Introduction to PC Troubleshooting

Don't spend your hard-earned cash on expensive PC repairs! The vast majority of the problems people experience with their computers are completely avoidable, and most can be solved with nothing more than a few minutes of your time. Intro to PC Troubleshooting takes you step by step through the typical hardware and operating system problems encountered by technicians, teaching troubleshooting techniques to decipher any problem, and giving you the skills you need to solve them. Once you've mastered the basics, the course launches into some of the more advanced and nasty problems that crop up in the PC, teaching you how to diagnose and fix those problems as well! Finally, Intro to PC Troubleshooting shows you how to maintain and optimize a Windows PC. So what are you waiting for? Let's troubleshoot - and fix - some PCs!

To enroll in this course, click the Enroll Now button below:


Internet access, E-mail, and the Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox Web browser, and a computer equipped with any Microsoft Windows 95 or better. You will also need access to one or more computers that do not contain any data you consider sensitive.


All courses run for six weeks, with a two-week grace period at the end. Two lessons are released each week for the six-week duration of the course. You do not have to be present when the lesson is released, but you must complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.

A new section of each course starts on the second or third Wednesday of each month. If enrolling in a series of two or more courses, please be sure to space the start date for each course at least two months apart.

Week One
Wednesday - Lesson 01
Learning how to troubleshoot PCs can save you money and reduce your stress when something goes wrong. Before you can troubleshoot, though, you need a basic understanding of the PC. In our first lesson, I'll introduce you to the most common devices that you'll find on a PC. By the time you finish this lesson, you'll be able to recognize the monitor, keyboard, mouse, and many of the ports you might use to connect devices to the computer. We'll finish out the lesson with a discussion about basic care and maintenance of printers, and how to keep power to the PC safe for the delicate circuits inside your system.
Friday - Lesson 02
Now that you're familiar with the basics, let's take a peek behind the curtain. In this lesson, I'll take you on a tour inside a PC and show you the parts that make the system tick. I'll introduce you to important hardware, such as the CPU, RAM, and storage devices, and I'll explain how they all play together. Along the way, you'll learn the terminology you'll need to "talk the talk" of a PC tech, and maybe even impress your friends.
Week Two
Wednesday - Lesson 03
A PC isn't of much use without an operating system to give it function. In this lesson, we'll discuss the various popular versions of Windows from yesterday and today, including Windows 9x, 2000, XP, and Vista. You'll also follow the process a PC goes through after you press the power button, learning the steps that go on behind the scenes, and becoming familiar with the important files Windows needs to start.
Friday - Lesson 04
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, or so the common wisdom goes. In this lesson, you'll learn the secret to PC troubleshooting: preparedness. I'll teach you how to use the software tools that will help you recover a system when there's a problem, and other tools that may help prevent some problems from occurring in the first place. Then we'll walk through the process of backing up important data, such as personal documents and e-mail messages, and you'll learn how to use these backups so you'll be prepared when the inevitable happens.
Week Three
Wednesday - Lesson 05
Your PC may come with a standard set of devices, but you're not limited to just those. PCs enable you to add more devices for increased function and flexibility. In this lesson, we'll explore the technologies that make this expansion possible. You'll learn how devices use configurations called "system resources" to communicate with the computer. Since device installations don't always go as smoothly as anticipated, I'll also show you how to troubleshoot installation problems and conflicts that can prevent a device from working.
Friday - Lesson 06
Computers need power to function, so you need to understand power supplies and what you can do to ensure your system always has the clean and steady power required to do its job. In this lesson, you'll look at the PC's need for power and ventilation. You'll learn how to identify and replace a bad power supply, as well as how to keep your computer cool and well ventilated, and what can go wrong if you don't. We'll round out this lesson by learning how to be environmentally responsible when storing and disposing of computer equipment.
Week Four
Wednesday - Lesson 07
What good is your computer if it can't remember anything? In this lesson, we'll take a look at system memory, or RAM. First, we'll identify the various types of RAM and the technologies behind them. From there, you'll learn how to install RAM in a system and recognize common errors you may run into along the way. Then I'll take you behind the scenes where you'll have a chance to see how a PC knows what it has "under the hood" and how it uses BIOS to help the CPU communicate with all the devices in the computer. We'll wrap up the lesson with a tour of the System Setup Utility.
Friday - Lesson 08
One of the most common PC problems occurs during the startup and shut down processes. To understand what's going on, you need to know what should happen during a normal startup and shut down, so today we'll go through them step-by-step. Then we'll discuss some of the issues that may occur during those processes, and I'll show you have to resolve them so you never have to stare at a "Starting Windows" message for multiple minutes again!
Week Five
Wednesday - Lesson 09
In this lesson, we'll take a look at the system's mass data storage—the hard drive or drives. You'll learn what a hard drive does, and how using swap files and disk caching can help things run smoothly. Along the way, I'll teach you the benefits of regular maintenance with utilities such as Disk Defragmenter and Error Checking. You'll also see how to protect data from catastrophic failures—always a bonus.
Friday - Lesson 10
The Windows operating system is just like a car—with a bit of tweaking and fine tuning, you can keep it running fast and efficiently. In this lesson, you'll learn how to optimize Windows and keep it streamlined. We'll also take a look at the various options that Windows offers that enable you to customize it to your own tastes and needs.
Week Six
Wednesday - Lesson 11
Anyone who's used Windows for any length of time has experienced the dreaded Blue Screen of Death—where statements like "General Protection Fault" and "Fatal Exception" sit on your screen surrounded by information that might as well be written in Greek. In today's lesson, I'll give you the scoop on the different types of errors you might see and what they mean. Then I'll show you some methods that can help you isolate and identify the errors so you can eliminate them and get back up and running again.
Friday - Lesson 12
The Internet is everywhere. You see it at work and in homes—and you can even access it at many coffee shops and parks. In this lesson, we'll delve into the world of the Internet and explore some common Internet issues. You'll learn what you need to access the Internet, and look at how to troubleshoot connectivity problems, optimize your browser settings, and handle pop-ups and spyware.

To enroll in this course, click the Enroll Now button below: