[techtalk] DESKTOP – How to Get Unstuck

HANNING Darci * SLO Darci.HANNING at slo.oregon.gov
Tue Nov 17 15:02:52 PST 2020

Greetings and welcome to this week’s issue of Tech-Talk!
When your computer acts up... what do you do?


 This Week's Topic: DESKTOP

1. ARTICLE & VIDEO ... How to Get Unstuck
2. COMMUNICATING ... How not to give a compliment (Part 1)
3. LEADERSHIP ... The dangers of assuming ... at any level
·     Nov 18: New Pedagogy for Online Learning... How to Get and Keep Students Engaged in Remote Situations
·     Dec 2: Creating and Maintaining Social Media Accounts (Basic & Intermediate)
·     Dec 9: Best Way to Use Tech-Talk With Patrons and Students (For Staff of Tech-Talk Subscribing Libraries & Schools)
·     Dec 16: Video Editing! (You asked for it!)

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[getting unstuck]<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001oA1Jel4tf8T-gGogMqyhNc4zx9znA_Fzz2ND3vMX7ZzTbksL45-a7oq5ozqPNjK-A2Duj4JHts04mGY97vVxEviKfflrdXdexzrd6FXrhjXVBscUqLR-p2oVjxAxkm3hV1vUXi8qKLtddLJYPCp-ErJu1XKJPZP-i7ODF_kF-dF6HSCwm22KeQ==&c=BceYB3lsscSCSQO2WUlsE9Zy9Kp_lDso0t1sJVWfE0GfNI_sYyPQ8Q==&ch=KfDLDXrN4i-Iq6sO2QkWtzHUcX1R4mc38eC_gZb9QQ_SHwIedh2aFQ==>

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DESKTOP - How to Get Unstuck

The other day I went to print a document. I have a wireless connection to my printer, and it said the device was not available… it was offline. Urg! I turned the printer off and then on again, I went to my computer's printer settings and tried different options, no luck. After about 10 minutes I remembered the advice, "If all else fails, re-boot." Sure enough, just safely turning my computer off and on again refreshed the computer's connection to the printer and I was able to print.

[get unstuck]

Inevitably, at some point your computer will get stuck. Software can get confused so it just freezes up, apps stop working, programs won't open, etc.

Here's another common problem.

You may be having trouble in an online meeting or classroom with connection issues. Wi-fi isn't working right. You're getting spotty transmission. No one can hear you today, but they usually can. The list goes on.

While certainly you have specific technology barriers (small bandwidth, old computer, basic tablet) that you can do little about, there are a number of troubleshooting steps you can take that may help the situation or solve the problem.

Yes, turning the power off with the Start icon ... or even pressing the power button until the machine shuts down ... could solve your issue. But that can be a jolt to your computer and there are other steps you can, and should do, that can do wonders.

Steps to Take to Get Unstuck

Here are a variety of things you can do (in order of ease on your computer), that may look simple, but each have been known to work well when you want to get unstuck.

·     Ensure your mouse is connected (cable firmly plugged in) and the batteries are working (if wireless). This sounds silly but you may think your computer is frozen, but it's really that your mouse is not connected. This actually happened to me. When traveling I turned my mouse off via the button on the bottom and forgot to turn it back on again. What a relief to find the solution was the flip of a switch.

·     Close any open programs or documents by going to File, then Close, or using the "X" in the upper right corner. Or you can do it from your taskbar at the bottom of the screen ... just right-click on any app and choose Close Window(s). This may help you identify if a certain program is causing the issue. And it helps to close programs safely if you need to do a hard reboot later.

[Ctrl alt delete]

·     Open the Task Manager to Close Apps. When your screen is frozen, you may not be able to close programs the normal way. In this case, press the Ctrl, Alt, and Delete keys simultaneously and choose Task Manager from the menu. This shows all currently running programs. Select the one from the list that is frozen and click the End task button. Close just the problem app or go through the list and End Task for all open ones. To see additional options, click the More details toggle at the bottom of the screen. Under the Processes tab, close any other programs that may be causing an issue.

·     Restart your Computer. If the problem app is closed and you're still having issues, press the Ctrl, Alt, and Delete keys. In the lower right of the screen window, click on the power icon and choose Restart. This solution almost always works and it's one we often forget about. There's nothing like your IT person asking you, "Did you restart your computer?" And then having to say, "No."

·     Hard Reboot. If you've tried all of the methods above and are still frozen, you can turn off the computer with a hard reboot by pressing and holding the physical power button ... then waiting 30 seconds or so before turning it on again. NOTE: A hard reboot is more stressful for your hard drive and power supply – so it should be used as a last resort.

·     Wiggle the Wires. If you're still having a problem (with the computer powered down) unplug it and gently wiggle the wires to make sure all the connections are secure and tight. Then power your computer back up again. When you wiggle wires to make sure they're secure, it may not feel as if anything is happening, but this action could be significant. True Story: My dad called me once as he wasn't able to print. I had him check all of the wires. It turned out that the printer had been unplugged!

·     Unplug to let out static. Over time static builds up in connections. Unplug your computer from the power cord and your cord from the power strip. Wait 5-10 seconds and plug back in. Yes, really! This is often the culprit of many problems.

What Happens to Unsaved Files?

[recover unsaved doc]

What happens if you're in a software program such as Word (Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) and it freezes up and closes down when you are in the middle of a document ... and you haven't named it yet?

Fortunately, Microsoft has your back. You most likely can recover un-saved documents. When you re-open one of these programs, it should display a Document Recovery pane so that you can rescue your file. If not, see this Tech-Talk article on how to retrieve unsaved files<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001oA1Jel4tf8T-gGogMqyhNc4zx9znA_Fzz2ND3vMX7ZzTbksL45-a7oq5ozqPNjK-VhDMCYaHbLE94rGODh8jwqdyoxxEXEMCXZoc4ifACUad6OHK4uw6PbrEloqtV-F7dnC0yCETJHr3n-TB_WWcAdBtZB1PbVYzOXpFJTc_Zb9yhkZ9bOTdtoBJwlI_RJqiJGwcYSYBsdNZHCCeSA3CMQ==&c=BceYB3lsscSCSQO2WUlsE9Zy9Kp_lDso0t1sJVWfE0GfNI_sYyPQ8Q==&ch=KfDLDXrN4i-Iq6sO2QkWtzHUcX1R4mc38eC_gZb9QQ_SHwIedh2aFQ==>.

Things to Do to Help Prevent Getting Stuck

·     Limit the number of open apps. Don't have 18 programs open at once. Close apps and website tabs that you're not currently using. Each of these takes up "thinking space" on your computer so that it works slower.

·     Empty your cache. Each time you visit a web page, your browser keeps a copy of it in the temporary Internet files folder on your computer's hard drive. Pulling the content up from there takes a lot less time than downloading it from the Internet again. However, it takes up space. Clean it out periodically. See how here<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001oA1Jel4tf8T-gGogMqyhNc4zx9znA_Fzz2ND3vMX7ZzTbksL45-a7oq5ozqPNjK-frnX25Ok6xSI1TynV74SrmfrTLLIqRWZA_vxXS1iFaYGm5O4oqVVeemz0Qppmgi8l2YMN6LSPsmu6ymLWFZxdxgL5HwnTp0-17WcH0Qfs5fcntjrEO1eSDRGiRvLSaK2sje8djgovxw=&c=BceYB3lsscSCSQO2WUlsE9Zy9Kp_lDso0t1sJVWfE0GfNI_sYyPQ8Q==&ch=KfDLDXrN4i-Iq6sO2QkWtzHUcX1R4mc38eC_gZb9QQ_SHwIedh2aFQ==>.

[empty recycle bin]

·     Delete Contents of your Recycle Bin. When you delete a file, image, pdf, etc… it isn't really gone. It goes to your Recycle bin. Periodically clean up this folder by deleting old files or emptying it completely. To delete all contents, go to your Recycle Bin on your desktop (or from your File Manager), right-click and choose Empty Recycle Bin. TIP: I like having about 30 days of deleted files in my trash as sometimes I need to go back and retrieve something. So I set a 30-day recurring reminder in my calendar to go into my Recycle Bin and permanently delete files older than 30 days.


Communications: Talking
How NOT to give a compliment. (Part 1)

I blew it! I was in a roller skating rink on Halloween afternoon and saw the prettiest little girl all dressed up in pink and blue. I wanted to give her a compliment.

I know what to say and what not to say ... so that the little girl I'm complimenting actually feels good about what I've said.

But I messed it up and said it backward, so she smiled and said thank you, but I'd missed my opportunity to build her self esteem.


It's very tricky when what is triggering the accolade is something about them personally ... like what they're wearing, their hair, their face.

You have to be very careful so that the accolade makes her feel as if she is getting the praise ... not what she has on.

I thought about it before I spoke, but not carefully enough:

"You look very pretty in that dress."


How many times have you said that? I thought I was complimenting her about the dress. But I wasn't. I was saying the dress did the job.

I suppose she could conclude then that she might not be pretty in a different dress, right? That's what got communicated, even if it's not what I meant.

"That dress looks so pretty on you."


It's subtle and really important.

With this kind of statement, she knows she made the dress look pretty. Isn't that what we want? Now the child feels good about herself, not just a fleeting dress.

You have to think this through a bit. It sounds like the opposite so it can be confusing. What you want to do is to make the outfit get the credit ... because of the person. Now that's a compliment!


The dangers of assuming ... at any level.

Communicating (instead of assuming) is always better ... even at the top of the organization.

True Story: Arthur is a Vice President of a mid-sized, print-on-demand business. He’s also part owner. (So he's in the communications loop, right?)

The company individualizes the printing of objects (T-shirts, calendars, playing cards) with images and text. They get online orders and they partner with office supply companies.

One of Arthur’s projects was to negotiate and execute a joint arrangement with a globally-known company in Japan. It was a big deal! This would take months.

Because Arthur had done this type of thing before, he proceeded to do the job assuming everyone knew what he knew. He had known that the foreign partner project was going to take many months.

His boss (the President) on the other hand, had assumed it would be done in 30 days.
Problems arose ... needlessly!

Lesson: Communicate your assumptions! It's safer.

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