Having patience is very important when troubleshooting computer problems. Becoming frustrated or not taking notes can extend the troubleshooting process significantly. Always take careful note of things that may have changed. Did you install a new piece of hardware or software? Was there a bad thunderstorm or a power outage? All of these things may be part of the underlying problem so take careful notes. Before you click "OK" or restart your computer, be sure to write down any error messages. Take careful note of what programs you were running at the time. If the message is in a windows box, sometimes clicking Details can provide additional information.

One of the most basic troubleshooting techniques is to perform a cold restart of the system. Shut down windows completely until the PC is completely turned off. Wait for 10 seconds or so and then power the PC back on. If there is a printer, external hard drive or other peripherals attached to your computer, it is recommended that you power these devices down at the same time that you shut down the computer. In most cases you will want to power up these devices again before you turn your computer back on.

Is there a specific action that you perform such as starting a program, accessing a specific function or using a peripheral that causes the issue to repeat itself? Taking careful note of this can be invaluable in troubleshooting issues. As you use the process of elimination to track down the issue, check to see that the issue still exists each step of the way. If the problem is predictable and repeatable it will make troubleshooting much easier. Random problems are very difficult to troubleshoot. Pay close attention to user actions and usage patterns in troubleshooting issues. The most important question is what changed prior to the problem manifesting itself.

If your computer does not turn on you probably have an issue with your power supply. Check the outlet that your computer is plugged into by plugging a different device into the same outlet. If it is on a power strip, make sure any errors have been reset. There is typically a switch or button to reset a power strip from a power condition. If the outlet tests out OK and you don't hear anything spinning inside your computer when you turn it on, your power supply has probably gone bad. This component can be replaced by a qualified technician.

When you start your computer it will perform a power on self test (POST). If there are any obvious hardware issues, an error code will be displayed and a beeping sound may come from the system speaker. The error codes and number/length of beeps will vary depending on the specific issue. For instance a memory related issue will often display a 201: Memory Error. Any issues related to memory will start with a 2 in the error code. When you computer emits a series of beeps when starting up, that indicates a hardware issue. The system BIOS is capable of identifying hardware problems and issuing the error sound. The pattern and length of beeps will vary by BIOS manufacturer and hardware component. For instance an Award BIOS code for a video card issue would be one long beep followed immediately by two short beeps.

Always be sure to have a backup solution in place to protect your important documents and file. The best solution is to have a backup in place that is completely automatic and one in which the data is stored in a separate secure location in case of fire or natural disaster.

If your computer goes to a "blue screen" (often referred to as a BSOD or blue screen of death) be sure to write down the specific error code message such as prog.exe has caused an invalid page fault in module xw32.dll at 0147:ffccddee. Having this information will be helpful to your technician. If your computer restarts itself or displays a blue screen when playing a game, doing video processing or other CPU intensive tasks, you might have an issue with heat. Make sure that the computer is located in a cool room, there is not a build up of dust on the heat sink of the processor and all of the fans are working properly. Use compressed air to remove dust from fans and heat sinks to eliminate heat problems. Make sure that the dust is removed and not simply blown deeper into the heat sink. A layer of dust can cause great havoc to the cooling systems of a modern computer.

When troubleshooting hardware it is important to swap out one piece of hardware at a time. For instance changing out one memory module. Check to see if the error condition still exists. If it still occurs put the original component back in place and swap out another. If the problem is resolved, chances are you have identified the faulty component. Troubleshooting is a careful process of elimination. Swapping out hardware components, ruling out an infrastructure component or piece of software one at a time. Make sure that each time you are making a hardware or software change you are only making a single change. If something does not fix the problem always reverse the change.

When troubleshooting a network connectivity issue, it is important to try connecting to different types of resources when identifying the problem. For instance, if you are not able to connect to the Internet, try pinging a local computer or printer. Make sure that pings are not being blocked by a software firewall. If you are able to access local resources, you know the network interface, cable and switch is good. The problem exists in the router, modem or on the Internet.

We hope that this article has provided some basic guidance when it comes to basic computer troubleshooting and repair.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles

Ventilation and limited space are among the reasons why heat gets built up inside your laptop. Generally, the hot air that gets generated through various internal components and hard drive gets blown away with the help of a laptop CPU fan that is fitted inside the housing of the computing device. This fan is generally placed inside a heat sink and is responsible for keeping the central processing unit or CPU cool. You need to follow these steps if your laptop fan stops working for some reasons.

1. Place the laptop on a large table and under a bright light source. Use the assembly guide and owner's manual to carefully disassemble the laptop. Keep touching any metal to remove static charge if present.

2. If the laptop is in ON position then turn it OFF and then plug it. As a next step in removing the laptop CPU fan, you need to remove hard drive, CD/DVD drive and the main battery. Across one side of the laptop you'll find a slot that houses the hard drive. You need to remove the screws in order to pull out the concerned hard drive.

3. Laptop then needs to be turned over and the screws at its bottom side needs to be removed. This will enable you to remove the cover that holds the keyboard together. Flip over laptop and open it up. Then you need to lift the laptop. In the next step, you need to remove the ribbon cable that helps connect keyboard with the motherboard.

4. All the screws that are responsible for holding keyboard bezel have to be removed. Plastic snaps if at all present at the sides needs to be removed carefully.

5. The laptop CPU fan then needs to be carefully removed. The screws that hold the heat sink in its place have to be removed carefully and then the fan unit has to be removed. If there are any harmful compounds present inside the CPU or the heat sink then it needs to be removed.

6. A thermal compound then needs to be applied in thin layers on the CPU and then the fan and the heat sink needs to be replaced. Place the screws over their cover and then tighten them to reassemble the laptop.

7. Once the device has been assembled again, you need to switch it on. Within few minutes you can hear the running of the newly installed laptop CPU fan. Typically these fans do not runs continuously and hence you shouldn't worry if they stop for a brief period in between.

Your laptop CPU fan plays a very important role in your computing device. You can get the best of these fans right here.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=George_H_Edward

If some of you are having issues with a slow computer and are wondering how to "speed my computer up", you can improve your PC's performance by defragmenting your hard drive. Doing this on a regular basis is a necessary practice to help keep your computer performing at a higher level. And it's fairly easy and safe to do yourself.
So "What is defragmenting?" you ask and how will it speed my computer up?. In a jist, defragmenting is consolidating or rearranging fragmented files that have formed on your computer's hard drive over time and reunites the data (files) so your computer can run more efficiently.
Why do we need to defragment our computers?
Because fragmentation is a natural occurrence. As we use our computers we are constantly saving, changing and deleting files. When we make changes to a file or program the changes are not made to the file at its original location but at a different location on the hard drive. And when even more changes are made and saved it gets stored in yet another location on our hard drive. When this happens fragmentation has occurred. This makes it harder for our computers to search for files, which in turn, bogs our computers down. As times goes, our files and hard drives get fragmented (separated), which slow down our computer's performance because it has to look in many locations for a file. So defragmenting your PC will help you "speed my computer up".
What can we do to fix this?
So like I said above you can do this manually each time or set up a schedule for the Disk Defragmenter, (which is a part of your computer) to do it for you. To manually do it follow these steps.
Click the Start Button > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter
You might be prompted to put a password or configuration code in, if so type the information in.
**While in here you can also set up a schedule for it to automatically defragment.
Click->Configure Schedule (if you choose to set one up. If not, move on to defragment now)
Click Defragment Now
Defragmenting the disk could only take a couple minutes or it could take a few hours depending on the degree of fragmentation. But, you can use your computer while it's defragmenting. Maybe you have the Disk Defragmenter on a schedule to automatically do this once a week like I do. Hint: This would be a good idea to do then you won't forget to do it. This will help keep your PC running efficiently but there are other things you can do to make your PC run even faster, like cleaning the registry , updating drivers and maintaining the System Resource manager.
If you're wondering how to "speed my computer up" even more and get it working at its optimum performance use Uniblue. They are a well trusted company that has received over a hundred 5 Star Awards. You have the option to get the PowerSuite package that totally optimizes your PC or you can just get the individual software. It's up to you. I used the Registry Booster, which also has an option to defragment your PC if you choose. I used both and my computer has been running smooth ever since.
So try this out. Hopefully this will help some of you out.
Nina Schulte,
Massey Marketing LLC
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nina_M_Schulte


If you want to keep your PC system clean and healthy, you need to clean your registry on a regular basis. This can be a bit difficult for some people. Even the more experienced computer users will tend to steer clear of manually cleaning their registry. To manually modify your registry can be quite complicated and risky as well. You can cause more problems than you already have. That's why most experienced computer users choose to take advantage of a good registry cleaning software. Here are some things you can use for maintaining your own system.
Stop Installing/Uninstalling Programs Frequently - You may not know this but every time a program is installed there is an entry placed in your registry. Your operating system uses this entry to determine just what this program is and how it can access it. It also uses it for locating this program on the hard drive, but if you are frequently installing programs and removing them it can lead to corruption in your registry. The bad part is that whenever you uninstall these programs a lot of times not all the files are removed. This leaves unneeded files that corrupt the registry and slow down your computer.
Keep A Lean System - For you to keep a health registry you need to maintain a lean system. A lot of PC users take installing new programs lightly. They don't understand what all the worry is about as long as they have the hard drive space to hold it, but the more you install programs the more it affects your system's overall performance. The more entries created in your registry, the longer it will take for re-boots and startups and running specific programs.
Remove, Erase, Delete - Once effective but very simple method for maintaining your system speed is to remove temporary and junk files regularly. The good side of this is that your OS has a built-in tool to help you with this. You also have the option of using a third party software for accomplishing this as well.
The Best Options - These methods laid out above are all very effective for maintaining the health of your registry, but they don't have the ability to clean the registry after it becomes problematic. For this you need to find a good registry cleaner tool. You can find some good registry cleaners online with a simple search in your favorite search engine.
Is your windows computer running slow? Does it constantly freeze up? If you are answering yes, there is a huge chance that your computer registry might be corrupted. You can simply use a pc cleanup software and have your PC running like new again in no time.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Ted_Wilson

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Ctrl + C or Ctrl + Insert
Copy the highlighted text or selected item.

Ctrl + V or Shift + Insert
Paste the text or object that's in the clipboard.

Ctrl + Z and Ctrl + Y
Undo any change. For example, if you cut text, pressing this will undo it. This can also often be pressed multiple times to undo multiple changes. Pressing Ctrl + Y would redo the undo.

Ctrl + F
Open the Find in any program. This includes your Internet browser to find text on the current page.

Alt + Tab or Alt + Esc
Quickly switch between open programs moving forward.
Press Ctrl + Tab to switch between tabs in a program.
Adding the Shift key to Alt + Tab or Ctrl + Tab will move backwards. For example, if you are pressing Alt + Tab and pass the program you want to switch to, press Alt + Shift + Tab to move backwards to that program.
Windows Vista and 7 users can also press the Windows Key + Tab to switch through open programs in a full screenshot of the Window.

Ctrl + Back space and Ctrl + Left arrow / Right arrow
Pressing Ctrl + Backspace will delete a full word at a time instead of a single character.
Holding down the Ctrl key while pressing the left or right arrow will move the cursor one word at a time instead of one character at a time. If you wanted to highlight one word at a time you can hold down Ctrl + Shift and then press the left or right arrow key to move one word at a time in that direction while highlighting each word.

Ctrl + S
While working on a document or other file in almost every program pressing Ctrl + S will save that file. This shortcut key should be used frequently anytime you're working on anything important.

Ctrl + Home / End
Move the cursor to the beginning or end of a document.

Ctrl + P
Print the page being viewed. For example, the document in Microsoft Word or the web page in your Internet browser.
Page Up / Space bar and Page Down
Pressing either the page up or page down key will move that page one page at a time in that direction. When browsing the Internet pressing the space bar will also move the page down one page at a time. If you press Shift and the Space bar the page will go up a page at a time.

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Windows 7 Starter makes netbooks easier to use because it puts less between you and what you want to do—less waiting, less clicking, less hassle connecting to networks. Windows 7 Starter combines the latest in reliability and responsiveness with the familiarity and compatibility of Windows. (windows microsoft.com)
Continue reading HERE for change wallpaper for windows7 starter pack.

This tweak reduces the time XP waits before automatically closing any running
programs when you give it the command to shutdown.
Go to Start then select Run
Type 'Regedit' and click ok
Find 'HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\'
Select 'WaitToKillAppTimeout'
Right click and select 'Modify'
Change the value to '1000'
Click 'OK'
Now select 'HungAppTimeout'
Right click and select 'Modify'
Change the value to '1000'
Click 'OK'

Now find 'HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop'
Select 'WaitToKillAppTimeout'
Right click and select 'Modify'
Change the value to '1000'
Click 'OK'
Now find 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\'
Select 'WaitToKillServiceTimeout'
Right click and select 'Modify'
Change the value to '1000'
Click 'OK'

source: http://hack2007.50webs.com