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A Birthday Gift

This week marks the one year birthday of the ITmail email series. Happy Birthday, ITmail!

In celebration of this milestone, I’ll share with you what I think is the best gift your computer can give you: the ability to fix itself.

Of course, if computers would not misbehave in the first place, we’d consider that the ultimate gift. But once you accept that they will misbehave from time to time, you might appreciate that they can often fix themselves.

I am talking about re-booting.

If your computer was working just fine and then freezes, won’t load a program, won’t display internet content, won’t type any characters, or otherwise acts up, you should try this first: shut it down, wait a few minutes, and start it up again. Many times the problem resolves itself.

To shut down your computer correctly:


Start button (lower left) > Shut Down


Apple Button (upper left) > Shut Down

(If the mouse or screen is unresponsive, you can shut down the computer by holding down the power button until the screen goes dark. When you start it up again the computer might tell you that it was shut down incorrectly, but since that was your only option, don’t feel chastised!)

You may never know what caused the errant behavior, and you probably don’t need to. As long as re-booting gets you back to work, you’ll forget your initial frustration.

If, however, re-booting does not fix the problem, you’ll need to look more closely into the circumstances. But at least when your tech person asks you if you tried to re-boot the machine, you can say “yes” and move on to the next step.


Thank you for your support of the ITmail series. I look forward to sharing more information with you in Year #2. As always, please let me know if there is a topic you’d like me to cover.

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