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Basic Troubleshooting Techniques
The computer goes blank before the Word document was saved. The browser window freezes for no reason. You can't hear anything from your speakers.
Most people have at one time or another experienced a computer problem like the situations just described, and if you haven't, chances are you will at some point. When a problem occurs, don't panic! Instead, work your way through some basic troubleshooting techniques and try to solve the problem.
General Tips to Keep in Mind
Cables plugged into the back of a computer
There are many devices, parts, cords, and connections on a computer, which means that there are many possible problems that could arise. In addition, your computer uses a variety of software, which can also cause problems. However, no matter what the problem is, you can use the following tips to help you find a solution:
- Always check the cables: Many computer problems are related to an issue in the cables and connections. The easiest first step you can take to troubleshoot most problems is to check all related cables and connections.
- Isolate the problem: If possible, try to isolate the problem. For example, if you can't get the cursor to move on the screen, try to determine if the issue is with the mouse. If you have an extra mouse, you can alternate devices to see if the one plugged in is the issue, or use the arrow keys on the keyboard to help determine if the mouse is the source of the problem. When trying to isolate the problem, only make one change at a time.
An error message
- Take notes about error messages: If your computer gives you error messages, be sure to write down as much information as possible. If the basic troubleshooting steps don't work, you may need the information.
- Remember the steps you've taken, or write them down: Once you start troubleshooting, you will want to remember what you have done so you don't repeat yourself. If you can't remember it, write it down. If you end up asking people for help, it will be much easier if they know exactly which steps you've taken.