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Computer for Beginners

An introduction to basic software and hardware troubleshooting.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

TITLE PAGE Pg. 1

TABLE OF CONTENTS Pg. 2-3

INTRODUCTION Pg. 4

BASICS Pg. 4

THINGS TO CHECK FIRST Pg. 4

TROUBLESHOOTING Pg. 5

HARD DRIVES Pg. 6

PRINTERS Pg. 7

TURNING YOUR COMPUTER ON/ OFF Pg. 7

MONITORS Pg. 8

COMPUTER MOUSE Pg. 9-11

FREE SOFTWARE AND SERVICES Pg. 1i-20

BASIC HOME/ SMALL OFFICE NETWORKING Pg. 20-22

ETHERNET EQUIPMENT Pg. 22-24

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ROUTERS Pg. 24-25

SOFTWARE TROUBLESHOOTING Pg. 26

REFERENCE TERMS Pg. 27

SOFTWARE TERMS Pg. 28

TURNING THE TOWER ON Pg. 29

TURNING THE MONITOR ON Pg. 30

RUNNING SOFTWARE Pg. 31

INSTALLATION ERROR Pg. 32

BAR CODE Pg. 33

START OVER Pg. 34

REFERENCES (WORKS CITED) Pg. 35

NOTES Pg. 36

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INTRODUCTION

This is not meant by any means to be the “be all ends all” booklet on PC troubleshooting.

However; what this will do is describe some very common issues facing Users such as

you and me.

THE BASICS

To begin with we need to understand what exactly computer hardware is and what in the

world do we do with it. Simply put hardware is any part of the computer you can touch.

Computer hardware consists of interconnected electronic devices that you can use to

control the computer’s operation, input, and output. (The generic term device refers to

any piece of hardware.)

THINGS TO CHECK FIRST

9 Always check the power cords and cable connections before doing anything else.

9 Inspect the ends of cables to make sure that wires are connected. This is

especially important if you are getting error messages such as “slow network

connection.”

9 It is ok to remove and re-plug in cables to make sure they are properly connected.

9 Is it turned ON?

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THE UNIVERSAL TROUBLESHOOTING PROCESS

1. Define your symptoms

Write down as many symptoms as you can. This helps you to remember if you

must explain the symptoms to network support.

2. Identify and isolate the source

Use the process of elimination. Virtually all problems with PC’s involve more

than one component. The difficulty is usually in figuring out which component is

responsible for the problem. The key is to make only one change at a time and then see if

the problem goes away. You will want to first check the most probable sources of the

problem and the things that are the easiest to change. Make use of components that you

know work.

3. Replace

Use anti-static boxes and bags for storage.

4. Retest

System must be reassembled carefully before testing.

NOTE: Never continue with a repair if you are tired or frustrated!!

IF ALL ELSE FAILS REFER TO YOUR OWNERS MANUAL

FOR TROUBLESHOOTING TIPS.

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HARD DRIVES

Most hardware problems are actually controller or software issues, particularly corrupted

system files or viruses. Hard drive performance degrades with time as the information

you are seeking gets spread all over the disk, a process called FRAGMENTATION. The

main symptom is head thrashing which causes the hard drive LED (light) on the front of

the system box to flash rapidly for long stretches of time. You can correct the problem

with the DEFRAG program.

The two most common problems encountered with otherwise healthy hard drives are a

lack of sufficient free space and lost allocation space caused by turning the PC off while

its in windows application software, you should keep a minimum of 10% of your hard

drive space free at all times. Run SCANDISK to free up the lost space.

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PRINTERS

General Printer Troubleshooting

ƒ Make sure the job was sent to the correct printer

ƒ Check to see if the printer is turned on. The “ready” button should be lit

ƒ Make sure the printer has paper

ƒ See if the printer has a jam

ƒ Check cables to ensure that everything is securely plugged in

ƒ Try turning the printer off, wait 10 seconds, then turn it back on

Turning Your Computer On and Off

Turning On Your Computer


Press the power Button to turn on the computer.

NOTICE: You must turn off your computer through the START menu rather than by

pressing the power button. Otherwise, you may lose data.

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Turning Off Your Computer
1. Save and close any open files, exit any open programs, click the start button, and then

click TURN OFF COMPUTER.

2. In the TURN OFF COMPUTER window, click turn off. The computer automatically

turns off after the shutdown process finishes.

COMPUTER MONITOR

The monitor is a hardware device which physically connects to your video card. The

monitor allows information and current status to be visually outputted similar to a TV.

Like most TVs, the computer monitor has a CRT, or Cathode Ray Tube, which is found

inside the computer monitor as illustrated in the above picture. The CRT is the main

component and most expensive part within your computer monitor. Within the CRT are

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three electron guns, Red, Green and Blue. Each of these guns streams a steady flow of

electrons, left to right, for each line of your monitor. As the electrons hit the phosphors

on the CRT, the phosphor will glow certain intensities. As a new line begins, the guns

will then begin at the left and continue right; these guns will repeat this process

sometimes thousands of times until the screen has been completely drawn line by line.

Once the phosphors on the CRT have been hit with an electron they will only glow for a

short period of time; because of this, the CRT must be refreshed, which means the

process will be repeated as explained above. If the video card's refresh rate is not set high

enough, you may encounter a flicker or a noticeable steady line scrolling from the top to

the bottom of your screen.

COMPUTER MOUSEC

Troubleshooting a mouse problem

Symptom

The mouse does not work at all, or you receive a message that

"Windows did not detect a PS/2 mouse" when you first start your

system. There may also be a problem with the mouse working

intermittently or only in one direction.

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Cause

May be a problem with the connection of the mouse to the

computer. May be a problem with dirt or improper mouse pad.

Could be a wrong setting in the Mouse control panel or

Accessibility control panel.

Resolution

The steps outlined below are done using the keyboard in case the mouse is not

functioning. If you receive a message when Windows starts, stating that 'a PS/2 mouse

was not found' these steps will help narrow down, if not fix, your problem. Note: If you

are having a problem with a USB mouse, you should contact the manufacturer of the

mouse for troubleshooting steps.

Check for proper hardware connections

IMPORTANT! Always power the system off before connecting or disconnecting any

hardware or cables on your system.

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• Verify that the mouse is connected to the proper port on the back of the computer.

In most cases this port is color-coded.

• Visually inspect the plug at the end of the mouse cable. Look for bent or missing

pins (on a PS/2 mouse, there should be 6 tiny pins). If pins are missing or bent,

contact tech support for additional steps.

• When plugging the mouse into the computer, make certain the plug is pushed in

tightly.

• Verify that the mouse rollers and ball are clean and that the surface of the mouse

pad is clean and free of obstructions. Verify that the mouse pad is proper for

reliable mouse traction (not a piece of glass or some other very slick surface).

• Verify that no other hardware was recently installed in the system. If so, remove

the new hardware to verify there is no conflict with the mouse hardware. If the

new hardware is causing the problem, contact the manufacturer of the new

hardware for troubleshooting steps.

• If possible, connect the mouse to another computer to help verify that the mouse

is working properly. As an additional step, if possible, try another mouse on the

computer having issues.

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FREE SOFTWARE AND SERVICES

So you just bought your first computer and want to know what services or software might

be available to you. There are thousands of free software and services out there and

plenty of trials as well, so be careful and read everything. Remember the small print,

pages you do not feel like reading could be a big mistake.

First and foremost; you want to be protected against viruses, spyware, malware, and

hackers. Here is a summary of the ones I found best for the beginner user.

Avast.com

- free anti-virus
- automatic updates
- virus cleaner
- user friendly

AVG

- free anti-virus
- user friendly
- free.grisoft.com

Zone Alarm

- free firewall
- blocks hackers
- notifies you of hackers and blocks access attempts
- makes your pc invisible to anyone on the internet

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Sandboxie.com

- protect against spyware and malware


- not everything you do will go directly to the hard drive but a
“sandbox”
- anti-virus
- anti-spyware tools

OpenDNS.com

- Phishing protection: protects against theft of your personal


information or money

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- Adult Site Blocker: lets you block adult sites from loading

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- Domain blocking: this function lets you block certain websites
from loading; gives you the control what gets blocked

- Address bar is smarter: it corrects spelling typos

- Create shortcuts instead of typing the whole address

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The best thing to do is go to each website and read about the functions and system

requirements required by software see which services are rated better than others. Ask

co-workers or your business IT department, what would they recommend or use for their

home PCs.

Once you are protected from the dark side of the internet, there are many usable

fun software services available. From file sharing to gaming, the list is endless. I will

share a few that I have heard about, or use on my personal PC.

Zoho.com

- has many of free services


- e-mail, planner, chat, web conferencing, and etc.
- free to sign up and have an account

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Picnik.com

- edit all your photos online


- fix red eye
- nothing to download
- works with most operating systems

Limewire.com

- person to person share software


- firewall to firewall transfers
- no spyware or adware
- runs on most operating systems
- built in media player

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K7.net

- receive faxes to your email


- receive voice mail to your email

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Shockwave.com

- offers free online versions


- offers free trails as well

Ebaumsworld.com

- free games from different makers


- free video and other services

Last.fm

- no down load required


- keeps track of what music you listen to and then produces a
large number of features with similar style
- good for a work, school, or home
There are many software and services out there for you to enjoy. Always read

everything before you install or download anything. Have fun and do a search for

what you are looking for and go from there. Just remember to check and read

everything first, the small print matters.

BASIC HOME/SMALL OFFICE NETWORKING

Connecting two PCs directly to each other is a relatively simple and straightforward

process. For starters, both PCs need to have properly installed Ethernet adapters. This

means that the device driver for the network interface card (NIC) is loaded and the

Device Manager reports it as enabled and working. Next you'll need to configure each

adapter with a static Internet protocol (IP) address and a common Subnet. For our

example we'll assign the first computer an IP address of 192.168.0.1 and the second

computer an address of 192.168.0.2. Both machines should be given the Subnet

255.255.255.0. Now you want to make sure that both machines have been configured as

members of the same workgroup. Any name will work for the workgroup name as long

as it doesn't exceed 15 characters (ex. WORKGROUP).

NETWORKING CONTINUED

The last thing you'll need is a Crossover cable. The Crossover cable will be connected to

the Ethernet port of each PC. All that's left to do now is reboot the system. Upon reboot,

go to a DOS prompt and try to Ping the other PC. To do this just type PING and the IP

address of the system you're trying to reach (ex. C:\>PING 192.168.0.2). You should get
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five replies. If for some reason your Ping returns a timeout message, then you

might have another problem. The most common issue has to do with Windows XP and

the Internet Connection Firewall (ICF). The Windows XP Network Setup Wizard will

sometimes enable ICF on your Ethernet adapter. ICF is designed to protect you from

threats outside of your network by blocking unauthorized traffic from reaching your PC.

It is supposed to be used only on the interface that directly connects to your Internet

connection. However, if ICF is enacted on an interface that is being used to connect to

another PC, it will block all the transmissions being sent to it. It will not even respond to

pings. ICF must be disabled in order for the connection to work. The only thing left to do

now is enable file and print sharing. The procedure for sharing a drive, folder or printer is

pretty much the same. To share a folder simply open Windows Explorer and locate the

folder you want to share. Right-click and select "Sharing and Security." Go to the Sharing

tab and select the option "Share this folder on the network." If you wanted to share a

drive, you would check the box that reads "you understand the risk but still want to share

the root of the drive." After you say "OK," a small hand will appear under the drive or

folder you selected. This indicates that sharing has been enabled and the folder will now

be accessible from the other PC. Sharing a printer is almost identical to sharing a folder.

Just right-click on the printer you want to share and select Properties. Go to the sharing

tab and select "Share this Printer." Give the printer a shared name and press "OK." The

hand will appear and the printer will now be shared. This completes the configuration of

your network. Many routers today have built-in switches ranging from 4 to 8 ports. This

would solve your immediate need for a Switch and make upgrading to broadband later as

easy as plugging in a cable. Good, low cost routers are available from D-Link, Netgear

and Linksys, just to name a few.

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EQUIPMENT FOR ETHERNET NETWORKING

These are the items used to create the Ethernet networks described below.

Ethernet cable - Each device you want to connect to your Ethernet network requires a

standard RJ-45 twisted pair cable, sometimes called a patch cable. Here are some

illustrations of an RJ-45 Ethernet connector from two views, and a computer's Ethernet

port with the Ethernet icon above it.

If you don't have an Ethernet cable, find out which cables are used by Macintosh

computers.

Ethernet hub - This is an appliance that has several Ethernet ports. You connect each

device to the hub with an Ethernet cable to form a network.

Crossover cable - This is a special type of Ethernet cable used to connect two devices

directly without a hub.


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Router - This device directs traffic on your network, and it often looks similar to the hub

in the picture above. It's especially important on a home network, because a router is

what allows two or more computers to share the same Internet connection.

Three simple networks

HUB NETWORK

In a simple hub network just connect each device to a hub with an Ethernet cable as

shown above. This network may be used for file sharing or printing, for example. The

depicted network is not connected to the Internet.

CROSSOVER NETWORK TWO DEVICES ONLY

In this most simple network, you connect two devices' Ethernet ports with one crossover

cable as shown here. This type of network may be used for sharing files, playing network

video games, or printing to a printer that has Ethernet, for example.

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Tip: If you buy a crossover cable, it's a good idea to label it clearly so you don't confuse it

with a standard cable. Depending on which computers you're using, a crossover cable

may prevent connection to a network. Some later Macintosh computers can automatically

detect and reconfigure pinouts so that a crossover cable is not required and/or may be

used interchangeably with a standard cable.

ROUTER WITH SHARED INTERNET CONNECTION

In this network, your Internet service provider allows you one Internet connection that is

shared among computers by a router. In the example shown here, the router is an AirPort

base station. An Ethernet cable connects a DSL or cable modem to the base station's

WAN port. Another Ethernet cable connects the base station's LAN port to a wired

computer. Where the illustration shows one wired computer, you could connect a hub to

the LAN port to accommodate many wired computers.

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Tip: A router is the best way to connect your network of computers to the Internet. If you

do not want to purchase a router but still want to connect to the Internet while using other

TCP/IP applications (such as file sharing) on your local network, your computers must be

set up in a specific way.

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Software Trouble Shooting

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Turn

Reference Terms
• Computer software is a • Installing: Installing a
general term that software program writes
describes computer the necessary data for
programs. running the program on
• Related terms such as your hard drive
software programs, • Operating System: The
applications, scripts, and OS is what allocates
instruction sets all fall memory, processes
under the category of tasks, accesses disks
computer software. and peripherials, and
serves as the user
interface

off

Restart

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Software Terms
• The monitor displays
the computer's user
interface and open
programs, allowing
the user to interact
with the computer,
typically using the
keyboard and mouse.

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Turning the Tower on
• Make sure computer
tower is on.
• Press the computer
button and a sound
will be made or the
light will turn green

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Is Monitor turned on
• Once the computer is
on the monitor should
also have a screen
showing to insure you
both parts are
working correctly

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Running Software
• Once installing
software you will get a
screen like this. The
screen will ask you to
run the software and
click run.
• Your new software
should begin to install

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Installation Error
• Upon installing your
software you may
encounter an error.
• Don’t panic, this may
be a simple error that
can be fixed.

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Bar code
• Start over and make
sure you read and
installed the correct
bar code that gos’
with the software. The
bar code is on the
disk case or box that
the software came in.

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Start over
• Reboot your computer.
• Re-insert the disc in the hard drive
• Once pop up appears, re-enter code
• Run the software.
• If that does not work follow the next steps
provided.

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Works Cited
"EBAUMSWORLD - Funny Pictures, Hilarious Videos, Flash Games and Jokes."
EBAUMSWORLD - Funny Pictures, Hilarious Videos, Flash Games and Jokes.
30 Aug 2007. 30 Aug 2007 <http://ebaumsworld.com>.

"K7 Unified Messaging, free Fax and voicemail to email.." K7 Unified Messaging, free
Fax and voicemail to email.. 30 Aug 2007. 30 Aug 2007 <http://k7.net>.

"Last.fm &ndash; The Social Music Revolution." Last.fm &ndash; The Social Music
Revolution. 30 Aug 2007. 30 Aug 2007 <http://last.fm>.

"Lime Wire &raquo; Official Website & Free Download, BitTorrent &laquo;." Lime
Wire &raquo; Official Website & Free Download, BitTorrent &laquo;. 30 Aug
2007. 30 Aug 2007 <http://limewire.com>.

Norton, Peter. Peter Norton's Introduction To Computers Fifth Edition Student Edition.
boston: Career Education, 2002.

"Online Office, Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Presentation, CRM and more." Online
Office, Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Presentation, CRM and more. 30 Aug
2007. 30 Aug 2007 <http://zoho.com>.

"OpenDNS | Providing A Safer And Faster DNS." OpenDNS | Providing A Safer And
Faster DNS. 30 Aug 2007. 30 Aug 2007 <http://opendns.com>.

"Picnik - edit photos the easy way, online in your browser." Picnik - edit photos the easy
way, online in your browser. 30 Aug 2007. 30 Aug 2007 <http://picnik.com>.

"Play Games - Free Online Games, Free Downloadable Games at Shockwave." Play
Games - Free Online Games, Free Downloadable Games at Shockwave. 30 Aug
2007. 30 Aug 2007 <http://www.shockwave.com>.

"Sandboxie - Front Page." Sandboxie - Front Page. 30 Aug 2007. 30 Aug 2007
<http://sandboxie.com>.

"ZoneAlarm by Check Point - Award winning PC Protection, Antivirus, Firewall, Anti-


Spyware, Identity Protection, and much more.." ZoneAlarm by Check Point -
Award winning PC Protection, Antivirus, Firewall, Anti-Spyware, Identity
Protection, and much more.. 30 Aug 2007. 30 Aug 2007
<http://zonealarm.com>.

"avast! antivirus software - computer virus, worm and Trojan protection by ALWIL
Software." avast! antivirus software - computer virus, worm and Trojan
protection by ALWIL Software. 30 Aug 2007. 30 Aug 2007 <http://avast.com>.

Created at www.bibme.org

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