Ask Google!

GoogleIf you are having problems with a computer application, or a new wireless router, or a printer, or even a cake that won’t rise, type your problem into Google and look at the answers.

I’ve been struggling since Wednesday with a new wireless router. It worked fine for all the computers and phones in the house except my Windows 7 Professional laptop, and despite spending hours on the phone with technicians at Netgear and Dell I fixed it myself by finding the answer in a forum that I found by using Google.

Then I couldn’t get the printer to work, and I used Google to find the answer, which was to delete the printer and then reinstall it.

Then the printer would print the same document over and over again until I took the paper out of the printer. I typed this into Google: “hp laserjet p1102w printer prints multiple copies” and read through the first 3 results, and one of them had an answer. I had to uncheck a box that was ticked in the printer configuration options. Now it works fine. Only one copy.

I have a fair few years experience with computers from my days as a computer programmer. If I have trouble getting things to work, I can imagine how hard it must be for people who have spent their time more productively. And I am always encouraged to see that other people have the same problem as me.

Ask Google! There are people out there who have had the same problem, and others who know the answers and take the time to write them in a blog post or a forum question. If you don’t understand the answer, or the next person in the discussion says it didn’t work, move on to the next result in the Google list. Find one that spells out the steps you have to take in a way you can understand.

Here’s another example. One day a few years ago my husband’s ageing laptop wouldn’t start. I went looking in Google for suggestions. One of them said take the hard drive out and put it in the freezer for a while, then put it back in and try starting it up. We didn’t try that one. Another person had suggested turning the laptop upside down and pressing the power button. We tried that and it worked! The laptop started up normally and we were able to get everything backed up.

Remember what you did so you can undo it if necessary, especially if it tells you to change a setting somewhere. Write it down if you think you may not remember, or keep the page open that has the instructions so you can go back and do it again in reverse it didn’t work. The chances are it won’t matter if you don’t change it back, but it might.

You are not alone.

Switch to our desktop site