Why Can't I Just Turn Off


There are two main reasons why you should shut down properly and not just turn off the power. Firstly, you may have unsaved work that you've forgotton about.
As part of the shutdown process your computer will ask all programs to close themselves. As each program closes itself it will check whether it has any work that has not been saved and if it has it will ask you if you want to save it.
Secondly, even if you have no unsaved work the computer may have.
Today's computers have to keep track of a vast amount of information even when they may seem idle. If you turn off the power without giving the computer a chance to save this information then it may not start up again in the state you were expecting. If you turn the power off when the computer is in the middle of saving information then it may not start up at all!

I can't shutdown. My computer isn't responding.

It happens. There are times when you have no choice but to switch off the power.
If this is the case then try and do so when there is no disk activity. You probably have a little light somewhere on your computer that flickers from time to time. You might be able to hear a slight whirring/ticking noise when it does so. This light shows disk activity. If you have to power down your computer then try and do so when this light is not on. If you have no light then you will have to try and listen for activity (Hint: There is a lot of disk activity on startup so listen to your computer when it starts to hear what it sounds like.)

Task Manager


If you are using Windows and a program, or even the whole computer, stops responding then you may be able to use the Task Manager to regain control.
Hold down the 'Ctrl' key and the Alt key. While holding down both keys, press and release the 'Delete' (or 'Del') key.
If you are using Windows 95, 98 or ME then hopefully this will bring up the Task Manager immediately. If you are using Windows NT, 2000, XP or later then hopefully you will be taken to a screen with six options in the middle of the screen one of which says 'Task Manager' and which you should click. If neither of these happens after a few seconds then your computer has stopped responding. See the end of Shutdown for how to power off your computer safely.
The Task Manager should list all the programs you have running. If you can recognise the program you want to stop, or one of the entries says 'not responding' next to it then click on that entry and then click 'end task'.

Zip Files

What are Zip Files?


As computers get more powerful so the amount of information they are called upon to process increases. This can get to the point where it becomes awkward to move this information from one computer to another.
Fortunately there are programs that can squeeze this information into a smaller space so that it can be transported and then extract it again at the other end. A zip file is a common format for this squeezed information.