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Intro: This is Brian and I'm the Help Desk Technician. I work at SCLS-Automation and I'm the main person who answers the phone when you call the Help Desk. Before taking over the Help Desk job from Andrew, I answered the Help Desk phone at night for a couple of years. Oh yes, my wife and I just recently had a baby, our second girl.

When PCs, being the temperamental things they sometimes are, have problems and don't know what to do they display an error message to the screen. Whenever you get an error message on a PC it is always a good idea to write down EXACTLY word for word what the error message says and then call the Help Desk. One way to save yourself some time in writing down all of the error message is to do a screen shot. Unfortunately, though if the PC locked up or the error happened when the PC was booting up then a screen shot is not possible and you will have to write down the error message. If you are able to do a screen shot then here's a handy-dandy shortcut on how to do it:

  1. Press and hold down the Alt key and then hit the Print Screen button.

  2. Open up either WordPad or MS Word.

  3. Paste the screen shot into the application you just opened.

Remember that even though a lot of the times those error messages appear cryptic and are hard, if not impossible, to understand it still helps us to know their exact verbiage. We sometimes don't know what they mean either and we may then need to search the Internet for the solution and it's critical to have the exact wording from the error message. It just helps us to better determine the real problem, so that we can help you get back to work that much faster.


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I have NotePad on my computer. Will that work? And after I do the Alt-PrintScreen I paste the image into Note/WordPad or Microsoft Word by holding down the Control key and typing the letter "V" at the same time, right?

Sometimes this technology stuff makes me feel like such a n00b...

No, unfortunately you can't use NotePad. The reason is that NotePad is only for text and what you're trying to paste is a graphic file. So only WordPad and MS Word will handle it.

Another possibility is to paste into Microsoft's Paint program (Start->Run->mspaint or Start->Programs->Accessories->Paint).

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