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Help! It's not working!

This page deals with general computer problems which are making it impossible to do your work - anything which used to work but now doesn't probably fits here. Before emailing help@maths, please read this to see whether you can solve your own problem. If you are simply unsure how to do something, try the Maths Computing pages.

The Magic Reboot

If you have a Windows computer at home, you probably already know that sometimes it just plays up for no apparent reason and the only fix is to reboot it. You can do that with our Windows computers too, using the "Sleep, Shutdown or Reboot" icon on the desktop. Some printer problems are also resolved by turning the printer off and on ("power-cycling it").

Linux computers may also benefit from a reboot. As it is possible that this will interrupt other users' work, we have made sure that the power icon and the command reboot will only work if nobody else is using the PC.

Clearing /tmp

Each Linux machine has its own directory called /tmp where programs keep their temporary files. Sometimes a program will act up because its temporary files have become corrupted. If e.g. Firefox or acroread is failing to work on your office computer but fine on the public computers, it is likely to be a /tmp issue.

How to clear /tmp

Specific Issues

Requesting Help

The best way to request computer help is by email to help@maths. If your computer is so broken that you cannot send email then you may telephone extension 66100 or contact a Computer Officer in person.

More info about contacting help@maths