Computing FAQ's in Oxford

Offering answers to your questions

Here at Computer Assistance – there are NO silly questions.. but if you are unsure or need to know more about the way computers behave or have general questions – We have answered some of them below.

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How do I delete Internet cookies?

Most there are various ways to delete cookies, the easiest way to do this is to follow these steps.

  • Open the menu top right
  • Go to settings
  • Use the searchbar
  • Type in Cookies
  • Scroll to see Clear Data
  • Clear the data

This allows you as the user to remove any cookies that you do not want or that may be stored.

If I format or erase my hard drive will it remove a virus?

If your computer is infected with a virus formatting or erasing the hard disk drive and starting over will almost always remove any type of virus. However, if backups have been made that contain the virus, other media or drives connected to the computer have a virus, your computer is connected to another computer on a network with a virus, and/or the virus is stored on some other type of software you use with your computer it can become re-infected if not properly protected.

Can a virus damage your computer?

Yes, computers can be damaged however these are reversible, computers can edit firmware, drivers and other areas of the computer. The majority of viruses affect the way the computer are operating and running meaning that you need to be careful when it comes to working with websites or documents that can attack your computer. The only areas that won’t particularly be affected are external devices, however you can install malicious software from third party devices so you need to be cautious.

Does Windows come with a virus protection program?

All versions of Microsoft Windows come pre-installed with a virus protection program. This is commonly known as Windows defender, although its traditionally not used, commonly third party antivirus is used as its much safer and secure. We reccomend ESET

How do I determine my computer’s name?

There are multiple ways to check the name of your computer:

  • Hit the Start button, type in “PC Name” and press enter.
  • Open System Information, your PC name will be under “System Name”.
  • Open Command Prompt and type in “systeminfo”.
  • Right click on This PC in File Explorer and open properties.

How do I map a network drive?

To map a network drive, you will need to know the hostname or IP address of the target server, NAS or PC. Once you have this information, you can utilize File Explorer to map your network drive.

To do so, head over to “This PC” within File Explorer, right click on it and select “Map Network Drive”. This will bring up a new wizard which will ask you to enter the Network Path and to select which drive letter to be assigned. It is necessary to use the “\\” prefix before entering the hostname or IP address.

If the information you have entered is correct, it will usually ask you to login using credentials that you have set up or have been provided. At this point, you have options to “reconnect at sign in” or “sign in with different credentials”. Once you log in, you will be able to see the files available to you. From here, you can right click on folders to create more mapped drives as an alternative to mapping out the entire network path.

I can’t connect to my network drive anymore, what can I do?

Make sure that the network cable is connected into the computer at the back firstly, unless you are using WIFI this is when other issues could be appearing such as the drives not working or the network card/dongle having issues. If you don’t want to open up the machine that you have then it might be worth checking to see if your lights are working on the router itself or the network card. If the router is flashing orange then there could be an issue regarding the router and it might be out of service for the time being.

How do I fix a paper jam?

Turn off the printer, once you have done this you will need to check over to see where the printer opens up – usually there are visual cues such as the printer showing on the display – once opened take a look to see if the printer paper is visible, if it is remove it gently. Alternativly you can try flushing the printer with the printer on, this will need you to refer to the manual for the printer.

My printer is printing smudged/distorted pages, what can I do?

Printing on paper that may not be traditional will give the opportunity for issues to arise when printing, this could lead to crooked text, run offs and other issues related to the way that text is printed. You might encounter your printer giving an unclear image or blurry text, this could be due to bad print heads or printer running out of colour. All modern printers have some type of printer cleaning, self-test, and/or diagnose mode that can be performed to check and clean the printers print heads and other internal equipment used to print.

Are spaces allowed in email addresses?

Just like an Internet URL no spaces are allowed in an e-mail address. However, names can be broken up using a period; for example, Joe Bloggs may have an e-mail address: [email protected] or [email protected] this is due to emails not allowing spaces.

I can’t receive any email attachments?

If the e-mail box is full or storage on your computer is full you may need to remove some applications, software or files to increase the size of the amount of storage that you have to offer for emails. Sometimes when someone sends documents they might have issues with the size of the attachement that they are sending, this can cause a variety of issues. Some emails may be marked as a virus or malware and therefore have issues with being sent correctly. You may need to remove attachments or extensions that are on your email provider.

I am unable to send or receive email?

Check that your computer is connected to the internet, this is usually displayed at the bottom, if its not then you will need to check if the email server is connecting correctly or the network that you are on is connecting correctly, this might involve contacting your provider and trying to liase with them or your system administrator.

How can I recover a file from the recycle bin?

Double click the recycle bin icon on your desktop, here you will see all of the files within your bin. Select the files you want to recover, right click and press restore.

Can I turn off my computer with the power button?

Users should not press the power button or restart the computer while Windows is running/updating unless there is an issue with the computer and nothing can be resolved. Microsoft has included the shut down feature because it enables a computer to go through all the necessary steps that are required before turning off the computer. In fact many versions of Microsoft Windows will check the computer for any problems if the computer is not shut down properly. If the computer is updating make sure to let it run, If it seems to have crashed the majority of the time it is working through the processes it needs to complete the update.

How do I update my Microsoft Windows computer?

If you are running Microsoft Windows 10, or a later version of Microsoft Windows, you are eligible to update Microsoft Windows. In most cases your computer should be set to automatically update when a new update becomes available. However the update will most likely happen when you turn off and on your computer, make sure to give it time.

I cannot delete a file because it is being used by Windows, what do I do?

Check what programs are running on your system, potentially one of them are causing an error with deleting the file itself. If you think that something is running that could be causing the issue, close it down and check over to see the way that its reacting. If all else fails perhaps a simple restart could repair your issue. If all else fails, the computer might need to be started in safe mode.

How can I clean my keyboard?

The keys on a keyboard are only clipped on, you can gentley pull the keys off or pop them, carefully pop the keys off, this will allow you to clean under the keys as well as cleaning the keys themselves (Always remember to pull up a copy of the keyboard layout or take a photo).

Always use an alchohol based cleaning solvent or wipe to clean the keys and the circuit board areas. Use compressed Air Duster can to blow out any loose dirt.

Why is my computer mouse behaving differently?

Users who have an optical mechanical mouse (most common mouse for computers) are likely experiencing erratic behaviour because the mouse has debris or dirt. Take a look into cleaning the mouse, make sure not to destroy the mouse itself, once you have done this you can move onto . One additional test that can be done to help determine if this is the case or not is to connect the mouse to another computer. Otherwise you may need to replace the mouse.

Another type of mouse that has issues that arise are bluetooth mice, this can involve using a new bluetooth dongle or card within your Desktop Computer. However there may be other devices that are causing interference with the device, you can always check to see by unplugging devices and trying them again.

There are black borders on my monitors screen, what do I do?

Sometimes when a resolution is changed or its not auto adjusted to the correct size, therefore you need to manually adjust the monitor settings. This is usally found in the monitor menu settings. If you still have monitor documentation this will be much easier to check over and distinguish that there is an error with it so could be worth referring back to that.

I get a ‘no signal input’ message on my monitor, what do I do?

Verify that the monitor is properly connected in the back of the monitor as well as to the back of the computer. If the monitor appears to be connected properly, verify that a cable is not loose by disconnecting all cables that can be disconnected in the back of the monitor (generally the data cable cannot be disconnected). Next, disconnect the data cable connected to the back of the computer and then reconnect the cable. When connecting the cable in the back of the computer ensure the cable connection is tight. Most Computers will also have screw ends that can be screwed in to hold the connector in place.

What do I do if the image on my monitor is distorted or skewed?

You may receive a distorted image when the cable is loose or defective. Disconnect the video cable going from the back of the computer and verify that no pins are bent, burnt or broken. Once verified re-connect the monitor cable. If the refresh rate is not properly set the monitor may have a wavy or an appearance that lines are going down or across the monitor slowly or fast, this may also cause a flickering affect. A distorted image can be caused by magnetic or other types of interference. Verify no speakers, fans or other magnetic devices are close to the monitor.

If there is an issue regarding the monitor itself there could be something wrong with the cable, it could be loose or defective, therefore meaning you will need to purchase a new one. You might want to check first by disconnecting the video cable going from the back of the computer and verify that no pins are bent, burnt or broken. Once you have verified that the cable is okay reconnect and try it again, otherwise purchase a new one. Next you will want to check the settings that are offered. Depending on the graphics card that you have or where the display is plugged in will affect this.

Check the software you need and install it – Nvidia or AMD
Right click the desktop and click on the software that is related to above
Once opened check the display settings to see how they are
Check to see if the refresh rate is set to the highest
Now you want to check the resolution – Make sure it matches the correct size default is 1920 x 1080

Once you have checked through this you should see an improvement, if not potentially the monitor is suffering a hardware fault and requires to be looked into by a specialist or you require an upgrade.

My monitor/s will not display, what is the issue?

You need to check the connections to the computer and that displays to their power source, the next thing to look into is the compatibility between monitors can be a little slow or not available at all, this can offer a few various issues – Firstly with multiple display setups you will need seperate input and output cables to determine individual monitors, this allows the computer to run seperate displays rather than the same display duplicated, compared to a splitter which will duplicate the display.

To achieve a monitor to display uninteruppted you need to make sure that you can use the correct cables and your graphics card/motherboard can support multiple displays. This usually appears in the manual, otherwise a search engine can offer some assistance.

What do I do if my hard disk fails to work?

Sometimes with computer components get old and slow, this is what usually occurs with hard disks, they become slower and the write speed is not what it used to be. What you can do is be prepared and get ready to backup the data or allow yourself to purchase an SSD “The far faster and safer” alternative to the hard drive. If you cannot do the above due to the disk drive failing we can offer you a potential retrieval of data however this can sometimes fail, or we can send it to a company to extract the data off and try to revive the drive itself. There are a few options for you to consider.

My computer crashed what can I do?

There is a variety of errors that could have caused the computer to crash, it could be hardware or software related and often ends in a “freeze” or a “blue screen” that offers an error message. The majority of the time we cannot do anything to prevent the freeze, unless its a hardware fault however if this does happen try the following combination of steps to help you get back on track.

  • CTRL + ALT + DEL
  • Open Task Manager
  • Find the program that isn’t responding
  • Click it and then click end task

Alternativly taskmanager might not open, therefore there is another method of fixing this!

  • Follow the steps above up to the second task
  • Press Windows Key + Tab
  • Open a new window at the top
  • Drag the taskmanager into that new window
  • Open the new Window
  • End the task that causes issues
  • Press Windows Key + Tab
  • Close that window and go back to your original Desktop

You now are able to get back to what you were doing originally! Hopefully that will help you with any software related errors, however if you are getting the “Blue Screen” Then allow your computer to restart itself and try to look into the error code or provide it to a technician.

My computer does not turn on, what do I do now?

First check to see if the Power Cord for the computer is completely plugged into the walls socket. If you are using an extension lead, perhaps check if other devices are connecting okay and to see if that is plugged in correctly. You can also look out for the red glow that some extentsion cables offer, this will indicate a healthy power flow to the extentsion. If this doesn’t work then try and see if the inside of the computer has any lights on as potentially the power button has come loose on the Computer.

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