Computer Errors: What can you do?

Error Message

So you’re working on the computer and you’ve been interrupted by an error message and you’re not sure what to do.  Here we’ll discuss two things you can do when this happens.

First things first

In the event that you call a computer tech to help resolve your problem it will be beneficial for the tech to see exactly what your error message looked like.  This first tip will help with that conundrum.

Print Screen ButtonFirst you want to locate the Prt Scr button on your keyboard.  This is the “Print Screen” button.  The Print Screen button was originally used in command line operating systems to send the on-screen text to the printer.  Under modern Windows operating systems the Print Screen button copies an exact screenshot to the computer’s memory.  You may notice when you try this that it seems as if nothing has happened.  You’ll see no notification, no popup, nothing to inform you that you’ve done this correctly.  This is normal, you can be sure that it worked.

The keyboard shortcut to take a screenshot on Mac is Cmd+Shift+3.

So what do you do with the screenshot now that it’s in your computer’s memory?  Paste it of course.   Open the program of your choice and use Ctrl+V (Cmd+V on Mac) to paste the screenshot to a Word document, spreadsheet, email, or even into Microsoft Paint.  Then you can save the image to reference later.  Other methods for pasting include using the right mouse button and select paste, or go to the edit menu and select paste.

Now what?

Well if you’re the adventurous type then you might be inclined to attempt to resolve the issue yourself.  The next tip is very likely the same thing that your computer tech would do if you called them out to investigate your problem.  Shhh…!  It’s a secret.  As a computer tech I learn something new every day, and if someone is having a problem that I haven’t come across yet then I have to know how and where go find the solution.  Google.  That’s right, Google.  You thought it was just for finding recipes and coupons didn’t you?

It turns out that the likelihood of you experiencing an error message that nobody on earth has ever seen before is quite low.  There are millions of blog posts, forum posts and webpages dedicated to computer problems and error messages.  Simply do a search for your error message.  Enter the text of the error message into Google and you’ll get page after page of results showing other people who found themselves staring at the same error message you have.

Other tips for helping your search:

  • Try surrounding the search with “quotation marks”
  • If the error message includes an error number, try searching for that number combined with the name of the program.  (Example:  adobe reader error 1935)

I hope this has helped you be prepared for the next error message you receive.  And it fall else fails, Call and we’ll come to the rescue!

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