Fashionably Techy: Computer issues? Don’t Panic!

[Like a magpie, you gravitate towards things that are shiny: cell phones, TVs, anything that allows you to play Rock Band. But just because you love ‘em doesn’t mean you know much about ‘em. That’s where we come in. Every week we will be highlighting the best, coolest and shiniest in technology. Consider us your personal Geek Squad. And let us tell ya; with CC on your side, geek has never looked so chic.]

So you waited until the last minute to do that super important term paper again. There you are, middle of the night, all by yourself cranking away at this monster of an assignment with only your trusty laptop for company. And then it happens. Out of nowhere: the Blue Screen of Death!!

Who you gonna call?
Ummm, nobody, because it’s two in the morning. You’re on your own with this one, cupcake.

Actually, if this happens, just restart your computer and only open what you need to get the work done (read: no AIM or Facebook), remembering to save often. You should be able to at least make it through the paper. In the morning you can diagnose the issue. And by morning, I really mean later in the afternoon when classes are over and you’ve had a much needed nap.

In any case this is exactly why you need to be able to do more on a computer than hit the power button. If your computer starts smoking, then, yeah, it’s pretty much dead, but when software issues arise you should be able to identify and at least partially work around ’em. Computers are very rarely “broken,” they’re just momentarily troubled.

Learning about computers is easy to do. Just ask! The internet is a wealth of knowledge. I assure you that a million other people have had your exact problem before, and after correcting it, provided an easy to follow guide on the internet. And even if you can’t fix the problem yourself, it’s still good to be able to halfway identify specifics of the issue. When you do call for help, it is much easier to assist someone who can explain the situation than someone who calls and says, “It’s just not working! Help!!”

You should know some basics: what operating system your computer runs on, what virus software you use (and if it’s up to date), and what your C drive actually is. Just basic things. No one is asking that you become your own little Geek Squad, but the next time you have a computer crisis, don’t just wait for your on-call tech friend to fix it; see what you can do on your own. The problem might be as simple as uninstalling and reinstalling a corrupted program. Or just running a virus scan.

You don’t have to be a Jedi computer master at first – that’s fine. But knowing these few things will stop you from panicking every time something unexpected happens. After all, knowing is half the battle, and in this case it’s the half of the battle that keeps you from crying on the phone to Indian tech support at 3am.

Which is the most important half.

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