Frequently Asked Questions

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Hello Obies. Throughout our years of experience fixing your computers, we at CIT have noticed many of the same issues coming up over and over again. This is not really surprising – most of us use our computers for pretty much the same things. Whatever the scenario, we hope this page will help you begin to troubleshoot your problems.

Resnet Problems

For ResNet related problems, check out the ResNet FAQ

Windows Machines:


Why won’t my computer start?

  • If your laptop will not start at all, there are a few very simple things you can attempt to try and fix things yourself. First: unplug your laptop and try booting it that way. If that does not work, remove the battery from your laptop. You will normally find this on the bottom, held in place by a latch or two that you should easily be able to remove. Set the battery aside and leave the computer unplugged for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes come back, re-insert the battery, and try to boot up. Occasionally things at a very low level in your computer get confused or corrupted. Leaving the battery out for 30 minutes will reset certain settings at the lowest level of operation. Sometimes this will fix the problem and you’ll be good to go. If not…then it’s time to call your local RCC.

When I move my laptop screen everything goes black!

  • This is an indication that there is an electrical problem – probably one of the teansie tiny wires that connect the screen to the computer is loose or intermittent. Unfortunately, this is not something that an RCC is equipped to fix. You need to call the Help Desk at 775-8197 or contact your computer's tech support. If it is still under warranty they may fix it free of charge. If your computer was purchased from Oberlin, bring it to the Help Desk, as it may be serviced by our in-house repair staff.

My internet isn’t working!

    • 1) The ethernet jack in the wall, or something on the college's end, is broken.
    • 2) The cable connecting the wall to your computer is broken.
    • 3) Your computer is broken.
  • There isn't anything you can do about #1, and unless you know what you're doing, #3 will certainly require an RCC, so let's focus on #2. This is by far the easiest thing to test when diagnosing ethernet problems, so it should always be the first. You would be amazed how many times it just comes down to a bad cord. To test the cord, the first thing to do is try another one. If your roomate or neighbor's internet is working just fine, then borrow their cord and try it out. If your internet works - bingo, you've solved the problem. Go down to the Computer Store and buy a new ethernet cable. If using your roomate's cord does NOT fix the problem, then you have narrowed things down to either #1 or #3. A quick way to deduce the culprit is to find a friend with a laptop (not exactly hard to do these days) and, using a network cable you know works, see if their computer works in your port. If it does, you know the problem is your computer and not the physical jack. If their computer does NOT work, then the opposite is true. Take that information to your local RCC and you will have saved them a LOT of time in diagnosing your problem.


A program is not responding

  • This means a program has probably crashed. This is why you should save all your work every five minutes or so. But enough lecturing. If a program crashes, and won't respond when you click the X in the upper right hand corner, try right clicking on the on the program in the task bar (thats the stripe across the bottom of the screen that shows all open programs). After right clicking chose "Close" from the menu. If it closes great, you can re start the program and try again. If it doesn't, that means the program "really" crashed. In that case you need to "blow it away". Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete, where you hold each key down until you are pressing all three at once. A screen called the Windows Task Manager will pop up. Select the program that has crashed and hit the "End Task" button in the bottom right hand corner. Now wait - it can sometimes take a minute or two for the computer to catch up with itself. If the program doesn't close, try again. If it still doesn't work, then you need to restart the computer. Start Menu : Turn Off Computer : Restart. After you hit restart you need to wait again - often, if the program has "really" crashed, it will prevent the computer from restarting. In that case the only feasible option is to do a "hard shut down". That entails finding the power switch on the PC (often it is a round button on the front of your computer). Press it in and hold it. After 5 seconds or so, your computer will power down. Let it rest for at least 30 seconds, and then start it up again (by briefly depressing the button you just held). You should now be good to go.

Macintosh Machines


My Macintosh won't boot!


A program is not responding

  • The Mac operating system is designed to continue working even when a particular program has crashed. The first tactic to try when a program freezes is to force quit the program by holding down the Option-Command-Escape keys. This should bring up a dialog box which will give you the option to force quick the program in question. If this doesn't resolve the problem the next best solution is to restart the computer, first by trying the key combination Control-Command-Power Button or if this doesn't work by holding down the power button on the computer until it turns off.