Computer Basics


Dealing with crashes
Fact: Computers CRASH
Regardless of how hard you try, your computer is bound to crash on occasion. There are many levels of crashes. A program can crash, a piece of hardware can crash, your mouse can crash, so too, your keyboard. You name the device, it can crash.

Program crashes
If a program seems to freeze up on you, it may not necessarily mean a crash. Do the following:

  • Look for your mouse indicator, is it in the shape of an hourglass? >> ()
  • Look at the bottom of the program screen, is a timed backup being done?
  • Listen to the machine, is it making noises?
  • Take a look at the front of your box, is the Hard Drive light flashing?
If anyone of these situations are happening, wait for a few seconds and see if the computer will finish it's task. 

If the program does not return to normal, use the "close program" feature. 

  • Hold both the Show ALT key location and Show CTRL key location keys down together, 
    tap the  (it could also be labelled as Del) key ONCE
    If you hold down the delete key for too long, or if you tap twice, you will cause the computer to restart.  Don't worry, it's not the end of the world, but Windows does not appreciate being cut off at the knees.  There are times that this could result in negative consequences with your operating system.
  • Wait a few seconds until the program opens.  

  • The above is only an example of what you will see.  
    The Close Program dialog box on your computer will have other programs shown.  

  • Generally, the program that is stalled will be selected with a "Not Responding" comment attached to it. 
  • Click on the  button (if your mouse is working), or,
    use the keyboard, hold the  key and tap the E

  • Wait a few seconds, the next process can take up to 30 seconds.  

  • Depending on the program, either, a second confirmation box will open asking you to re-confirm the closure by reselecting , or, the program will exit immediately.

Note: Occasionally the effected program does not exit immediately.  Try the procedure a second time.  If "close program" still does not solve the problem, restart your computer by  using the Start button on your taskbar or choosing the Shut Down option from the End Task program.
  • You can try to re-open the program, however, if the program does not respond properly, restart your computer.

Mouse Crashes
  • Check to see if you haven't accidentally kicked out the connector at the back of the CPU.
  • If you are using a cordless mouse, check to see if the batteries haven't worn out.
  • Revert to keyboard or shortcut commands to restart your computer.
Keyboard Crashes
  • As with the mouse, check the connector at the back of the CPU.
  • If you are using a cordless keyboard, check to see if the batteries haven't worn out.
  • Restart the Computer.

Common Mistakes

Losing your task bar
One of the most common problems are encountered using the mouse. It is unforgiving, it will not argue with you. When you point, click and release the action will happen, whether you want it to or not. There are generally two things that happen with the task bar.

The task bar disappears or grows in size
When the tip of your mouse touches the border of the taskbar, it will turn into a sizing arrow  


If you click the left mouse button and pull down, the task bar will disappear. If you push up the mouse, the task bar will grow in size. To correct the problem, point to the border again, turn the mouse indicator into a sizing arrow and drag in the appropriate direction to restore the taskbar. 

The task bar's location is different
If you point to any vacant part of the taskbar, hold your left mouse button and drag, the taskbar will move either to the left, right or top of your screen.  This may sound like a difficult thing to do, but a lot of people do with without realizing it.  Mice are very sensitive.

To rectify this situation, repeat the process, point to a vacant part of the toolbar, hold the left mouse button and drag back to the bottom of the screen.

Losing your work
Opening the same program twice.
Often, people think they have lost their work, where, in fact, they have only misplaced it by either opening a second program or the same program twice.  With older programs especially, a novice often makes this common mistake and thinks they have lost their work. 

When we open more than one program we are multi tasking, (the ability to open programs more than once in a session) This feature is convenient when you want to compare documents.  Although multitasking is an integral part computing, it does take some getting use to.

Try to get into the habit of checking the taskbar to see what programs are open before you panic. 
In this example, there are 4 programs open:
     1 session of FrontPage, 
     1 session of PhotoPaint and 
     2 sessions of Word.  The user is working in the first session of Word.

If the program does crash, many have auto backup features.  Take a look under the Tool menu option of your program.  There you should find one of the following Options, Settings or Preferences.   Visit that area to see if you can figure out what the program's backup capabilities are. 

If an auto backup was created, the file(s) that were opened when the program crashed will be on screen the next time you open the program.



A final note about crashes:

If you feel your computer crashes excessively, try running some of the maintenance, or, utility programs.  Often, just a little tidying up will correct a lot of problems.   You can find some Built in ones from Microsoft under your Start, Programs, Accessories, System tools menu.  Please choose this link for more on this subject.  






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