Before you submit a Helpdesk Ticket, have you tried the following? These are the non-technical techniques to resolve most computer and peripheral related problems. Please go through this list before submitting a Helpdesk Ticket. While these steps may sound trivial, one or more of them account for over a majority of computer problems.

Troubleshooting Tips


Make sure that all POWER CABLES are plugged in securely to your computer and all other devices, the a/c outlet, and any power strips. If using a power strip, make sure the power indicator light is on. Check the POWER BUTTONS on your computer and all other devices such as the Monitor, Printer, Scanner, etc. Make sure you have a green power indicator light on all devices. Power on all external devices (i.e., printers, scanners and zip drives) prior to booting your computer.


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, but the monitor is blank check the following:

Monitor signal cord is firmly plugged into computer.

Ensure that the computer is ON. If you put you hand at the rear of the computer, you should feel the fan blowing air. If the room is quiet, you can hear the fan, too. On most computers, on the keyboard there is a little green light in the upper right corner labeled Num Lock. If the computer is ON, this little light should be lit.

Ensure that the computer is awake. Move the mouse and hit the space bar a few times. Wait 20 seconds for the computer to wake up.

If the monitor is still blank, and there is no light on the keyboard, then the monitor may need replacing.

The monitor is blank, but there are no lights on the keyboard. Check all switches, circuit breakers, and cables. Computer power cables sometimes look like they're plugged in securely, but they need to be pushed in firmly to ensure connection. 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.

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 the computer. You may lose all information typed in since the most recent save. If there is a reset button on the computer box, push it. Otherwise push and hold down the CTRL and ALT keys. While holding down, gently tap the DELETE key once. If the mouse works, click on Shut Down. Otherwise, tap the S key while holding down the ALT key. This will turn the computer off. Once it is off, count to ten and turn it back on again.


Ensure that the mouse is plugged in securely. Turn the mouse upside down. Verify that the mouse ball is sticking out slightly through the round hole. If there is no ball, you may need to order a new one. If there is a switch on the bottom side of the mouse, make sure it is set to MS not PC. After moving the switch or plugging in the mouse, you must reboot the computer. If you can't use the mouse to access the Start button, you can do it from the keyboard. While holding down the CTRL key, tap the ESC key to bring up the START menu. Use the up arrow key to move up to the Shut Down command and then press the Enter key to select it. Select Shut Down and Restart.

If the mouse moves poorly, usually there is crud on the rollers or on the ball. Turn the mouse upside down. Slide the little door to allow the ball to fall out. Clean the ball. There are three little rollers inside. There is usually black crud in a stripe down  the middle of each roller. Scrape it off, rotating the rollers to get the crud off all the way around the rollers. Replace the ball and the little door. Ensure that the little door is firmly seated. You do not need to reboot the computer after cleaning the mouse.


Ensure the connection. Turn off the computer and make sure the mouse and keyboard plugs aren't switched. Make sure that nothing is leaning on the keyboard and that there are no stuck keys.


Turn the power off and back on again. Check the ink cartridges and paper supply. Try printing again by using the File, Print menu commands, checking to see if you have selected the correct printer before you press PRINT. If you are using a Network printer, be sure you are logged in or it will not be able to receive your print job. Check the printer control panel and see if your printer is OFFLINE. If so, right click and see on the popup utility window if there is a check mark next to User Printer Offline. If so, remove the check mark by clicking on it (Make sure you are logged in first). Check your local print queue. If there are print jobs in the queue, save your document, delete the queued print jobs, and try printing again.

Printer Paper Jam

Try fanning the paper before using it. Try using new paper that is designed for Xerox machines or DeskJet printers. On humid days, old paper gets heavy and wet and printers have problems feeding it. Printers can jam and misfeed due to humid rollers or misaligned rollers.


If you cannot connect  to the Internet, verify with your school's troubleshooter that it is not a school-wide problem. Occasionally, everyone will lose access to the  Internet for a few hours due to problems or updates to the equipment. Once you verify it is just you machine, try shutting down the computer and restarting it.


Make sure the network patch cable is securely connected to the back of the computer and the wall plug. Make sure you have a Green Link Light and a flashing amber or green activity light on your Network Card. (This is where your network patch cable is connected to the back of your computer). Ensure that you are logged on properly to the network using the correct username and password. If you clicked cancel or the X in the upper right corner of the login box, or received an error, you are not logged in and network resources will not be available. If you don't see a "Login Results" screen from your login, then there may be a network connection problem. Check with others to see if the network is down.

Disk Error or Non-System Disk

If there is a disk in the remove it and press any key. Your system will not start with a disk in Drive A. If there is no disk in the drive and your computer is making clunking or grinding noises, submit a work order. 


Check that all Input/Output INTERFACE CABLES are securely plugged into the back of the computer. Such as: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Speakers, Printer, Scanner, Zip Drive, Averkey, SmartBoard, AlphaSmart, or Digital Camera.


Check volume controls and connections to the speakers and back of the computer. Make sure your speakers are plugged into the OUTPUT port.