Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Plan C: Rebooting your Computer

Computer breaks, cookies baked, geek bribed. That's all you really need to know about fixing computer problems.

Just kidding.

Unfortunately, you'll need a Plan B, because Plan A doesn't work during midterms. Not even cookies will suffice to bribe the oh-so-limited Time. (I might have been slightly sleep-deprived when I tried this.)

Also, I've discovered that breaking my computer again before the last bag of cookies is depleted limits my options for having it fixed again soon.

My Plan B was to date and marry a geek because significant others are kinda required to help you. But I understand this is not a feasible option for many of my readers.

This is just as well because even Plan B isn't always effective. Turns out that Time is still problematic. And though significant others are sweet enough to lend you their computer for that huge paper, it turns out they don't appreciate it very much when you manage to turn the entire screen black and white just by logging on - and not even the computer science majors know how to fix it. (This may or may not be a personal experience. I'm not sure I actually want to claim this one.)

However, hopefully your penchant for breaking computers isn't as bad as mine. (My husband has been known to forbid me from being in the same room while he's working on the computer.) But even if it is, there is hope. Turns out that for many things Plan C works just fine.

I noticed a trend: I'd break a computer, seek help, and the first thing they'd ask would be "Did you reboot your computer?" One day, I decided to see what this mysterious phrase meant, and the number of cookies I had to bake decreased rather dramatically after that.

Basically, "rebooting your computer" is just a fancy phrase for "turning it off and then back on again." Kinda like toggling the light switch to see if the light bulb is just playing tricks on you or if you actually have to change it out. It turns out that most of the time, the computer is just playing tricks on you.

So here's how you "reboot your computer":
Steps 2 and 3

1. "Save" and "Close" everything you have open.

2. Click the "Start Menu"

3. Select the arrow beside "Shut Down" and select "Restart"

4. Now is a good time to go get some cookies and a glass of milk. Or call your mom.
Depending on the nature of the problem, "rebooting" can take some time or hardly any time at all. But whatever you do, do NOT - however, tempting it may be - turn the computer off by unplugging it or by pressing that power button.
This is why I always find something with which to distract myself. (Yes, I was that energizer bunny kid who always went around pushing all the buttons I could find.)

5. Hopefully, when you get back from your chosen activity of distraction, your computer will be on, all fresh and ready to use again. What it's done in the meantime is turned itself off and turned back on again. And possibly did some random updating the computer claims it needs.

There is one exception. What if your computer freezes and you can't move your mouse to reboot it? Well, in that case, you'll have to do a "hard reboot." To do that all, you have to do is push and hold the power button on the CPU (I don't know what the abbreviation stands for, but that's the equipment thingy that usually has the CD drive in it) until the computer turns off. Wait a few minutes, and then turn your computer back on. This is a "hard reboot." It is ONLY to be done if you can't restart it from the Start Menu because the screen is frozen.

Yes. That's it. That's all you have to do. And you would be amazed at the number of random problems being able to reboot your own computer solves. And even if it doesn't solve it, at least, that's one less step you'll have to make when you call IT Support.

So next time your computer gives you problems, give it the boot.

The Fly

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