Turning the Computer Off and On Again
Computer experts “cure” most of the PC’s ills by following three simple steps:

1. Turn the computer off by shutting down the computer             properly.
2. Wait about 20 seconds.
3. Turn the computer on again.

Most of the time, whatever was wrong has gone away. It is amazing how well this works. It’s only when the problem persists that you should consider worrying about it – and then offering one of the other suggestions offered.

Figuring Out Whether It’s a Hardware or Software Problem
Your guru or even you may be able to fix hardware problems, but most times they require taking the computer to the shop. Software problems, on the other hand, can generally be cured by your guru or buy a phone call to the developer’s technical support hot line (or wait-on-hold-line). But which is which? It’s important to know, because computer doctors get irked when you hand them a PC with a software problem. Here are the clues :

> 1. Does the problem happen consistantly, no matter what program you are using?
> For example, do WordPerfect, 1-2-3, and your accounting package all refuse to send stuff to the printer? If so it’s a hardware problem. Call the PC doctor.

> 2. Did the problem just crop up?
> For example, did the “page preveiw” mode work last week but not today? If so it could be a hardware problem – provided nothing has been changed to your computer, and no new software added, since the last time the program worked properly. Call the PC doctor.
> 3. Does the problem happen with only one application?
> For example, does the computer always reset when you are trying to print in Quatro Pro? If so , it’s a software problem. Call the developer.
> Generally speaking, if it only happens in one program, it’s software. If it’s consistent across all your applications, or it happens at random times, it’s hardware.

Tighten Cable Connections
Loose cables can be the bane of existence – and not just in elevators. If your keyboard goes dead, your mouse freezes, or the monitor blinks out, it may be a loose cable. Here is what you should do to check:

> 1. Turn the computer off.
> Shut everything down – everything.
> 2. Check all the cables behind the computer.
> Wiggle them to make sure they’re in the connectors nice and snug.
> 3. If something is loose, plug it back into its socket gently.
> If the cable is stretched, move whatever it is that is stretching it so that you can plug it back into the socket. Some cables attach to the computers console with handy thumb screws.
> 4. After everything is checked out, turn on the computer again and check for the same problem.
> If it persists, get real help.

Check Whether the Monitor’s Contrast/Brightness Controls Are Turned Down
Screams of “My monitor is broken!” are almost always met with relief when a wise computer owner checks the brightness and contrast buttons. Busy little montior gremlins usually twist either one to the low end  spectrum, making your monitor look broken.

When monitors truely die, they’ll start with the monitor screech of death. This is a loud, high-pitched whistle that signals the end of the montior’s life span. If you don’t keep your monitor on all the time, it will probably die with a pop as you turn it on. Any other time, it is probably the contrast or brightness control that is goofy.

By the way, monitors are one thing you don’t need fixed. Replacing a monitor is a much cheaper alternative than getting the old one fixed. (They’re not like TV’s, which can be fixed cheaply.)