Avoiding the Mine Fields!
PROBLEM: All of a sudden the computer stops responding! The mouse and keyboard appear to be dead.
SOLUTION: If-you use a computer often enough this is bound to happen. The first thing to do is check and see if you can move the mouse pointer (usually an arrow). If you can move the arrow, the computer is probably still working; it is just busy doing something. No matter how tempting, don't click wildly thinking you can hurry it along. It doesn't work, plus when the computer is finished what it is doing it will then attempt to follow every click you made while it was busy. You can also check and see if the computer is doing something by looking at the hard disk light. Most IBM compatible computers have a light on the front of the computer to show when the computer is accessing the hard disk. This light is usually red. If the computer is still accessing the hard disk just wait until it stops.
If the arrow is "frozen" or the computer has stopped accessing the hard disk and it still won't respond to commands, then you should try to shut down the last program you were using. Because the mouse isn't working you will need to do this using the keyboard. If you are using Windows 3.1 press control, alt and delete at the same time. You will see a message that says, "This Windows application has stopped responding to the system. Press enter to exit this program." If you are using Windows 95/98 press control, all and delete. You will see a list of running programs with the last one used at the top. Press enter to "End Task" that program. On a Macintosh computer press the option, apple, and escape keys at the same time. You will see a message that says, "Force program to quit?". Press Enter to choose Force Quit. You should realize that when you do this you will lose any work that you haven't saved.
If the computer doesn't return back to normal after this, then you should shut down and restart the computer. If you are using DOS, press control, all and delete at the same time. If you are using Windows 3.1, Windows 95 or Windows 98 press control, alt and delete twice. On a Macintosh computer press control, apple and the on button at the top of the keyboard. This is called a "warm boot". If worse comes to worse, and the keyboard isn't working, the only option left is to turn the computer off and on again using the on/off buttons. This is called a "cold boot". When the computer comes back on it should be as good as new except that you have probably lost any work that wasn't saved.
A computer freezing is not uncommon, but if it happens often there may be a specific problem with your computer, such as a shortage of memory, that may need to be corrected.
PROBLEM: The students are using one of the newer wordprocessing programs, such as Microsoft Word or Corel WordPerfect. Every time they press the Enter key, the computer automatically starts a new sentence with a capital letter. This even happens when they press the Spacebar twice, or accidentally type a period. In fact, it also corrects some of their spelling mistakes, such as if they type 't-e-h' instead of 'the', or puts capital letters on the names of days of the week. If you are trying to teach them to capitalize or check their spelling, this can confuse the results of their work. Many users don't realize that this feature can be turned off.
SOLUTION: Most newer wordprocessing programs have a feature called "Autocorrect" in the Tools menu. Select this feature and you will see several options, such as correcting two intial capital letters (T-H-e). Deselect unwanted options.
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