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Sooner or later, that computer, audio device, tablet, whatever electronic device is going to give you a headache. Some feature will not behave in the usual manner. The mouse won’t scroll. The keyboard won’t respond. A window won’t go away. Most of the time, it just takes a simple fix.

Where to start?

1. If it runs on batteries, check the charge level. You’ll usually get a warning with standard rechargeables, but I use NiZn rechargeables and my iMac always sees them at 100%. When the charge gets too low, my trackpad just shuts off. Yes, I’ll see the disconnect message if I’m sitting at my desk, but if I just went to grab a cup of coffee? Nope. Not going to see that message. If the batteries are okay, turn the peripheral off and then back on. If it has a cable, check to be sure the cable is seated all the way. Both ends if it’s detachable.

2. If it’s an app, quit and restart it. If it’s really stuck, you may have to force quit it. Force quit? Option-Command-Escape to bring up that Force Quit menu on your computer. iPhone or iPad? Four-finger swipe up (with the newer iOS) to open the dock, hold down an icon until they start to wiggle, then click on the little X on the upper left corner of the icon to quit that app.

3. Last of the simple cures? Shut down and restart. That fixes a multitude of problems, whether iMac, MacBook, iPod, heck, any electronic device. I have a Kindle Paperwhite that had some really frustrating problems that were finally fixed with the last OS update. Before that, I was completely shutting down and restarting every 4 to 5 days.

Oh, and if it’s an internet problem, it may not be your device at all. If everything else is working, turn off your modem and router. Give it 30 seconds, then turn the modem back on. Once all of the lights are up and steady, turn the router back on. That, too, fixes a lot of problems.

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