Tech Tips for Writers is an occasional post on overcoming Tech Dread. I’ll cover issues that friends, both real-time and virtual, have shared. Feel free to post a comment about a question you have. I’ll cover it in a future Tip.
Q: I’m not a techie. I use my computer mostly for email and the internet. Are there easy first steps I can try when everything goes wrong? Please don’t make it complicated or geeky!
There are three steps you should ALWAYS try before calling the experts. These will fix the problem about half the time and are within everyone’s skillset. Oh–do these in order:
Step One: Turn it off; turn it on
This also works for lots on non-computer problems (like the TV, the modem, even your car). Turn the computer off. Wait ten seconds. Turn it on and let it go through its start-up cycle. If that didn’t work, go to Step Two.
Step Two: Run a virus check.
Finding your virus program is as easy as going to Search and typing in ‘virus check’. Or ask Siri to find it. It may be an email brought with it a virus. This will walk you through the usually-simple steps of removing that. If that didn’t work, go to Step Three
Step Three: Google it.
I see your face. You think this is too techie. Here’s an example. My husband trundled upstairs and dropped his computer in my lap last week mumbling about his mouse being wonky. It was. Bless his heart, he already went through Step One and Two. Well, I repeated them and then Googled exactly what he had told me the problem was–“My mouse is wonkie on my Surface Pro.” Within ten seconds, I had five solutions. Within a minute, we fixed the wonky mouse.
So, the corollary to Step Three–Google it–is have a friend hold your hand while you do this, as my husband did with me.
Now, there is a Step Four which works amazingly well if your problem occurred immediately after a system update but it’s a bit geeky. If you’re feeling brave, read on.
Step Four: Uninstall the Windows Update
You find Windows Updates by typing that phrase into the Search bar. Then go to ‘View Update History’ ‘View Installed Updates’, and then pick the most recent update and remove it. Some updates–though not addressing your problem–gunk up the computer with their drivers and stuff and that causes whatever your problem was.
OK. What do you think? Am I in the weeds with this post?
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Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice, a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Quest for Home, Fall 2019. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning