Inevitably, your IT support person is out of the office when everything with your computer goes wrong. Our “fix it” person at Humantech, Kelly Turnbull, addresses our computer blips, blunders, flickers, and shutdowns. Sometimes her fix is easy, like restarting the computer (Why didn’t I think of that?), and sometimes it’s more complicated, like when she dives into the Windows command prompt and types furiously for a few minutes. Voilà, she fixed it! But, what happens when Kelly’s not here? Computer mayhem, of course. So, I asked her for a few technology hacks to keep us afloat until she returns.
Here’s what she said.
- Power-cycle your device, or turn it off and back on again. This lets your software and hardware start fresh, and it usually cancels whatever pitfall caused the original problem. This is one of the most effective fixes and should be the first solution to try. Keep this in mind: your computer handles its internal memory differently when you “shut down” versus using “restart.” Where one method of power-cycling might fail to resolve an issue, another method may succeed.
- Clear your cache. As you navigate the web, you’ll encounter pages of all varieties. Some may be sleek and interactive web applications, and others might show a simple wall of text riddled with obtrusive ads and banners. It’s easy to forget that your browser is a separate entity from the pages you visit online. It’s smart enough to remember all the sites you’ve visited and even holds onto some content between sessions to make a revisited site load faster. Sometimes this old content can cause errant behavior when a site has been updated. Clearing your browser cache will discard old cached content, so you know you’re using the very latest version of the web applications you’re visiting.
- Mind your space. Electronic data takes up space, and when digital space becomes full, a wide range of performance misbehaviors can occur. For example, if your is inbox is too full, you might encounter trouble accessing or responding to emails. But this fullness may not be just because you have a large number of messages; one e-mail with three large attachments can take up more space than thirty plain-text messages. To avoid performance hits, switch to another space with more free room. For example, instead of letting emails stew in the central inbox indefinitely, periodically move them to sub-folders. Also, if when trying to send a large file you receive an error message or a bounce-back, split the attachment into smaller files and send multiple e-mails. Or, share it via a Dropbox link, a method of transmitting larger data files.
Hopefully, with these tips, your “Kelly” can enjoy some time away from your technology woes.