PC Troubleshooting Guide
Most PC problems are easy to fix. Please read this before sending in a
work order since it covers some common computer problems.
Which of the
following describes the problem?
Monitor is blank and displays nothing -
go to Step 2.
Monitor displays words, not the usual screen - go to
Computer appears to be frozen - go to
Monitor displays garbage, blue screen or odd symbols
- go to
Mouse, Keyboard, or Printer problems - go to
Monitor looks normal, but computer acts abnormally - go to
Printer paper jams - go to
Other printer problems - go to
Network error message - go to
PROBLEMS - go to
Other problems not described above - go to
Monitor is blank. This usually
happens when something is unplugged, a switch is turned off, the computer is
asleep, or the monitor is asleep. If the monitor is turned on and awake,
there will be a little green light in the lower right hand corner of the
monitor. If the light is lit,
go to Step 3. If there is no green light, check the following:
|Computer power strips plugged in and turned ON (most of them light up
|Monitor switch is turned ON|
|Move the mouse or hit the space bar to wake up the computer in case it
is sleeping. Flat Screens
use the "blank" screen saver to save the LCD panel for longer life.
Wait 20 seconds for it to wake up.|
|Monitor power cord is plugged in
both at the surge protector and at the monitor. Push the power cord in
at the monitor...make sure it is in tight.|
Is the little green light on the monitor lit now?
If yes and screen is still blank, then continue to
If yes and screen displays something, go back to
If no, then go to
Monitor light lit, but monitor is blank.
Check the following:
|Monitor signal cord
(VGA Cable) is firmly plugged into computer.|
|Make sure that the computer is ON. If you put your hand at the rear of
the computer, you should feel the fan blowing air. On most computers,
there is a little green light in the upper right corner of the keyboard
labeled Num Lock. If the computer is ON, this little light should be lit.|
|Make sure the computer is awake. Move the mouse and hit the space bar
a few times. Wait 20 seconds for the computer to wake up.|
|Adjust brightness and contrast controls on the monitor in case a they
are turned down.|
|If the monitor is still blank, and there is a light on the keyboard,
then the monitor might need replacement. Go to
|If the monitor is still blank, and no lights flashed, then
go to Step 5.|
The monitor is blank, but there are
no lights on the keyboard. Check all
switches and cables. Computer power cables sometimes look like they’re
plugged in, but need to be pushed in harder to make contact. Push all the
power cables into the equipment to make sure they are seated firmly. Turn
the monitor off and on again. If you still get nothing on the monitor, go
Monitor displays words, but not the normal
screen. What message do you see?|
|A blue screen with any of these words: fatal exception,
invalid, overflow, insufficient memory - You need to
reboot (Turn computer off,
wait 30 seconds, turn computer back on) the computer. You will
lose all information typed in since the most recent save. If there is a
reset button on the front of the computer, push it. Otherwise, press
and hold the power button down for 10 seconds and release. Press the
power button again to turn the machine back on. If this does not cure
the problem, or if it recurs frequently, go to
Step 15. Make sure to note which program you were running when you
get the error message, and which error message you received.|
|CMOS state low, Battery state low,
Time-of-day-clock not set, Invalid configuration - run SETUP, or any
message with the word CMOS in it. - go to
|Keyboard error - press F1 to continue. Your
keyboard is unplugged, defective, or the connection is loose. Make sure
it is firmly plugged in. Hit the F1 key. If it still does not respond,
reboot the computer by hitting the reset
button (if there is one) or else turn the computer off. If this happens
repeatedly, the keyboard should be replaced. If the computer boots
normally, you're done. If you still have a problem, go to
|Your computer was improperly shut down. Press any key to
run a Scan Disk. Press any key. The computer will attempt to
correct the errors caused by improper shut down. If the computer has to
repair errors, it may ask to save the repairs. This is O.K. Please
follow all on-screen instructions. Next time, please turn the computer
off using the Shut Down command. |
|Any other message - follow the on-screen
instructions, if any. If that doesn’t work, or if there are no
instructions, go to
Monitor displays garbage, not letters or icons.
This usually occurs when an older monitor is connected to a newer computer.
For a newer computer, turn the computer off, count to ten, and then turn the
computer back on. Once it is finished
booting, open up the Control Panel, open up the Display icon, and click on
Settings. Readjust your resolution until you are seeing your screen
8. Mouse, Keyboard,
or Printer problems.
If the mouse, keyboard or printer do not respond at all,
go to 8A. If the mouse moves poorly,
go to 8B.
most common reason for a mouse, keyboard, or printer to stop responding is
because the computer has "lost the drivers" to these pieces of equipment. Follow
--Turn off the printer
--Turn off the computer
--Turn on the printer
--Turn on the computer
These procedures do several things. (1) dumps the printing queue, (2)
re-establishes communication with the printer, (3) reloads the print driver.
|If you still have MOUSE Problems --Make sure the mouse is
plugged in. Turn the mouse upside down. Make sure that the mouse is
working (light is on). For a USB mouse you may move it from one port to
another. After moving or plugging in the
mouse, you may find that you need to reboot the computer. If you can't use the mouse to access
the Start button, you can do it from the keyboard. The keyboard should have
a key that looks like a waving flag; this will bring up the start menu. If
not, while holding down the CTRL key, tap the ESC key to bring up the Start
Menu. Use the up-arrow key to move up to the Shut Down command and then hit
Enter to select it. Select Shut Down and Restart. |
8B. If the mouse moves poorly,
it may be dirty. Turn the mouse
upside down. Clean the
residue off of any part of the mouse. You do not need to reboot the computer after cleaning the
If you still have mouse problems, go to
Step 15. Please indicate on the repair order which type of mouse you
have - Serial, PS2 or USB.
|If you still have KEYBOARD Problems make
sure the keyboard is plugged in correctly. If it is and you still
have problems go to
|If you still have PRINTER Problems go to
Computer freezes or else the monitor looks normal
but computer acts abnormal. Every computer "freezes" from
time to time. This is most likely do to updates being processed or scans. Go to
Step 15 for frequent freezes or other strange symptoms. Make sure to
indicate which programs make the computer freeze, or if it randomly locks
Press the Ctrl-Alt-Delete keys at
the same time (called a "soft boot.") You will get a window message
that identifies the tasks (Task Manager) that your computer was doing prior to freezing. One
of them usually says (not responding) next to it. Highlight that one and click
on End Task. You should be back in business. If not, save your work if possible
and restart the computer. If the machine is locked up and does not respond to
CTRL-ALT-DEL, then you may push the reset button on the computer if there is one. If
not, turn the power off, count to ten, and turn the power back on. If it's not
go to Step 15. When the computer boots up, it might want to do a
scandisk, as it was shut down improperly. Let it!
Computer won't shut down?
Give the computer some time.
If the computer does not automatically turn off after several minutes, DO NOT hold down
the On/Off button until the computer turns off. Your computer may be
updating or scanning. Let the computer complete its shut down process. If for
some reason the power goes out, the computer will want to
do a scandisk when you turn it on the next time. Let it!
Out-of-memory error message?
You might receive a message
saying that you are out of memory. You probably have too many programs
open and there is not enough memory available for the computer to handle them.
Close all programs that you are not using. This often doesn't give your
system all of its memory back, but it should give you enough memory to shut down
the computer and start again.
Printer Paper jams. Try
fanning the paper before using it. Try using new paper. On humid days, old
paper gets heavy and wet and printers have problems feeding it. Some paper
is too flimsy. Printers can jam and misfeed due to gummy or misaligned
rollers. If changing paper doesn't help, and it keeps jamming,
go to Step 15.
Other printer problems. Make
sure the printer is turned on and ONLINE. DeskJet printers have just one
indicator light for on. Make sure it is lit. Laser printers usually have
two indicator lights. One is next to the words ONLINE and must be lit in
order to print. Lasers should also display the READY message if they have a
display panel. Check the cables connecting the computer with the printer.
Check that there is paper in the printer. Turn it off and back on again. You
might have a paper jam inside the printer. Remove all paper from inside and
PRINTER SPITTING OUT PAPER OR
PRINTING "WEIRD STUFF": Turn printer
OFF by holding down the power button until the printer turns off.
Clear the PRINT QUEUE -- see below.
Clearing the printer queue.
When jobs are sent to the printer, they wait in the queue until the printer
is free. When you have printer problems, it is a good idea to clear all
jobs out of the queue. From the Start button, select Settings - Printers
and open up the printer in question. If the window is blank, there are no
queued jobs. If there are jobs present, you need to highlight them
one-at-a-time and click on Document - Cancel printing for each one. It may
take a minute or two to finish clearing. Once the queue is empty, print a
test page from the Windows Control Panel. Close the Window you just opened.
From the Start button, select Settings - Printers and this time
right-click on the printer in question. In this new window, click on Print
Test Page and see if the test page prints properly.
First, make sure that you have
selected the correct printer. You will have the ability to print to
several different printers at your school. Remember to always select
"Print Preview" before printing.
First, clear the Print Buffer by
clicking on the small printer icon in the lower right hand corner of your
Highlight any print jobs and
click Printer, then Cancel All Documents . Wait for the buffer to
clear. Then turn off printer and turn it back on again. Try
printing. If this does not solve the problem, send the Maintenance
Network error messages. If
you are trying to save to a network server or get a message about resources
not found or not in use, or if you need a password to access resources, then
you need to send a work order in to Technology. Make sure to include this
information: What username you logged on with, what program you were
running, what resources you tried to access, which machine you tried to save
on, and the error message.
Internet problems. If you
cannot connect to the Internet, before contacting Technology, make sure that
this is not a school-wide problem by checking with the office or another
teacher. Occasionally, everyone in the district will lose the Internet for
a few hours due to problems with equipment. **NOTE** This also means you
will not be able to access network programs such as AR and
GradeSpeed. Once you are sure that it is just your
machine, try shutting down the computer and restarting it.
|If you are still having problems check to make sure
that you are NOT running one of the following programs all of which will
interfere with your Internet speed and access|
|Web Tools Hotbar --Looks like this in your
Messenger, Widgets, etc|
|or ANY other program |
|If these programs exist on your computer, you will
need to remove these programs. ( Go to Start, Control Panel,
Add/Remove Programs, Highlight the program you wish to remove and
then Click the Remove button|
If you still
can't connect, please write down all error messages, if any, and
go to step 15.
Please send in a work order from the Websote.
Make sure to indicate which machine (Which room, any visible stickers,
Student or Teacher computer, Location in the room) is acting up and exactly
what is wrong with it. Please give as much detail as possible. Thank you
for your help in keeping our computers running!
Operating system cannot be found. Make sure
that you have removed any disk from the drive
before you reboot your machine. Wait 30 seconds and
then turn the machine on again. If the message "OS load in
progress - insert bootable media in the appropriate drive"
OR "Operating System Not Found" OR "boot failure" still appears on the
go to step 15.
Spill a liquid?
Immediately unplug the computer
and turn it off. Turn it over to drain the liquid. Let it dry
overnight. Inform the Tech Department of the mishap. Do not try and turn
on the machine!
Can't open a file?
--Are you trying to open a
file that has an extension you recognize? (.doc, .xls, .jpg, .pdf, etc) or one
you don't recognize?
--Are you in one program, trying to open a file created in a
--Can any of your peers open