Issue #13 August 13, 2002

1. Forcing a PC to shut down

It is inevitable that at some point in time your PC will just hang - stop working in the middle of what you are doing, no error message, it just freezes. If you have had this happen to you it is frustrating because you may lose the work you were doing. The bigger concern is what to do if it happens. The first thing to try is to press the Ctrl, Alt and Del key at the same time (the easiest way to do this is to hold down the Ctrl and Alt keys and then press the Del key). This may allow you to shut down the problem program and restart the PC. If this does not work, then you will have to turn the power off. The way to do this on current PC's is to hold the power button in for 5-10 seconds until the computer forces the power off and shuts down. Wait 30 seconds before you turn it back on. When the PC restarts, it will likely want to check the disks to see if any damage was done - let it do this and repair any problems it finds - rarely will it find anything. While an episode of freezing may cost you a few minutes of work, it can be dealt with properly. If you have these occurrences more than once a month or so, there is probably something more seriously wrong with your computer. Back up all data and take it to the repair shop to find out what is wrong.

2. Ctrl-Y to repeat action

When you have to repeat some action in Word or PowerPoint, you will want to use the Ctrl-Y shortcut key combination. This key combination allows you to repeat the last action you took. It remembers the last action in most cases and allows you to skip many menus in repeating it. For example, if you make text bold, italic in one spot by using the Format Font menu, you can highlight a new block of text, hold down the Ctrl key and press the Y key and this new block of text will be bold and italic as well. I used this recently to change the brightness settings on 85 digital photos in a presentation I was doing. I changed the first photo, then selected the next photo, pressed Ctrl-Y and so on. Check out this shortcut key the next time you have to repeat an action many times.

3. Useful Resource - dictionary.com

If you need to know or confirm the meaning of a word, check out the http://www.dictionary.com web site. It provides meanings to words and access to the entry for a word in Roget's Thesaurus, so you can see what alternatives might be used. It also has a great feature where they list in an FAQ format the proper usage of words that are commonly misused. One of the things that affects the credibility of your message is using a word incorrectly. I suggest you browse through this FAQ as a refresher and to pick up new word usage situations to keep in mind for future writing and speaking.