Common Computer Questions


Common Computer Questions


This section contains a list of questions I commonly receive usually from those just starting out in the computer world and its related tasks. I have chosen not to rewrite answers to these individual inquiries, but instead to lead you to pages and sites where others have already done great work by making this material readily available.

These choices are to get you started. By searching on Google or your favourite search engine you will find many pages of additional information. Usually the hardest part is trying to figure out what to search for, especially if you are new to the computing world.

Open pps and ppt file attachments in email

I have PowerPoint (or PowerPoint viewer) why doesn't the pps file open when I click on it?

These are PowerPoint show and PowerPoint presentation files. Usually it is the pps extension that gives the most trouble, even if you know how to make an association. In either case a good explanation of both are presented in an easy to understand format by Ask Leo.

Transfer Photos To USB Drive

How do I get my photos on a USB drive so I can have them printed or give a copy to someone? Rhonda Callow's page tells how to do this.

They Can't Hear Me On Skype

The most common request/complaint I get about Skype is, "I can hear them, they can't hear me."

You can pretty well figure this is a setting 99% of the time.


Skype audio setting


Go to Tools>Options>Audio settings


Look to see if the microphone you are using is listed in the box where the first arrow points. Whether it be a web cam mic, headset mic or whatever you are using, it will be listed here.

If its not, click on the drop down arrow and select the mic you are using.

Sometimes it works in reverse, you can't hear the other party, but they can hear you. Just check the list by the second arrow to see if your speakers or headphones are correctly listed there. If not, choose from the drop down list to correct the problem.

The reasons this happens vary. It doesn't happen often, but it does. Sometimes installing another program will cause the change, or just using another program that involves the mic or audio output can do it. Thing is, it is easy to fix.

Can't Download From Microsoft

You can download from just about any site, but not Microsoft. Can't download from Microsoft. Can't do Microsoft updates. Can't update Microsoft Essentials.

This may be the answer to your problem.

Laptop Won't Start

Laptop Black Screen

The most common reason a laptop won't boot is it needs to be reset.

If your notebook computer won't start at all, and there are no lights on at all, try this. (Try it even if some of the indicator lights are on and it won't boot.)

1) Unplug the power cord.

2) Remove the battery.

3) Wait 30 sec. to a minute.

Plug the A/C power back in, hit the power button and it just might start as usual. If it does, replace the battery and you are good to go.

There are many reasons why a laptop or notebook will not start. This would apply to some netbooks as well. It may have been a program acting up, you may have dropped it, or any number of reasons. Some of these may require extensive troubleshooting. Often this short procedure works.

On the other hand, many computers have been brought back to life using this method, thus avoiding expensive service calls.

Why do I lose everything when I am typing into a box or status update?

Have you ever been filling out an online form, get it almost ready and suddenly everything disappears? This can be especially annoying when you type a fairly large amount of text into one of those little boxes and you are ready to submit it and poof, its gone.

This can also happen on sites like Facebook where you fill out the little text box to comment or write on someone's wall.

Why Does It Happen

This happens for various reasons. Sometimes its you. You accidently click on the wrong thing. Some boxes won't allow copy and paste, and if you do the entire box is erased. This applies also when you use the keyboard for the manoeuver such as CTRL+V.

Often it just happens - for reasons unknown.

One method of approaching this problem is to always type everything in a text editor first. Regular Windows Notepad will work, along with plenty of free notepad replacement programs such as Metapad, NoteTab Light and Notepad++.

Another program I find good for general word processing is Jarte. It has the advantage of being able to bold and a lot of other things that text editors don't have. Plus it saves to rtf and MS word format as well as text, using very few resources.

Just type your piece into the note pad program, then copy and paste it into the box on the site. In this case copy and paste will work fine so long as you are pasting everything you intend to write into the box at one time.

Click submit and the job is completed. Should anything go wrong you still have the original in your notepad program that you can use again. Much better than having to type a paragraph or more over again.

Send Email to Undisclosed Recipients - Use bcc

There's various reasons why we should not send open email addresses to everyone when we are sending email, especially forwarding email to multiple people. It's just plain messy, and you are providing everyone's email address to others when the originator may not want that.

About.com explains how to do this very clearly.


This section contains frequently asked questions and will be expanded gradually.

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