Technology Frequently Asked Questions

Having trouble with your computer? Before submitting a computer work order, check to see if your problem is a simple one that can easily be fixed. If the solutions here can't help you, please submit a computer work order. It is important to know that some problems can be fixed by simply restarting the computer.


When I try and turn on my computer nothing happens - what do i do now?

  1. Wait a moment. Try your power button again, pressing firmly on the button.
  2. Check the power cable coming into the back of the PC from the outlet or power strip. Make certain the cable is firmly seated. Retry the power button.
  3. Check other devices that may be plugged into the power strip or wall outlet to see if they have power. If so, try swapping the power cable plug for the PC into another outlet you know is working. Try the power button again.

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When I turn my PC on, I hear my PC making noises when I turn it on, but I have no picture?

  1. Make certain the monitor is turned on, and that the cable running between the PC and the monitor is firmly seated. If there is a separate power cord, check that it is firmly connected to a live power source as well.
  2. Check to see if the monitor (screen) has either a green or amber/orange light on it. If so, is that light solid or blinking. Blinking lights usually indicates there is a problem with the monitor while an amber light means no computer signal is getting to the monitor.

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What do I do if my computer freezes, and the mouse is not responding?

  1. In many application programs, the Escape (or Esc) key is a general-purpose "get me out of here" key-used to cancel or back up a step in the current operation.
  2. If the Escape key doesn't solve your problem, you can try the Break key. On most keyboards, either the Scroll Lock or Pause key doubles as a Break key. (You should see the word Break either on top of the key or on its front edge. If you don't find Break on either key, you can use Scroll Lock for this purpose.) By itself, Break does nothing, but holding down a Ctrl key and pressing this key will interrupt some programs or commands. This key combination is referred to as Ctrl+Break (pronounced "Control Break").
  3. If neither of the preceding techniques works, you can reboot your computer by holding down the Ctrl and Alt keys and then tapping the Del key. Rebooting erases memory and reloads the operating system; you lose any data currently in memory. In some programs, you may damage data as well, so only use this key combination when you can't think of any other solution. Although fairly drastic, rebooting is still a bit safer than the next two options.
  4. Many PCs have a Reset button that lets you restart your computer without actually flicking the power switch. The main power to the computer's components is not interrupted. This saves wear and tear. (Some, but not all, Reset buttons are actually labeled Reset.)
  5. If all else fails and you can't reset the machine, try unplugging the power cable from the computer, waiting 10 seconds, then plugging it back it. This is a final resort if nothing else works. If your computer restarts fine with no more problems, then the problem was probably temporary.

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What do I do when all of a sudden my mouse stops working? I see the cursor, but the mouse doesn't move the cursor?

The connection at the back of your computer to your mouse might have come loose, or something caused the software driver for the mouse to hang, or stop responding. The best thing to do is to close all of the programs that you are working on using the keyboard and restart the computer. The key combination is the Alt key and the F4 key; simply hold down the Alt key and press F4 to close what you are working on. Then hold down the Ctrl key and press the Esc key to have the Start Menu pop up. Press the U key to get the shutdown command to activate and hit the Enter key to shutdown or restart the machine. Assuming your connection in the back of the computer is tight, and then your mouse should work again once you have restarted the computer.

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When I turn on my computer it is very noisy, with clicking and grinding, is my system going to break?

Hard disk drives make a certain amount of noise when programs are trying to get information or read data from the drive. So you might expect to hear a faint, grinding noise when the computer is reading data from the hard drive. However, the noise should not be too loud. Most of the time a loud noise is caused by the fan. Older computers collect dust and cause the fan inside the computer to run louder than normal.

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The picture on my monitor/screen is not in the center, how do I fix this?

Occasionally the screen is not centered on your monitor. Each monitor has settings that allow the user to adjust the horizontal and vertical placement of the desktop on the monitor display. Generally these adjustments are made by using buttons on the lower edge of the monitor. These buttons are sometimes clearly labeled and other times just marked by obscure symbols. Using these buttons you can change the horizontal and vertical placement of your monitor to center it on the screen. If you have a new flat screen monitor, look for a button that says "Auto" and press it. It should automatically adjust your screen to center it.

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What do I do if I cannot hear sound on my computer?

The first thing to check is that your speaker wires are plugged into the proper port on the back of your computer. If you have separate speakers, you should see a left speaker wire and a right speaker wire, and they might be connected together into one plug. If your monitor has a speaker base, check to see if it has a wire that goes from the speakers to the computer. Make certain that you have placed this plug into the port marked with the speaker symbol. Often the microphone port is located right next to the speaker port, and it is easy to get them confused. If you have checked that the speaker cable is plugged into the back of the computer tightly, then verify that you have power going to your speakers and that the speakers are turned on. Some speaker sets have separate power supplies, while others draw their power from the computer. If the speakers are turned on, turn the volume all the way up so you will know when the sound starts working. If there is a little speaker symbol on the Taskbar near your clock, double-click on that symbol and make sure that the volume control is set high enough and that the "Mute All" or "Mute" is not checked. If these are checked, it will turn the sound off on your system, even if the speakers and other equipment are working just fine. If you don't see the speaker symbol in the taskbar, on a Windows XP computer, go to Start, All Programs, Accessories, Entertainment, Volume Control.

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What are some basic steps I can take when I am having trouble printing?

  • Be sure the printer is turned on.
  • Check to see if the printer cable is fully plugged into the back of the computer and the printer. If it is connected using a USB cable, unplug it and plug it back in to see if an error message appears.
  • Is there paper in the printer?
  • Be sure there is not any paper jammed in the printer.
  • Click Start / Settings and go to Printers to see if the printer is installed?
  • If you are trying to print to a network printer, be sure you are plugged into the network.
  • Check to see if the ink cartridges are full.
  • Install new print cartridges if you have them available to you.
  • If you are trying to print to the networked color laser printer, you may need to have the printer reinstalled on your computer.

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What are some basic steps I can take when I cannot login to my computer, or cannot access all of my network applications?

  • Check to see if the Windows Sign-on screen appears.
  • Are you using the correct username and password? Sometimes if your computer was worked on the username will change. Please make sure you use your own username.
  • Check to be sure that you do not accidentally have the Caps Lock ON or the Num Lock OFF
  • Be sure the network cable is plugged into the network card on back of the computer.
  • Check to see if there is a light on the network card.
  • Make sure the domain section is correctly entered as "dist168a"
  • See if others in your building are also having similar difficulties.

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How do I fix my upside-down/backwards screen?

If your screen is upside-down, backwards, or sideways, hold Ctrl and Alt, then press the down arrow. This should realign and reposition your screen back to normal.

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I've been asked to get my computer name. How do I do that?

There are two ways to get your computer name: getting to your computer properties or using the command prompt. Click here to view tutorials on how each process works.

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