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.
Reboot your router/reboot your modem
Persistent issues with connecting to the Internet require rebooting your router and/or modem at some point. You shouldn’t have to do this all the time. If you do, something needs to be repaired or replaced. But every so often you’ll need to do this to troubleshoot a problem or to assist your Internet Service Provider in troubleshooting a problem.
“Reboot” simply means restart the device, just like rebooting your computer. 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!
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. You need to hold it down until you hear the computer shut off, and sometimes that can take as long as 15 seconds. You want the computer to be silent, and you don’t want to see the power button flashing or illuminated in any way. Press and hold that power button like you mean it.
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.
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 need to know is what operating system you’re running.
- 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.
I hope you feel a little more comfortable with your computer skills!
Do you need help with your computer? I’m here to help you and your home or business computer get along!
Cate Eales runs Computer Care Kelowna a mobile service helping home users and businesses get along with their computers. To arrange an appointment phone her at 250-764-7043. Cate also welcomes your comments and suggestions. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Which Windows operating system am I running? https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/13443/windows-which-operating-system
Find the macOS version number on your Mac https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201260
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