Coly Computer Help

Seeking Help

WARNING: A serious problem strikes at least once in a computer's life. Print this page and keep it somewhere safe so that in the event of a dead computer or an out of date computer you know what to do.

Two kinds of help:
(1) One concerns tuition,  i.e., you need to know how to do something. Click the How to... item on the menu above. Ninety percent of calls to help lines (and to computer technicians like myself) result from the callers' lack of basic training or callers refusing to read their manuals. Mastering a computer requires tuition and a great deal of practice. No one need remain ignorant or helpless because abundant help is available in the form of books, magazines, classes and private tuition, manuals, the help files on the computer, and websites like this one.

2) The other relates to a problem affecting your computer or software.

If you cannot find the solution to the problem on this website you will need to call in a technician, or access support forums, or phone a help line.

Before calling a technician, prepare for his visit using the advice in the right hand column.

To contact a support forum: Try these, I have found them very helpful. I recommend that you join the free forum on each website:-

Try entering the problem into a search engine such as, or but be wary of adverts offering quick fixes. If you had an error message pop up when the problem occurred then type the first part of the error message into the search engine.

Screen capture. If you have a problem and a pop-up panel appears, save a picture of the pop-up panel to show to a technician so that he can diagnose the problem. With the pop-up panel on the screen, hold down the Alt key and tap the Print Screen key (right hand end of the top row of keys). Load the Windows Paint program as follows:-
Start-->All Programs--> Accessories--> Paint
. Then hold down the Ctrl key and tap the V key. The pop-up screen picture will appear. Save it with a suitable name to an appropriate folder



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Adrian West  © 2007 computer help, computer problems solved

A West web design  click here for an example

Before phoning fo helpProblem affecting your computer or software?
Before you call in a technician, take the following actions:-

1. Don't panic, have a cup of tea, then write down precisely what happened when the problem arose. Note down exactly what you were doing just before it occurred, be careful not to omit anything. The item you omitted might be exactly what the technician needs to know. Note carefully any messages which appeared on the screen at the time of the problem, or leading up to the problem. If a warning appears about a virus or Trojan, write down exactly what it says. Also, note down the details of any odd behaviour or noises you observed during the weeks before the problem.

2. Next, collect together all the CDs and all the literature which came with the computer. Have them ready. I have wasted a lot of time, and the client has had to pay extra for the time wasted while the client hunts for CDs and manuals. Meanwhile, right now, check that your CDs are in good order. I have seen valuable CDs scratched, bent or covered in a sticky mess. Replacing these essential CDs can cost as much as a new computer. For instance, a Windows XP CD costs up to £120, a Windows Office CD can cost up to £450, an anti-virus CD can cost up to £60. Put your CDs in rigid plastic cases and store them carefully away from heat moisture and sunlight. When dusting or cleaning CDs use a soft cloth and brush gently outwards from the centre to the rim (like the spokes of a wheel). DO NOT rub round the disk.

3. For internet/email problems. Have ready the details provided by your ISP (Internet Service Provider).

4. Then telephone the technician and explain the problem exactly so that he can bring with him the correct tools, and so that he can research the symptoms in advance to find the best solution.

5. Scan your computer for viruses and spies before the technician arrives. Otherwise you will have to pay for the technician to run a scan when he visits. In other words, you pay for the time he sits around waiting for the scan to finish.

6. Do not have the computer switched on when the technician visits. He will need to listen and watch when it starts up, or attempts to start up.

7. Make sure you back up regularly: If you failed to back up your data, your emails, and your address book, then this information will be lost for good if :-
(i) the operating system needs to be reinstalled
(ii) you need a new hard disk
(iii) you need a new computer

8. Be patient with the technician. A problem can have up to100 different causes and it usually takes some time to track down the precise reason for a problem.

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