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Tech Tips

PC Troubleshooting Guide

Most PC problems are easy to fix. Please read this before sending in a work order since it covers some common computer problems.


1.  Which of the following describes the problem?
  • Monitor is blank and displays nothing - go to Step 2.
  • Monitor displays words, not the usual screen - go to Step 5
  • Computer appears to be frozen - go to Step 6
  • Monitor displays garbage, blue screen or odd symbols - go to Step 6
  • Monitor looks normal, but computer acts abnormally - go to Step 6
  • Printer paper jams - go to Step 7
  • Other printer problems - go to Step 8
  • Network error message - go to Step 10
  • Problem with the Internet - go to Step 11
  • Other problems not described above - go to Step 12


2.  Monitor is blank

This usually happens when something is unplugged, a switch is turned off, the computer is asleep, or the monitor is asleep. If the monitor is turned on and awake, there will be a little green light in the lower right hand corner of the monitor. If the light is lit, go to Step 3. If there is no green light, check the following:
  • Computer power strips plugged in and turned ON (most of them light up when on)
  • Monitor switch is turned ON
  • Move the mouse or hit the space bar to wake up the computer in case it is sleeping. Flat Screens use the “blank” screen saver to save the LCD panel for longer life. Wait 20 seconds for it to wake up.
  • Monitor power cord is plugged in to the back of the monitor, and to the wall or power strip.
Is the little green light on the monitor lit now?
If yes and screen is still blank, then continue to Step 3.
If yes and screen displays something, go back to Step 1.
If no, then go to Step 12.


3.  Monitor light lit, but monitor is blank

Check the following:
  • Monitor signal cord is firmly plugged into computer and back of monitor.
  • Make sure that the computer is ON. If you put your hand at the rear of the computer, you should feel the fan blowing air. On most computers, there is a little green light in the upper right corner of the keyboard labeled Num Lock. If the computer is ON, this little light should be lit, and if not, then try hitting the "Num Lock" key to check it.
  • Make sure the computer is awake. Move the mouse and hit the space bar a few times. Wait 20 seconds for the computer to wake up.
  • Adjust brightness and contrast controls on the monitor in case a they are turned down.
If the monitor is still blank, and there is a light on the keyboard, then the monitor might need replacement. Go to Step 12.
If the monitor is still blank, and no lights flashed, then go to Step 4.


4.  The monitor is blank, but there are no lights on the keyboard
Check all switches and cables. Remember that cables may plug in an either end between devices or power.  Computer power cables sometimes look like they’re plugged in, but need to be pushed in harder to make contact. Push all the power cables into the equipment to make sure they are seated firmly. If there is a button labeled “reset” on the front of the computer box, push it. If not, hold the power button down for 10 seconds and release. Wait 30 seconds and Press the power button again to turn the machine back on.
If you still get nothing on the monitor, go to Step 12.


5.  Monitor displays words, but not the normal screen

What message do you see?
  • A blue screen with any of these words: fatal exception, invalid, overflow, insufficient memory - You need to reboot (Turn computer off, wait 30 seconds, turn computer back on) the computer. You will lose all information typed in since the most recent save. If there is a reset button on the front of the computer, push it. Otherwise, press and hold the power button down for 10 seconds and release. Press the power button again to turn the machine back on. If this does not cure the problem, or if it recurs frequently, go to Step 12. Make sure to note which program you were running when you get the error message, and which error message you received.
  • CMOS state low, Battery state low, Time-of-day-clock not set, Invalid configuration - run SETUP, or any message with the word CMOS in it. - go to Step 12.
  • Keyboard error - press F1 to continue. Your keyboard is unplugged, defective, or the connection is loose. Make sure it is firmly plugged in. Hit the F1 key. If it still does not respond, reboot the computer by hitting the reset button (if there is one) or else turn the computer off. If this happens repeatedly, the keyboard should be replaced. If the computer boots normally, you’re done. If you still have a problem, go to Step 12.

Any other message - follow the on-screen instructions, if any. If that doesn’t work, or if there are no instructions, go to Step 12.


6.  Computer freezes or else the monitor looks normal but computer acts abnormal

Every computer freezes from time to time. Once a month is normal, but more often is not. Go to Step 12 for frequent freezes or other strange symptoms. Make sure to indicate which programs make the computer freeze, or if it randomly locks up.


Computer frozen?

Press the Ctrl-Alt-Delete keys at the same time (called a “soft boot.”) and select the "Start Task Manager" option.  On the "Applications" tab you can identify the tasks that your computer was doing prior to freezing. One of them usually says (not responding) next to it. Highlight that one and click on End Task. You should be back in business. If so, save your work if possible and restart the computer. If the machine hard locked and does not respond to CTRL-ALT-DEL, then push the reset button on the computer if there is one. If not, turn the power off, count to ten slowly, and turn the power back on. If it’s not fixed, go to Step 12.

Computer won’t shut down?

Give the computer some time, and be patient, as it may be installing updates. If the computer does not automatically turn off after several minutes, and there are no special messages on the monitor, hold down the On/Off button until the computer turns off.

Out-of-memory error message?

You might receive a message saying that you are out of memory. You probably have too many programs open and there is not enough memory available for the computer to handle them. Close all programs that you are not using. This often doesn’t give your system all of its memory back, but it should give you enough memory to shut down the computer and start again. If this continue to happen, you will need to run one program at a time or contact the technology department to upgrade your computer’s memory.


7.  Printer Paper Jams

Try fanning the paper before using it. Try using new paper. On humid days, old paper gets heavy and wet and printers have problems feeding it. Some paper is too flimsy. Printers can jam and misfeed due to gummy or misaligned rollers. If changing paper doesn’t help, and it keeps jamming, go to Step 12.

8.  Other printer problems

Make sure the printer is turned on and ONLINE. DeskJet printers typically have just one indicator light for on. Make sure it is lit. Laser printers usually have two indicator lights. One is next to the words ONLINE and must be lit in order to print. Lasers should also display the READY message if they have a display panel. Check the cables connecting the computer with the printer. Check that there is paper in the printer. Turn it off and back on again. You might have a paper jam inside the printer. Remove all paper from inside and reload paper.


Printer Spitting Out Paper Or Printing “Weird Stuff”: Turn printer OFF by holding down the power button until the printer turns off. Clear the Print Queue—see below.

9.  Clearing the printer queue

When jobs are sent to the printer, they wait in the queue until the printer is free. When you have printer problems, it is a good idea to clear all jobs out of the queue. From the Start button, select "Devices and Printers" and open up the printer in question. If the window is blank, there are no queued jobs. If there are jobs present, you need to highlight them one-at-a-time and click on Document - Cancel printing for each one. It may take a minute or two to finish clearing. Once the queue is empty, print a test page from the Windows Control Panel. Close the Window you just opened. From the Start button, select "Devices and Printers" and this time right-click on the printer in question. In this new menu, right-click on the appropriate printer, and select "Printer Properties" then "Print Test Page" and see if the test page prints properly.

If these actions don't solve your printer issue, go to Step 12.


10.  Network error messages

If you are trying to save to a network server or get a message about resources not found or not in use, or if you need a password to access resources, then you need to send a work order in to Technology. Make sure to include this information: What username you logged on with, what program you were running, what resources you tried to access, which machine you tried to save on, and the error message.


11.  Internet problems

If you cannot connect to the Internet, before contacting Technology, make sure that this is not a school-wide problem by checking with the office or another teacher. Occasionally, everyone in the district will lose the Internet for a few hours due to problems with equipment. Once you are sure that it is just your machine, try shutting down the computer and restarting it.

If you still can’t connect, please write down all error messages, if any, and go to Step 12.


12.  Contact the Technology Department
  • Remain calm, computer issues need not be intimidating.
  • Collect as many details as you can regarding the issue.
  • Describe the issue as clearly as you can, providing all details.
  • Submit a technology support request within Eduphoria.
The AISD technology department may be contacted directly by email at technology@academyisd.net or by phone at 254-982-4137.  We are often out of the office working on different campuses, and may not be available to answer the phone immediately, please leave a detailed message.