Computer hardware troubleshooting is a lot easier than software troubleshooting. Either your mouse, monitor or keyboard works or it doesn't. Here's a list of tips, questions and advice to fix your computer hardware problems.
Monitor Questions and Tips
Computer hardware troubleshooting for monitors is complicated by the fact that there are so many different monitor manufacturers.
The hardware questions below are basic and common to most monitors. If you have a monitor issue that isn't addressed here, a good place to check for answers is at the monitor manufacturer's website.
Where do I adjust my monitor settings?
- Monitor adjustments are located in the Display properties of Windows. To get there:
- Right click on your Windows desktop and left click Properties.
- Click on Settings and then Advanced button.
- Alternatively, some of the newer monitors install a configuration manager. It would have it's own tab on the Advanced properties window (For example, NVIDIA is common monitor configuration manager).
My monitor display looks strange.
This is one of those computer hardware troubleshooting questions that is best answer in person. However, there are some basics you can check:
- If your monitor has black around the edges or the image displayed looks weird, you may have the wrong resolution chosen for that monitor. For instance if you have a wide screen monitor and choose a square resolution like 1024x768, it won't display correctly. In addition, the wrong monitor driver might have gotten installed. Go to the monitor manufacturer's website to download the correct driver and install it.
My computer screen is sideways!
- Some computer monitors can be rotated, so there are video cards which support that rotation. For example, web designers and artists use rotating wide screen monitors to look at long pages. To turn ON this feature, you probably pressed CTRL + ALT + Left Arrow. To turn if OFF, simply press CTRL + ALT + Up Arrow instead.
Monitor says "No signal or No signal input".
- Usually this means your monitor is turned on, but your computer is not. If your computer is on, and you get this error, it means the cable from the computer to the monitor is loose or unplugged.
How do I change the resolution of my screen?
- Right click on the Windows desktop (where there is no icon).
- Click on Properties from the menu that appears.
- Click on the Settings tab.
- Slide the resolution bar to where you want it to be. An 800x600 will look larger than a 1024x768 resolution.
- Click Apply. Windows will give you a dialog box asking if you want to keep the new resolution. Click Yes.
My mouse died! How do move around in Windows without it?
- To simply reboot and try to get your mouse back, press the ALT key + F4 and then use you arrow keys to choose Restart, then press enter. Also check to make sure your cable is not loose.
- If you want to keep working without the mouse, you can press ALT + TAB to move between programs.
- To open the Start button menu, press the flying Windows button on your keyboard (or if you are on the Windows desktop, press the Tab key until the Start button has a dotted box on it, then press enter). Then use your arrow key pad to get to the program you want to start.
- If you are in an application when the mouse dies, press Alt + F to open the file menu, then arrow down to Save, then repeat and arrow down to Exit. Once you are back to the desktop, follow the previous step.
I've got mouse problems.. the cursor is acting strange.
Computer hardware troubleshooting for mice is different for wired versus wireless mice, so I've broken the answer up for both types.
- My wireless mouse cursor jumps and won't go where I want it to go. Solution: Turn over the mouse and see if there is lint or hair or something blocking the hole where the optical laser head is located. It will be a hole in the bottom of any optical mouse.Also, make sure you aren't using a reflective mouse pad. Dell used to make a mousepad that had shiny diamond shapes in it.. My optical mouse would act crazy on that pad, because the shiny pattern was interfering with the laser positioning.
- My wired mouse cursor won't move. Solution: This is usually an issue with the old track ball mice. Gunk builds up on the wheels and ball of the mouse, and causes it to stick. To fix it, unscrew the cap on the bottom of the mouse that holds in the ball, and swab the insides out with a Q-tip soaked in alcohol. Do not wash the mouse in water, unless you want to buy a new mouse.
My new mouse has features I want to turn off or on.
- To turn mouse features on or off, go to Start, Control Panel, Mouse. You can see all the tabs and features there.
Computer hardware troubleshooting can be complicated, but most of the time, the problem is a basic connection or driver issue.
The list above goes over the most common computer hardware troubleshooting problems and answers. I don't profess to be a hardware guru but if you've got a basic question I didn't answer here, let me know, and I'll do my best to help you out.