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Computers 10

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Components of the Video Display

The video display components consist of the monitor, the cable connecting the monitor to the computer's video adapter, and the video adapter card (unless the video circuit is built-in to the motherboard). If an error message indicates that you have a problem with the display, try the following:

If your monitor isn't displaying anything, first make sure that the adjustments for brightness and contrast are properly set.

Check the cable that connects the monitor to the video output of the computer. I have never seen a video cable go bad, but I suppose that could be a possibility in unusual circumstances.

If you have another computer available to you, try attaching the problem monitor to it and see if it works. If it does, then you have narrowed the problem down to the video adapter card in your computer. Take the cover off the computer and remove the video adapter card and make sure that the contacts are clean. Reinstall the card, replace the cover and reconnect the monitor and see if that helps.

Some of the newer monitors have a breaker that trips in case there is a problem with the power supply. If your monitor has a breaker or a reset switch, try resetting it to see if that solves the problem.

On older monitors, there is a fuse located on the power supply circuit inside of the monitor case that might have blown. If you have a blown fuse, make sure you replace it with the exact same type that was in the monitor or you could cause damage to other circuits in the monitor.

Components of the Printer

The printer components consist of the printer, printer cable, the computer port that the printer is connected to, and the software that allows the computer application to print to the printer. To diagnose a printer problem, assuming that the printer powers up correctly, check to see if there are any error messages or error lights on the printer (if it is capable of displaying errors). It could be something as simple as a piece of paper jammed in the printer or a low toner or ink cartridge. If an error message indicates that you have a problem with the printer, try the following:

If the printer appears to be functioning properly, check the printer cable and make sure the connections are tight.

If this is a new printer, did you remember to configure the software in your computer to use this new printer? This is a very common problem. In all versions of Windows, you must configure the printer or printers that you have available to print to under Printer icon in Control Panel. If there is not a driver in Windows for your new printer, there should have been a diskette with your printer that contains the driver or you have have to contact the manufacturer.

Make sure that the printer cable connected to the printer. If this is a new printer, make sure that you have the correct type of cable for the printer that you are using (serial or parallel) and that the cable is connected to the correct port on the back of the computer.

One other thing to check is to see if the software applications that you want to use is capable of printing to the new printer. If you are using a Windows application and have a specific driver loaded for your printer, there shouldn't be a problem. But if you are using a DOS based application, you will need a separate driver specific to the application, such as WordPerfect 5.0, Quattro 4.0, etc.

10 - Take a Break

If you don't seem to be getting anywhere with your problem solving, take a break. The more frustrated you get, the poorer your decision making will be. Getting away from the computer for a while will help you sort out all of the clues and help you develop a new plan of attack. Most problems are not going to be life threatening, so they can wait until another day.