting: Wireless network connections

Not connected?
Check that you are connected by viewing the wireless status icon: This shows disconnected Right-click to view available wireless networks

If you do not see a list of wireless networks, check that your wireless adapter is enabled!

Problems connecting to the wireless??

Make sure the passphrase is correct. If passphrase is wrong or changed, go into control panel, wireless connection properties, wireless networks tab and remove a network.

Find the network again from the list of available networks and reconnect using the correct passphrase.

Wireless troubleshooting contd

In Windows XP you might see the following error:

Network troubleshooting contd

This can fixed by making sure use windows to configure my wireless.. is checked.

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Software troubleshooting
Most newer computers are designed to multitask (run more than one program at a time). However, there may be times where a program (or two) will stop responding or freeze up!

Software troubleshooting contd

In some cases, you may not get a chance to end a program or shut it down at all. Heres what you can do: Right-click the taskbar and select task manager or start task manager Find the program under task and click End Task Sometimes you may have to find the program under processes and click end process

Software errors
Diagnosing errors can be a frustrating task.
Documenting the exact error message would be one of the first steps you should take.

Most of the time, you can find solutions to error messages by searching online either a support website or knowledgebase. Its always good to keep track of when the program worked and when it didnt. - Did the error occur after an update? - Did it occur after installing a different program? You can always undo the update or installation as a quick fix

Software troubles contd

For uninstalling troublesome software, you would go through the control panel and add/remove programs or Programs and features.

Software toubles contd

In some cases, finding an update for a program can cure certain bugs/errors for that program. Updates can usually be found from their help menu and check for newer version or updates.

Software troubles other solutions

Find an alternate program as a workaround Eg. Adobe reader crashes constantly use alternate pdf program like Foxit Reader. Using windows system restore Use as a last resort. Be sure to restore to the most recent and last working restore point. This method not recommended for first time users.

Software file deletions?

If youve accidentally deleted a file, always check first if its in your recycle bin. If its a file on the network, always ask your network administrator or technician as they should have past day backups that they can recover. Well also show a freeware file recovery software for you to try if files were deleted on the hard drive. *Need to recover a word document file? Check your word options where auto file recovery is.

Software malware
When surfing online, you may get pop ups or programs showing up where it shows an antivirus or protection program that claims to clean your PC.

If you see these types of programs, find it under task manager and end task. To clean spyware, you will need an antispyware tool which will be covered next and is also free!

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Tools spyware cleaning

Continuing from the last section, the commonly most used tool for spyware removal is Malwarebytes which is free to download. Once you download the program, install it (use defaults) and make sure it checks for updates. Run a full scan on all your hard drives. Scans can be anywhere from 15-60 mins depending on size of hard drive. After it is done, show list of items, check all and click remove selected.


Software tools - CCleaner

Want to clean up disk space/delete unneeded files? A good free program for that is CCleaner Download the program and install using default paths/settings. Run the program and click analyze. This will show you the list of unneeded files and the size its taking on your hard drive. Click run cleaner to clean them up!


File recovery
A good freeware recovery program you can try is recuva. It can recover files from any hard drive, flash usb or memory card!

Maintenance and security

Making sure your PC has the latest security updates is very important. Updates will fix any security flaws or exploits that hackers can gain access to. Verify you are receiving auto upates by going to control panel, system and windows update. Also, check that your antivirus software is up to date and set to auto-update. Make sure it is always enabled and scanning in real time.

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Hopefully these tips will make you better at diagnosing common computer issues.

And this concludes our session Any questions?