Computer Basics/Operation and Maintenance/Start up and shut down
|Operation and Maintenance
|Introduction | Connecting computer components | Start up and shut down | Cleaning and maintenance | Simple hardware faults | Key points | Assessment
Starting up a computer
Computers have a Power button that switch it on and off. Find the On switch (Power button) on the computer system you are currently using.
When a computer is switched off and must power up from a cold condition this is known as a cold start. As soon as the computer is switched on this starts the boot process. During this process the start-up software stored in the ROM of the computer takes control of the computer and searches for the operating system. The start-up software will then load the operating system into the RAM of the computer and pass over control to it.
Generally, one of two things will now happen:
- The operating system will automatically load and once it has booted up, you will see the desktop screen indicating the computer is available to use immediately. The screen that you see when your computer has finished starting up is called the desktop.
- The operating system will automatically load but you will be prompted to enter a username and password. These will be given to you by whoever installed the system. Once the logon details have been entered correctly, the computer boots up and is ready to use.
Sometimes a computer "freezes" and the program, keyboard or mouse no longer respond. At this time you can use a warm boot to get things going again. When you "warm boot" the computer it does not go through the process of reloading the operating system into Random Access Memory so it is quicker to restart.
There are different ways to do this and three are described here.
- Method 1: Press Ctrl plus Alt keys together and hold down. Touch the Del (Delete) key (you MAY need to touch this TWICE) to reboot the computer.
- Method 2: Press the Reset button if you have one; it will be positioned somewhere near the "power on" switch on the system unit.
- Method 3: Press Ctrl plus Alt keys together and hold down. Touch the Del (Delete) key. You may get the --- screen. Click on End Task to close the program which is "Not responding".
What if you can't do any of these? Press and hold the "Power on" button for 10 seconds. Release and the computer should turn off. Wait 5 seconds and turn on again. This is a cold boot, but is necessary to get your computer up and running again if you cannot do a warm boot.
Shutting down a computer
It's important to shut down a computer properly once you have finished using it. Different operating systems achieve this in different ways, so you will need to identify the Shut down or Turn off buttons (or process) on the computer you are using. Don't shut down a computer using the On/Off switch as this can damage the operating system or hardware and may cause data to be lost.