Tuesday, June 4, 2013

It's a Start: Getting Your Computers Working

Each year, we come back to school and have to spend time prepping our rooms for the start of school. The list of things to do seems to get longer and longer. Here, I want to help you with a list of things to check to get the technology in your rooms connected and working. Doing this yourself gets your technology up and running MUCH faster than the support staff can. That I am sure is someting you want. Technology that works! Often, over the summer, your room is emptied to wax the floors and then all the stuff is put back. Usually the technology is not connected to power and sometimes peripherals like keyboards, mice, monitor, SmartBoards, network cables and switches are not connected. So here's a list of things to check. If after checking for these items, you cannot get your technology up and running, submit a tech request. (See the Quick Links section on the right side of this blog.)
  • Power cables: Make certain that they are plugged into a live outlet or live power strip. Make sure that both ends of the power cables are fully-inserted into the equipment. (The cables often come loose from the equipment and appear to be fully-inserted, but are not! Push the cables in all the way. 
  • Keyboards and mice: There are two general kinds of these, USB and PS2. 
    • USB are the easiest to deal with because they can be tinkered with while the computer is on. If you have  non-responsive keyboard or mouse, unplug it from the USB port on the computer and plug it back in. Make sure it is fully-inserted. If that doesn't help, turn the computer off and unplug the problematic device. Restart the computer. Once the login screen returns, plug the device back in and wait up to 3 minutes or so. See if the device will work. If it is a mouse issue, go ahead and log in on the computer and let it fully start. It might install the mouse and you'll be good to go after 3 minutes or so. If none of these suggestions work, try repeating with a different USB port on the computer. If that doesn't help, submit a tech request.

    • PS2 have a green or purple connector that gets inserted into the corresponding slot on the back of the computer. There are little pins in these connectors and they must be carefully lined up to insert into the computer. The computer needs to be OFF when working with PS2 devices. This prevents a short from happening when inserting the connector. Once the computer is off, fully-insert the connector in the proper port. The ports are often color-coded to match the connector. If not, there is usually a mouse or keyboard symbol beside the port to identify what device is to be plugged in there. Turn the computer on. If the keyboard or mouse still does not work, submit a tech request.

  • Monitor is connected using the VGA cable. The blue end must be carefully aligned and inserted into the VGA port on the back of the computer. (Note, if you have TWO VGA ports on the back of your computer, you must use the LOWER one.)
  • Network Cable: Connects like the phone line in your home.
  • Switches: A switch is a box that holds many connections for network cables. If you have a switch that is not connected, it is best to submit a tech request. Improper connections at a switch can stop your network from responding!

      These are the basics to get your systems up and running. As always, if you have questions, email us or submit a tech request.

      NOTE: To submit a tech request, you must be logged in to the school network. You cannot submit a tech request from your home computer.