A while ago, I did a poll:
Almost half the people who voted said their biggest computer problem was that the computer didn’t work. They probably pushed the on button, or moved the mouse around, maybe tried to turn the screen on–and nothing happened.
That is a common problem in my classes. Students sit down to work, excited about whatever project we’re doing, and are stuck until I can come help them start the *** computer.
Here are some simple first steps that I have them do before they are allowed to ask for help. These eight steps fix the problem over half the time:
- Make sure the computer is on (check the power lights. Are they glowing?)
- Make sure the screen is on (check its power light also. Make sure it’s lit up)
- Move the mouse around. The computer might be asleep and all it takes is a jiggle of the mouse to get it going
- Check the plugs. Is it plugged in? Is the plug partially in, but not all the way
- Check the connections to the CPU. Are there any cords just hanging there, fallen out. If so, plug them back in.
- Push escape four times. Sometimes you’re in something and you don’t even know it. Pushing escape multiple times will get you back to the main program.
- Maybe your computer is on, but the screen seems frozen:
- Is there a dialogue box open somewhere on the screen? Look around. Check for a square box that’s asking you a question. You’ll have to answer it to get the computer to ‘unfreeze’.
- Is the program flashing at you from the task bar? Click on the flashing program to make it the active window. Now, it can receive your commands, like ‘start’
If you try all of these steps, most of the time (over half. In my classes, it’s closer to 90% of the time) you will have fixed your computer yourself, without paying any money or waiting for a friend to come help.
It feels good, doesn’t it?
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Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-fifth grade and creator of two technology training books for middle school. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman. She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com, an Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, an IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s seeking representation for a techno-thriller she just finished. Any ideas? Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab.