In this section
Company Support
2 Minute Tutes
Backing Up

Buying a computer
CD Burning
Digital Music
Instant Messaging
Further Reading
2 Minute Tutes -

In 2 minutes, you should know:

  • What to do when you get an error

  • What to do if your computer stops responding

  • How to stop your printer printing strange characters

  • What to do if you cannot access your network

What to do when you get an error

First of all, note the exact words of the error message.  You don’t have to write it down, you have a computer that can do that for you - here’s how: press Alt-PrtScn (that is, press & hold down the Alt key & tap the PrtScn key (near the top right on your keyboard).  You won’t see anything happen, but your computer has just made a copy of the error.  To see it, start any program that can handle an image, such as Paint, WordPad, Word or a new email message.  Click Edit, Paste.  Voila, you should see your error message appear.  Now you can save it or email it.

Next, take note of what you did immediately prior to the error, and what programs were running.  Shut the computer down.  This is better than just a restart because some components (CD-ROM, modems) are not reset during a restart.  Then try to reproduce the error.  Many errors are fixed by this process.


What to do if your computer stops responding

If your computer stops responding for a long period of time, press  Ctrl - Alt - Del .  If nothing happens within 30 seconds, you should turn off the computer (you may have to hold the power button in until the power goes off), otherwise:

In Windows 95, 98 & Me

The "End Task" window is displayed

click the problem task (often with “Not responding” appended)

Click  End Task

If the problem persists, repeat with all tasks except Explorer & SysTray

Windows NT, 2000 & XP

Task Manager is displayed
(you may need to click the Task Manager button

Click the  Applications  tab

If a listed application is labeled “Not responding” then click it, then click  End Task

Click the Performance tab.  If the processor usage (the first green number) is


How to stop your printer printing strange characters

If your printer starts printing pages with strange characters unexpectedly:

  • Turn off the printer
  • Clear the printer queue, either by restarting the computer or double-clicking on the printer icon that appears at the bottom right of the screen near the time & click Printer, Cancel all documents.
  • Turn the printer on and try to print something else.

If nothing will print properly, the problem is often due to the incorrect printer software, for example, when you click File, Print you see a Canon printer listed but you are printing to an Epson printer.

What to do if you cannot access your network

There are many different network configurations, but here are the most common things to check.

  • you are logged on with the correct username & password
  • If asked to enter a password, do not click Cancel
  • Start a command prompt or MS-DOS prompt.  Type ipconfig and press Enter.  The IP address listed (similar to should have the same first three numbers as the other computers on your network.
  • Has your network cable come out?  Trace it back to the hub and look for a light to indicate a "link" to your computer.
  • What has changed since the last time you were able to connect to the network?  For example, if a firewall was recently installed, try disabling it temporarily.
  • Are others having the same problem or is it confined to your computer?
  • To check your connection from other computers, start the command prompt and type ping (or whatever IP address you saw after IP config above).  If you get four replies, there is no physical problem with your link.  Otherwise you will get "Destination host unreachable" or "Request timed out."