Now you know

Whether you want to solve computer problems yourself or enlist the help of someone more technical, you’ll save time and minimize frustration if you know how to do a few simple things.

I’m here to help!

Turn off your computer

That sounds simple and generally it is.

Click on Start | Power | Shut down

That’s all there is to it most days. Sometimes, though, computers don’t start up properly or shut down fully, and you might need to shut down manually.

To do this, press and hold the power button on the computer.

Press and hold that power button like you mean it. You need to hold it down until you hear the computer shut off, and sometimes that can take as long as 15 seconds.

If a technician tells you to disconnect the computer completely from its power source, you need to unplug it from the electrical outlet.

If the computer is a laptop, you also need to remove the battery (unplug from the outlet first!) to stop all electrical current from flowing.

Reboot your router or your modem

You are going to have to do this at some time in your life. Persistent issues with connecting to the Internet require rebooting your router and/or modem as part of the troubleshooting process.

Even if you call your Internet Service Provider for help, you’re going to have to reboot something some day.

Here’s the deal. “Reboot” simply means restart the device. There are geeky ways to do this, but I’ll just cover the easy way here.

First, identify the thing you want to reboot. The router and modem might be two different pieces of equipment, or they might be all one device. Locate your router and or modem. Now, locate the power cord that connects that device to an electrical outlet.

When you’re ready to reboot the device, unplug the power cord. 

(You don’t have to crawl around on the floor; unplugging either end has the same effect. It’s almost always easier to unplug the end of the power cord that connects to the device rather than to the electrical outlet.)

Hold that cord in your hand, count to 30, and then plug it back in. Wait a couple of minutes for the device to come back to life and see if that fixed your problem.

If it didn’t, you can contact your service provider confident in the knowledge that you’ll know how to do this when they ask you to.

Because they will ask you.

Know what operating system your computer is running

Maybe you want to use Google to find a solution to whatever computer glitch is troubling you, or maybe you want someone to help you. One of the things you should know is what operating system you’re running.

The easiest way to find this on a Windows computer:

  • Press the Windows key and the R key simultaneously (WinKey+R)
  • Type winver in the field next to “Open”
  • Press the Enter key

This will open a new window with the information you need. (See this article for other ways.

If you’re using a Mac:

  • Click on the Apple icon in the top left corner of your screen
  • Click on About This Mac

This will open a window with the information. (See this article for more.)

Are you a little more comfortable with your computer skills?


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About the Author

The Technology Shaman, Cate Eales, has been helping people make online computing safe, accessible, and fun for over 30 years.

Cate lives in Kelowna with her husband, Eric. She owns and operates Computer Care Kelowna, a mobile computer business providing on-site service for home and small business customers.

Cate is here to help you and your home or business computer get along.

E-mail Cate at [email protected] with comments, suggestions, or questions.

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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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