Chapter 2. Do This First

That feeling is pretty universal. Whether the computer sniffles or simply falls over dead, the icy grip of panic reaches out and tickles your chest. It's not a happy time, but it's not quite the end of the world. As a somewhat sane and seasoned expert, I present you with this chapter chock-full of my tried-and-true techniques for immediately dealing with pressing PC peril.

Some Quick Keyboard Things You Can Do

If the computer had ears, they would look like your PC's keyboard. Just as you would ask a human "Are you okay?" you can theoretically shout at your computer by doing some typing. Unlike real shouting (which you can feel free to try, but I'm not advising it), the computer may actually "hear" your typing and signal that it's okay. Well, unless the keyboard is dead. But there are ways around that as well!

Test the keyboard

To see whether the keyboard is responding, press the Caps Lock key. If the keyboard is alive and well, the Caps Lock light blinks on or off as you tap the Caps Lock key. It shows you that the keyboard is alive and paying attention.


On most PCs, the Caps Lock light is right on the Caps Lock key. In some cases, it might be near the key or along the top of the keyboard, marked with the text Caps Lock or the letter A. For wireless keyboards, the Caps Lock key might even be on the wireless dongle that hangs from the back of the PC's console.

  • If the keyboard is dead, use the mouse to restart the computer, a subject covered later in this chapter. ...

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