Computing Lab Assistant

Revision as of 15:56, 21 June 2012 by Meade Atkeson (talk | contribs)


This page is here for reference as to how to be the best Computing Lab Assistant possible.

Lab Rounds

  • The first step to doing a lab round is finding out whether or not the lab is scheduled. Sometimes this may be necessary, depending on the lab or the hours, but in peak usage times, it helps to check.

r25 Scheduling

  • The second step is to find if there are any immediate problem spots by checking "go/findapc", or labstats. findapc will tell you if any computers are disconnected from the network (red), or being used (blue).

Find a PC (labstats)

  • Lab rounds must be done thoroughly. The goal is to make sure that everything in the computer lab works the way it is supposed to. All of the computers should start up, and reach a login screen.

What to do when a computer won't start: Windows Booting
If the problem persists, refer to these instructions: No Windows
For trouble booting with a Mac: Mac Booting
Resetting the System Manegment Control (SMC) for a Mac: SMC

  • The computers should also be able to login to your account. If this is the problem, first check the ethernet connection to the machine and the wall. If that is secure, then restart the machine, (give the computer a hard restart by holding down on the power button until the machine loses power), and see if that fixes the problem. Sometimes several restarts will solve the issue, this is especially true of thin client machines. When in doubt, restart.
  • When the problem appears more serious, such as a blue screen error, you may need to open it up and check to make sure all the hardware components, such as the RAM and Hard drive, are properly ad securely in place. For help navigating the interior of desktop computers, see below. A flashing amber power light can be an issue with the power supply that requires new parts, in this is the case, and the computer is under warranty, Dell should be contacted. Refer to the following document for more solutions to serious startup issues.

Dell support on blue screen errors: Crashes
More Windows support from Dell: Errors


File a Lab Report

Printer Errors

  • Paper Jams
In case of a paper jam, follow the on screen instructions given by the printer, if any. The printer may be able to tell you which door to open to locate the jam. When the cause of the jam is located, take care in removing the jam. Grip the paper firmly and pull with an evenly distributed force to avoid tearing the paper. Watch out for ink/toner that may be on the inside of the printer. Re-test the printer to see whether or not the jam is a recurring issue. If the printer is a SymQuest printer, you may need to contact a SymQuest technician.

Documentation on paper jams:
Paper Jams
Helpdesk Paper Jams

  • Ink/Toner Cartridges
Generally, there will be fairly detailed instructions on how to replace ink and toner cartridges included with the replacement cartridges. Generally this involves opening the appropriate printer door and removing the old cartridge. On smaller hp model printers, this door is generally on the top of the printer, and hinges upward. On larger floor models, this door can be located on one of the sides. Be very aware that there will be ink on the old cartridge. Be careful when removing, the ink ruins clothes. Securely seal the old cartridge in the bag and have it recycled.
  • Networking Issues
If the error appears to be on the network end, double check by printing from different computers. If the problem persists, report the issue to LPC (Lab and Public Computing) and helpdesk@middlebury.edu.

Solutions to Printer Networking

Hardware Tips

  • Installing memory into Macintosh computers:
Mac Memory
  • Opening Dell Computers
Some newer models (such as the Optiplex 790) can be opened by a clearly visible lever on the side, other older models (such as the 755) have a tab with a lock symbol that must be pulled. This will allow the side cover to be removed. Once the machine is open, the various blue tabs will guide you as to how to remove and re-insert various hardware components.
  • CD's stuck in the optical drive (Mac):
CD Drives


  • Need help editing the wiki?
  1. http://mediawiki.middlebury.edu/wiki/LIS/Help:Contents
  2. http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Help:Contents
  • lynda.com Videos
  1. Windows 7 Tips and Tricks
  2. Mac OS X Training
  3. Unix (bash) Tutorials for Mac
  • For making calls outisde of the middlebury phone network, dial 9 before the rest of the number. The helpdesk's number is x2200.

Advanced Configuration Options

  • Creating a local user on a domain computer: Local User
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