Byte Me Article 222 – What to do when your devices fail

What to do When Your Devices Fail

In this article we will attempt to look at what to do when your IT things don’t work.  This can encompass a number of devices from desktops, laptops, tablets, smart phones, projectors and even printers.  Many people have a fear of their IT device bailing up and not working – often stemming from past (not good) experiences and often at the most inconvenient times.

Despite the widespread notion that some of these devices are out to get you and as such they must possess an evil personality – they don’t.  Fortunately all IT devices are logical devices in so far as they only do what they have been programmed to do.  Where this breaks down is if the original human programmers we less than logical themselves or if an external influence such as viruses, failing components or heat is brought into play.

We often see important events like power point presentations go awry, not because the presenter is doing anything different but because they are already nervous and rushing.  This leads to them not finding the right file or double clicking on a program twice, hence their IT lets them down at a critical time leaving the most cemented bad memory – to keep them nervous again next time!

2015-05-23 Byte Me Artilce 222 - Fault Finding

If you are presenting to an audience with the aid of a projector and laptop then the first, second and third things to remember are all prior preparation!  Remove all draft presentations and create a desktop shortcut to the right file.  Also time how long processes take such as getting the laptop to recognise and power the projector, how long it takes for your file to load etc. so that you can count in your head the same number of seconds when you are setting up to present.

So when things go wrong the first step is to stop rushing if this is the case and next, ask yourself how recently you rebooted.  All personal computers like to be rebooted – at least once a week and smart phones often benefit from a once a month reboot as well.  This should be one of the first things you try when something is not working properly and this includes rebooting your printer if it appears on the blink.  Do not try to reinstall your printer the moment it has a hiccup as this most often leads to a world of IT hurt!

Unless your PC’s hard drive is failing it will not simply lose driver files for your printer, webcam or other device.  If you installed a device and it worked the first time then consider that it is still correctly installed and look elsewhere for a fault – such as an empty cartridge.  Many modern printers will not even print a black & white letter regardless of having a full black cartridge if one of the colours is empty.  Yes, non-logical programming or more likely programming for more money to the printer maker!

When it comes to a software program not working then the scope of problems widens somewhat.  As long as you don’t have a virus or malware then logic should still prevail.  If a program was working and now doesn’t then consider what updates or other software installations have been recently performed as one of the most likely culprits – after you try a reboot!  If you have indeed installed some updates or new software that you still need then it is worth trying to do a repair or reinstall of the software that is not working.

With the latest smart? phones you will at times be offered a system upgrade to more modern operating software.  Never attempt this unless you know that you don’t need your phone for the next 2 or 3 hours and make sure you have plenty of battery charge left or a close handy charger.  If you interrupt this upgrade process or let the phone go flat you could then be faced by a phone catastrophe on a previously perfect phone.

We see a large number of people make most of their IT mistakes when they are under the most pressure of some deadline or job completion commitment.  If you find yourself in this situation and a screen bobs up asking you if you want to update now – the ‘remind me latter’ option is definitely the smart ticket!!!

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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