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Hardware Questions


How do I get a log in name and password?

Wait a moment. Try your power button again, pressing firmly on the button.

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.

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 that you know is working. Try the power button again How do I get a log in name and password?

When I turn my PC on, I hear my PC making noises, but I have no picture; what should I do?

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.

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? If you have checked this, call the helpdesk and explain that you have checked the cable.

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

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.

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").

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 use this key combination only when you can't think of any other solution. Although fairly drastic, rebooting is still a bit safer than the next option.

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. If you can't find yours, check in the documentation for your computer.)

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

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.

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").

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 use this key combination only when you can't think of any other solution. Although fairly drastic, rebooting is still a bit safer than the next option.

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. If you can't find yours, check in the documentation for your computer.)

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 may have come loose or something has 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 have open 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, then your mouse should work again once you have restarted the computer.

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. An unusually loud noise signals that there might be something wrong with your hard drive, and you should contact the ITSS department at (225) 771-4987 or (225) 771-5814.

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 are 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.

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. You should see a left speaker wire and a right speaker wire, and they might be connected together into one plug. 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 are still having a problem with your sound, you should have your computer examined by ITSS.

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 ink cartridges are full.

  • Check to see if the printer cable is fully plugged into the back of the computer and the printer.

  • Click Start / Settings and go to Printers to see if the printer icon is black or if it is grayed out.

  • Is there paper in the printer?

  • Install new print cartridges if you have them available to you.

  • If you are trying to print to a network printer, be sure you are plugged into the network.

  • Be sure there is not any paper jammed in the printer. Install new print cartridges if you have them available to you.

If all else fails contact ITSS at (225) 771-4987 or (225) 771-5814.

What are some basic steps I can take when I cannot log in 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?

  • Check to be sure that you do not accidentally have the Caps Lock ON or the Numb 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.

  • Are you using the correct username and password?

  • See if others in your area/building are also having similar difficulties.

Contact ITSS at (225) 771-4987 or (225) 771-5814.d