Friday, July 4, 2008

A Lesson I Learned the Hard Way

Last week I was working at the computer and the monitor screen went blank. I tried turning it off and on to see if it would work properly. It displayed for a second, then went blank again. That is when another dilemma arose. I needed to shut down the computer. You would think I could shut it down without having to press the "on" button and hold for a few seconds (which is not good for the hard drive). Alas, I had no idea how to safely shut down my computer.

I had to shut it down the bad way. Then I realized that my home network would be brought down without my main computer running. That wouldn't go over well with the rest of the household. The monitor is not necessary for the rest of the network to get online, only the computer itself must be running. I didn't know how long it would be before I could fix or replace the monitor and I wasn't going to shut down each day in the way that could harm the hard drive.

The mouse is very handy but only when you can see it. After using a computer all these years, I knew that it could be shut down using the keyboard. I just didn't know how to do it - so I looked it up. In Windows XP the computer can be shut down using these keyboard commands:

Windows Key then
press the letter u twice


Ctrl + Esc then
press the letter u twice

I've used both methods successfully. I read that some Windows XP systems use the Windows button for another function leaving it useless for a shutdown shortcut. The second method has no such problems.

I found these directions for Vista but have not verified them:

Windows Key then
press right arrow 3 times

If you are like me, not keyboard shortcut savvy, you might want to write these directions down in your password book -- just in case one day you can't see your mouse.

It looks like my monitor is really dead. Fortunately, we have an old monitor that we had stored away. We got that out, dusted it off, attached it, and held our collective breath (this monitor is really old) and tah dah - it works!

Lesson for me? I think I am going to try very hard to learn keyboard shortcuts beyond copy and paste. :-)


storyteller said...

Wow … I didn’t know there were keyboard commands to turn off a computer in XP or Vista … but I appreciate you sharing your experience and the solution you found. I’ll definitely check this out and keep the information handy … just in case. Sorry for your monitor hassles and hope everything gets resolved soon. Hope you had a Happy 4th of July!
Hugs and blessings,

Renie Burghardt said...

Hi Tina,

I have a laptop/notebook, so if my monitor stops working, the entire thing will not be working either. I think. But I'm glad you shared the information. I still have my old desktop, but I haven't turned it on in quite some time. Hmm, maybe I should check and see if it still comes on. I hope it does, as I have a lot of stuff still stored in my files there.

Hope you had a great 4th of July! Mine was kind of sad. But today was very nice, as I spent it at the cabin on the river.

Take care, dear Tina. Hope you get a new monitor soon, and the pc stays problem free!

Love and Hugs,


Tina Coruth said...


I just had a chance to experiment on Vista on the laptop. For this one, to shut down the computer, I had to press the windows key, then the right arrow key twice, but then I had to press enter. That gave the shutdown command.

I had a nice July 4th day. In the evening I watched the Boston Pops celebration as I do every year. It's a wonderful program.

I hope you had a great July 4th, too! :-)


Tina Coruth said...

Hi Renie,

I hope your old desktop still works. It probably does. If by chance it doesn't, all may not be lost. I've read that very often the experts can retrieve the information.

I'm sorry your day was sad. I hope your time at the cabin was able to lift your spirits. Take care, my friend. :-)

Love & hugs,

Mary said...


You certainly taught me something today. I had no idea you could shut down a computer by using a keyboard. Thanks for the lesson.

Our monitor went some time ago. It was a 17 inch. We had the 12 inch one that came with the computer so we got that out and hooked it up. It was brand new and works great.

Take care and thanks again for the lesson.


deborah wilson said...


I'm glad that you posted this info - I have forgotten most keyboard shortcuts, probably because I rarely have to use them.
Gotta write this down, just in case...

My first monitor died two years after I bought my first computer (1998). A friend and supervisor at work gave me his old one that he had used for about 6 years. I used it for 5 1/2 years before it started to slowly go dark...finally going out completely. So I had to break down and buy a new monitor last fall. I'm hoping that for $250 bucks it will last at least another year or two.

smilnsigh said...

I know I need to really write down how to do various things... quickly and easily, on my Mac. Since I say "I know I need to..." you can figure that I've not done all of this, which I should. -sigh-

Why do we wait for an emergency, to plan on being wise, hu?

So glad the old monitor is working! Great forethought, to have kept it.

'Smilnsigh' blog

Mountain Mama said...

Thank you so much for sharing. I have had to shut down by using the computer on/of button several times. I didn't know it was hard on the hard drive.

Congratulations on the award.

Linda said...

Thanks for this information. I haven't used keyboard commands since DOS. I wouldn't know what to do. Glad you had a back up monitor.

Tina Coruth said...


It sure is worthwhile to hang onto the old peripherals. You just never know when they will be needed! I'm glad your original monitor worked for you.

I began using a computer when Windows 95 came out. I never used dos commands. I was spoiled with the mouse right from the start! LOL Beyond copy and paste commands, I never learned any others. Since this latest monitor problem, I have learned a couple. Instead of scrolling down a long page, I click the "End" key and instead of scrolling all the way back to the top, I click the "Home" key. This is much faster than using the mouse!

I hope you are having a great day!

Tina Coruth said...


That second monitor was fantastic! The only bright spot to replacements in the computer world is that usually, as time goes by, prices come down. I've got to hold off buying a new one for a while, but I have noted that a comprable monitor is less expensive than the one I want to replace. I wish we could say that about gasoline!! LOL


Tina Coruth said...

Hi Mari-Nanci,

I know what you mean. I wish I could say I was one of those folks who is always prepared - but I'm not. I'm a scrambler. When something goes wrong I scramble for an answer to fix it. LOL

Thank you for stopping by!

Tina Coruth said...

Mountain Mama,

I'm glad the information is helpful!

Thank you! :-)


Tina Coruth said...

Thank you, Linda! :-)