Last Updated November 5th, 2018

Your Computer Has Gone Kaput! How Will You Work On Your Blog Now?

Your Computer Has Gone Kaput! How Will You Work On Your Blog Now?

Have you ever thought about what you would do if the main computer or another device you run your blog with went kaput? It’s the setup for a really bad day. It’s much harder to work on your blog when one of the main tools you need fails.

It doesn’t matter whether you rely the most on a computer, tablet, or your smartphone. When the main device you use to run your blog starts going bad, you have a serious problem on your hands.

This is the kind of problem it’s best to prepare for in advance. If you have a plan in place for those times that things go wrong, you’ll lose less working time if you’re prepared for problems. It’s not like you’ll always have warning.

In this case, I’m talking about problems that make your computer completely unusable time. Not problems that you can fix fairly quickly. You should know how to handle those as well.

This is about the problems where you don’t know right away if it’s worth fixing or if you’re better off getting a new machine. The kind of problem where you may be down for days or weeks waiting for a repair.

The kind of problem I’m dealing with as I write this.

quiet home office

How I Work On My Blog Without My Computer

I’m using my backup computer right now. My laptop’s fan has gone bad, leaving the whole computer at risk of overheating and burning out the system. My repair guy said two weeks to get the new fan. So I’m on the spare computer.

I have to admit – I HATE my spare computer. It’s slow, the keyboard is just different enough to be annoying, and the setup overall is just different enough to make working a little more difficult. It’s also shared with the rest of the family, so I have to give it up sometimes. Worst of all, it’s in a common area of the house rather than my nice, quiet home office. All in all, it’s hard to work on.

But it also makes working possible.

I have most of the tools I use installed on this computer as well as my laptop. Some had to be updated when I made the move over, as it has been long enough since their installation to matter.

I use the Chrome browser because it syncs my account with whichever computer I’m using. That’s a huge help.

I also work on Google Drive as much as possible. This way I can use any computer to type up blog drafts and not worry about losing them. Yes, I could just type up drafts in WordPress, but this way I never have to worry about accidentally hitting “Publish” rather than “Save Draft” when a post isn’t done.

Not that I’ve ever done such a thing.

Never.

No way.

Well… you know how these things go. We all make mistakes.

I’ve also moved my office chair over because it’s about 1000x more comfortable than the one at the spare computer. I think I know something I need to get for the family for Christmas.

computer problems

Plan Ahead For Problems

If you want to be ready to deal with technical problems as a blogger, the most important thing you can do is plan ahead. This way you know what you’re going to do when things go wrong.

You don’t have to have a spare computer to keep working, for example, if you have apps set up on your phone or tablet that will allow you to keep working. They may not be as easy to use, but they’re better than nothing. WordPress, for example, has an app available that you can use with your blog. It’s a little different from the usual version, but better than not being able to blog at all.

Keeping as many of your files as possible in the cloud makes it much easier to keep things going when your computer has problems. You don’t have to worry about your files if they’re always backed up somewhere.

If you have multiple computers in your household, make sure that more than one has a setup you can use. Use Chrome or another browser that syncs your account no matter where you sign in. Know which online services can temporarily replace any software that you can’t move to another machine. Many image editing tools are online, so you can still make great blog images easily, regardless of which machine you’re on.

And keep it in the cloud when possible. Keeping most of my files online rather than on my computer has proven to be a huge help many times.

Yes, there are security risks.

But your regular device has security risks too. If your computer gets a virus, your data is at risk. Don’t fool yourself about the risks that you hope to avoid.

Automate When Possible

One of the great things about blogging is that there are a number of things you can automate. Not only does this make your daily routine easier, but it also helps when things go wrong.

I use Hootsuite and Tailwind quite extensively, for example. This way, when I can’t get online, I still have posts going out on my social media. I can handle the social side of things later when my equipment is behaving.

The key is to remember that you can’t automate everything. You can schedule tweets, pins, and so forth, but you can’t be social automatically. Eventually, you’ll have to go in and take a look.

You can also have blog posts scheduled out in advance. How far out depends on how far ahead you can manage to work.

If you can manage to keep a week ahead on your blog posts, for example, that’s a week to deal with problems when they crop up. It’s not a bad idea.

No, I’m not usually a week ahead unless I’m going on vacation. It takes a lot of work to get ahead. But when you can manage it, it’s a huge help.

WordPress makes it super easy to schedule blog posts to go out later. In fact, scheduling is one of the first things I do when working on a post. Usually, it’s for the next morning, but sometimes it’s days away.

help laptop

Sometimes All You Can Do Is Take Time Off

No matter how carefully you plan ahead for problems, sometimes there’s only one thing you can do – take some time off.

If you’re down for a day or two, it’s usually not that big a deal unless you have something planned for those days and you absolutely must get online.

Take advantage. Take some time for yourself or go do something with your family.

Relax.

Do everything you can to avoid taking excessive time off. Sure, your blog will keep getting traffic if you do nothing for a time, but do you really want to leave it alone all that long?

I doubt it.

When my laptop needed its screen replaced, it was gone for most of a month. I was furious about it taking so long, but it was a warranty repair, and I didn’t have a choice of which shop. My next computer won’t come from that same place most likely. If by some chance I do go there, they’ve already lost all chances of selling an extended warranty, even though I used said warranty for that screen replacement. Service simply took too long. I couldn’t take that much time off my blog in good conscience.

If you’re having a repair done under warranty, you may be offered a loaner computer, which can help. Just make sure you’ve wiped all your personal data and signed out of everything before you return it.

But even if you don’t have a way to work the way you normally do, you have options. You may even be able to work on a computer at the library for a few hours if that’s the only way to get things done.

You can also brainstorm, even if you don’t have a computer available.

When my kids were in soccer, that’s what I would do during their practices. I didn’t have a smartphone at the time, so I would sit there with a notebook and brainstorm ideas.

No internet, no computer, but I could still get things set up for later.

These days, if I don’t want to get online when I’m out brainstorming, I can still pull my phone out and type up notes for later. It works more or less the same as writing it out.

shattered

Decide Whether To Repair Or Replace

Just because your computer has a problem doesn’t automatically mean you need to replace it. Often enough, a repair will be enough.

The repair my laptop needs is one I’d be able to handle easily on my own with a desktop computer. Switching out a fan on a desktop computer is easy. I’ve done it before. Loosen a few screws, unplug the fan, put in the new one and attach it, and you’re done.

I looked at what my laptop would need and noped away from that. Laptop parts are much smaller and fussier than I like to deal with. It’s getting a professional repair.

The basic consideration when it comes to repair or replace is cost. How close to the replacement cost of the computer will the repair come?

Too close, and you may as well replace the thing. You’ll probably get an upgrade at the same time.

Replacing has its own problems, of course. You have to move all your data and reinstall all your old software. Sometimes this is difficult because you already used your registration code on the old machine, and the software won’t let you use it over again.

This is why I like knowing how to do basic computer repairs on my own. I can keep my repair costs down while extending the life of my equipment.

Many desktop computer repairs are surprisingly easy, especially if you find a good tutorial for it online. They’re much easier on desktop computers than on laptops, of course. I’m not bold enough to do much work on a laptop computer yet.

Don’t even get me started on smartphone and tablet repair. I’m not remotely ready for that.

But a good repair shop can handle things quickly, professionally and at a good price. If you find the right one, you won’t have to worry about attempting a repair you aren’t comfortable with or replacing equipment for minor failures.

What If You Have A Work At Home Job?

Of course, if you have a work at home job with a required schedule and your computer goes down, it’s time to talk with your employer. Depending on the kind of schedule you have, you may need to notify them of even a brief problem with your internet connectivity.

If you’re going to be out of service for more than a shift or so, do your best to find a way to get back to work.

If your employer provided the equipment and their stuff failed, they will probably be pretty helpful in getting you back to work. But if it’s your own equipment, they will likely expect that you can handle the problem with a minimum of fuss.

Talk to your employer, especially once you know how serious the problem is. Most will be understanding, provided you don’t simply disappear on them for the duration.

Be sure you have access to a contact number or email that doesn’t rely upon your work computer. Phone numbers are best because they don’t rely on you having an internet connection. It’s kind of hard to send an email or start a chat about your internet being out when your internet is, in fact, out. Depending on your location, after all, you may not even have access to your phone’s data plan.

Don’t Overstress About Lost Work Time

I know it’s terribly stressful when you had a schedule all set and a plan in place, and now it’s all in ruins. I’ve been there.

But some problems are out of your control. What matters most is how you handle problems as they come up. If you have a plan in place, it will be much less of a crisis.

Letting stress take over doesn’t help anything. It’s more likely to slow you down.

Instead, focus on what you can do, even if it’s not work related. Lost time can be made up later if necessary.

You’ll be fine.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated June 9th, 2017

Help! My Computer Won’t Show The Login Screen!

My laptop computer gave me quite the headache recently. We had a brief power outage while it was plugged and turned on, after which it quit showing me the login screen after going into sleep mode. It would come up just fine if I restarted the machine, but not if I shut it down completely and then turned the computer back on. Suffice it to say, this was a frustrating problem, as I could not even close the laptop without losing the login screen.

This is why you should always be able to do some basic troubleshooting and tech support on your own equipment when you work at home. Usually it will be easier to solve than this problem was. This particular problem was a massive headache.

Backup Your Files

This kind of problem is the point at which you should think about how good your backup files are. When did you last run a backup anyhow? Now would be a very good time.

I have offsite backup, but decided I really should get around to an onsite backup on an external drive. My old external drive has died. I bought a My Passport portable drive off Amazon, and when it arrived, I started the backup right away. I like redundancy in my backups… plus you don’t have to wait for the download to complete over your internet when you have a local backup.

I’ll skip ahead for a moment and note that I never needed the backup files this time after everything I did to fix this, but I didn’t know this at the time. Better safe than sorry. When in doubt, make a backup.

Search Your Exact Problem And Variations

I searched “windows 10 not showing login after sleep” to see what solutions I would come up with. Lots of suggestions. I also searched every possible issue related to it that I noticed as I went along. This gave me lots of paths to explore.

Run Diagnostics

I realized the problem might have something to do with my profile, as I also started getting messages about my account needing something done so that apps could work between other Windows devices I might use. This was a brand new message to me. I clicked the message and it took me to my account, where I tried to find a problem. It wasn’t very helpful at this point.

There are a number of diagnostic programs you can download from Microsoft when you have these kinds of problems. I tried a number of them, including the Update Troubleshooter, the System File Checker, Startup Repair and I think some others, with no solutions.

Check Other Account Profiles On The Computer

If there are other account profiles on the same computer, log into one and see if the problem persists. If there aren’t other account profiles, make one! This can help you figure out if it’s your profile that is corrupt, or if there’s a problem elsewhere. On my computer, existing accounts could go from sleep mode and give a login screen, but when I tried making a new profile for myself, it still had the login screen problem. Joy.

Whimper. Cry. Reinstall Windows 10.

This is what it came down to for me after a lot of searches, diagnostics, booting into safe mode, and frustration. The one good thing about the whole process is that, aside from the login issue, I could still use my laptop, so I could take breaks from diagnosis and do something else when I got tired of it. A fresh perspective helps sometimes.

But I had to use Recovery to reinstall Windows using the Reset this PC option. This is found under Update & security in your Settings. First pick – the option which did the reinstall but retained my files.

This option does not save everything. Your files are safe, but you will have to reinstall most programs and apps yourself. Fortunately, it gives you a list of removed apps in a file it puts on your desktop after the reinstall. Still, it’s painful.

You can imagine my pain when this didn’t work. Not only that, but it was no longer giving me the restart option, although I could login now after shutting the computer down. Throwing the computer out the window wasn’t really an option, but tempting at this point. I really didn’t want the expense right then.

Fortunately, I didn’t give up immediately. I went to my daughter’s class presentation to give myself a mental break and escape the frustration for a little.

Came back home after getting all the kids from school, and decided to try logging into other profiles one last time. Sure enough, other profiles still worked perfectly. Logged back into mine.

It got better! Suddenly I could see the login screen after sleep with no problems at all. This has continued, so something I did finally solved the problem. I’m assuming it relates to the reinstall, although I really don’t know for certain. I’m just absurdly happy to have my laptop working normally again.

Was This A Warning?

I’ve been joking with my husband that all this was actually a warning from my computer to me about my van. Two days after I got all of this resolved, my middle row van window on the driver’s side was down when I came out to my van. Not a break in. It needed a new regulator. On the weekend, when my mechanic couldn’t get one until Monday.

All that has been taken care of now, and I have warned my husband that I will absolutely scream if the house decides to get in on this. I don’t need more Window problems.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated March 21st, 2017

How To Cope With Computer Problems In Your Home Business

When you run a home business, you are inevitably going to run into technical difficulties. It’s the nature of things. While sometimes you will have problems which ruin your entire day, others can be fixed with little difficulty. Here are some things you can try to fix computer problems as they come up.

I fix most of my own technical problems and only rarely have to get help. Usually, that means it’s not on my end of things, such as when the internet is down. I’m helping my son build his own computer, so you will probably agree that I’m a bit more comfortable with technology than many.

Be aware that you will lose any unsaved work with many of these solutions. If your computer has frozen up, the work is often lost regardless. Taking steps to get your computer running again won’t change that.

These instructions are by no means comprehensive. They’re just advice that may help. If they make things worse, I take no responsibility for that. Don’t try anything you think will damage your devices.

Problem: Computer Is Not Responding

Try To Save All Work

Before you do anything else, try to save any open work you have. This will minimize the heartbreak of losing progress. If the program is completely frozen, you will probably not be able to save your work, but try it first to be sure.

See If You Can Figure Out Why You’re Having A Problem

Sometimes the problem you’re having is so basic, you can spot it if you pause and take a look. A window on your computer might not be responding because it’s waiting for a response in a popup that has gone behind the main window. A connection may be loose. A battery may be near to zero. Check all your windows, connections and battery levels to see what you can find.

Shut Down The Program

It’s annoying when your computer stops responding for a time. If you think you know which program is causing the problem, try closing that program. Closing excess programs can help the rest run better, and you may be able to open it right back up.

Ctrl-Alt-Del

If it’s your Windows computer giving you trouble, use Control-Alt-Delete to see if you can get the Task Manager to come up. If the computer is completely frozen, this won’t help, but you can often locate the problem process in the Task Manager and end it. You can also bring up the Task Manager by right clicking on the taskbar.

The problem process may be using too much CPU, Memory or Disk. If the problem is not in a process you’re familiar with, you may not want to end it using the Task Manager. When in doubt, you can look up the process online to find out what it does. Some processes are not good to end in Task Manager, as they’re related to how your computer runs. If one of those is causing a problem, you need to restart your computer.

The problem process is usually the one you’re using. Web browsers freeze up sometimes, especially if you have a lot of tabs open. Other programs can freeze as well, because that’s how computers are some days. Hopefully your work is saved often enough that you don’t lose much progress.

Turn It Off, Then On Again

You can solve many problems can by turning the device off, then on again. There’s a reason why many tech support people have you try this first. Try it on your device. Try first for the normal shut down routine. If that doesn’t work, try the power button. If that doesn’t work, unplug it. If it has a battery and unplugging is irrelevant, swear profusely. Swearing won’t help your device, but it might ease some tension.

Actually, if it’s battery powered and being difficult about shutting down, try holding down the power button. It may take several seconds, but I’ve never had that fail.

Tech support will usually tell you to wait anywhere from 5-30 seconds before restarting. That’s only necessary some of the time. I make sure the computer is fully shut down and the fan isn’t running before I restart.

Problem: Printer Is Not Responding

My kids use our printer far more often than I do, but I still have to troubleshoot it sometimes. Ours gets fussy at odd times, and we usually see a message about the printer not responding as we hear it printing.

Check Print Queue

Open up the print queue for your printer and see if there are any jobs ahead of the one you’re trying to do. Sometimes it will be stuck on a previous job. Ours has been known to hold old jobs for days before the kids tell me that they’ve been having trouble. Cancel all the old jobs before adding any new ones.

We sometimes get a message that another computer is using the printer. We have four computers, so this would be reasonable if it weren’t for the fact that no one else has ever been using the printer at that time. The only thing that works for my printer with this problem is to shut it down using the power button, then unplug, pause, replug and turn it back on. This takes a few minutes, but is faster than just unplugging and replugging the printer because it gets whiny if it’s not shutdown correctly. I have to acknowledge the improper shutdown before it wants to do anything.

Check The Printer

The printer may be low on ink, be out of paper, or have a paper jam. Usually the print manager or print queue will alert you to this.

If the ink is low, try cancelling the print and submitting it again. Some printers lie about when they’re low on ink and you can still get some perfectly good prints out of them before changing the cartridge. This may save you from having to dash out for more printer ink. I prefer to order cheap printer ink from Amazon because we aren’t printing things for the long term here. I have yet to have any of it damage my printer, but that is a possibility, so take the chance only if you’re willing.

If the paper is out, put in more paper. I hope this could have gone without saying.

If the paper is jammed, figure out the various places you can open the printer to remove the jammed paper. There’s usually a place to open it up in the back, as well as removing the paper cartridge.

Problem: No Internet Connection

Here’s a problem that is often on your end and easy to fix, but otherwise you will have to call for help.

If you’re using wifi, make sure you have a good wifi connection. You should be able to see it on the taskbar. If you aren’t close enough to your router, of course you won’t have a connection. If you need wifi in more of your home, look into a range extender.

Windows can handle some troubleshooting for you. Right click on your wifi icon and select Troubleshoot problems. This won’t always give you an answer, but it might.

If you’re using a wired connection, make sure it’s well connected at your computer and the router. Kids, pets and time can loosen connections.

The next thing to do if you have no internet connection is restart your router. For most, the easiest way to do this is unplug the router, pause and plug it back in. It may take several minutes before you know if you have a connection again. It’s so easy I’ve given my older kids permission to do this. So far they always forget that option and wait for me. You can also try unplugging the power and disconnecting the cable, then reconnecting both.

If this doesn’t work, it’s time to call your internet provider. Pay attention to any parts you could have handled on your own for future reference. The equipment can vary quite a bit, so I’m not going to get too specific here, but there are other things you can do on your own on most equipment. The less often you have to sit on hold with your ISP, the better.

If your home phone goes through the same service as your internet, you are probably better off calling your internet provider from your cell phone. Shutting down some of your equipment will also shut off the house phone, which will terminate the call. Then you have to hope that they will call you back, or call in again knowing that you might have to start troubleshooting all over.

Problem: Computer Runs Slow

Now here’s one you could damage your computer with, so be very, very careful. The benefits can be worth it.

Open the Task Manager on your Windows computer. That can be found by hitting Control-Alt-Delete, as described above or by right clicking on the taskbar. Select the Startup tab.

Do not disable programs you don’t understand. You will mess up how your computer runs. However, if you have programs such as Spotify, Steam, QuickTime and so forth, you probably do not need them to run at startup. When in doubt, do a search online and find out if the program is safe to remove from startup. Once again, don’t do this if you aren’t certain it’s safe.

Limiting what runs at startup can speed your computer up quite a bit. There are many programs and apps that like to add themselves to your computer’s startup that do not need to be turned on before you start using them. They slow the entire system down by doing this.

You will need to restart after this.

Problem: Computer Is Making Noises

Sometimes your computer gets noisy, and it’s not an ad or video playing in the background. It may just be that it needs a good cleaning.

This is one of those things you have to be careful about, especially if you have a warranty and don’t want to void it. Do not do anything that will void an active warranty.

Desktop computers are not difficult to open up for most people. There are some good instructions here. I usually just follow the dusting instructions – it’s rarely necessary to remove and reseat cards. If you’re feeling ambitious or things look that bad, follow the instructions carefully. You will need some canned air and a small paintbrush at the very least.

Problem: Keyboard

I also use canned air to clean out keyboards, just along the surface. I don’t open them up – just blow the air along the lines of the keys. This won’t do a perfect job, but it will get some of the gunk out. This is usually enough to get it working pretty well again.

Now if your kids have been eating Nerds at the computer and drop some into the keyboard, well, I hope you have better luck cleaning those out than I did. The big ones are difficult to get out and get in the way of the keys. Better to make sure the kids don’t eat at the computer, especially anything that can drop small bits into the keyboard or other parts. Lucky for my kids, we had a spare keyboard.

If you want to clean the surfaces of the keyboard, spray a cleaner lightly onto a microfiber cloth and wipe the keyboard down. Don’t spray directly onto the keyboard – you do not want a lot of moisture there. It might work its way down to the electronic parts and damage them.

Problem: Popup Ads

Frequent popup ads on your computer can be a sign of adware on your system. They’re also annoying. It’s time to give your system a solid malware scan.

The first thing to try on a Windows computer is Windows Defender, which comes built in on current systems. It does pretty well these days. You can also try other reputable brands, such as Bitdefender or Malwarebytes. Be very careful what malware scanner you use, as many will cause more problems than they solve. Stick to the quality companies.

Run a full scan. A quick scan is faster, but it won’t catch everything, and when you have a problem you want it handled right, not fast.

Do not run two malware scanners at once. They will give each other trouble. You should have one always on, and you can choose to have an on demand scanner as well.

I hope these solutions will help you with some of the basic problems you can face with your equipment when running a home business. Knowing how to handle the basics can save you a lot of time on the phone or with your computer in the shop.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated May 7th, 2012

Watching My Home Business Computer Die

I’m not the kind of person who upgrades her electronics all the time. I’m far more likely to use them until they’re unusable. And so I’ve recently been preparing for the demise of what has been my main home business computer.

This could be a serious problem if I weren’t prepared for the situation. As it is, I can think more on what I want from its successor. This wouldn’t be the case if I weren’t prepared for situations such as this.

It took me a while to realize that yes, my 5.5 year old computer is really going. Crashing more often. Requiring regular chkdsk scans. I did some digging and was able to see that yes, it has been throwing errors which usually indicate that the hard drive is going. Most days it can’t even open Task Manager anymore… and yes, I’ve done a variety of virus scans to make sure that it’s not just some nasty the computer has caught.

Now, you can replace a hard drive. It’s a lot of work, but certainly cheaper than a whole new computer. Only problem is that the sound card also seems to be going, which leaves me reluctant to trust that I won’t have to replace still more parts soon. I’ve replaced computer components before, although the hard drive would be the first of those for me.

This is the reason why I always keep backups of all my important data, both locally and with a trusted online provider. Making the switch to a new computer is always inconvenient, but at least I won’t be missing any data or need to recreate my browser profiles. That’s a huge deal.

You could say I have triple redundancy on my local backups. My business computer is backed up to my laptop, my husband’s computer and my external hard drive. But seeing as I know I’m not immune to natural disasters, I keep an online backup too. Companies such as Mozy and Livedrive offer online backup services so you don’t have to worry about a local natural disaster or a computer crash destroying all your files. Your files are safe elsewhere.

I don’t just back up business stuff, of course. Family photos are carefully backed up too. It’s all too easy to lose all your family photos if you aren’t careful. That’s the problem with digital photos. Good thing they’re so much easier to replace than printed photos if you take the time to store copies elsewhere.

I’ve already warned my husband. He can call it my Mother’s Day present. We’re going to visit family next weekend, and that puts us near Fry’s Electronics, my favorite electronics store. Really. That’s not a paid plug or anything. I just happen to really appreciate how well they’ve treated me with this computer when it needed warranty work. They aren’t my nearest computer shop, and I still want to go back there for the next one.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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