Common PC Issues

Laptop computer on a desk.

This page addresses the most common PC issues that IT Support encounters.  This list by no means includes every problem you may experience, but it is a good starting point for troubleshooting computer-based issues in the labs, classrooms, or with a user’s University-assigned or personal devices.


The computer doesn’t respond/turn on

Check that the computer is turned on, and plugged in.  (This sounds obvious, but some users don’t think to check.)  If the computer is turned on and is frozen, press and hold the power button to shut it down, then power it back up again.  In most cases, the computer will boot up and present a logon screen, and work normally.  If there is an error, it will most often display an error message – or in the case of PSU computers, a Dell diagnostic check/report, which may pinpoint where a failure has occurred.


Can’t login with PSU account

The most common cause is an expired password.  All Access account passwords are good for exactly 365 days from the time they were set, and then expire.  The user will have gotten several warnings about this via email in the weeks leading up the expiration.

If, however, they waited until the password expired, they will not be able to login to any computer or service until they reset it.  Follow these directions to have a user perform a password reset.  Users CANNOT reset their passwords from the Windows login screen, although it may appear that is an option.  They MUST visit to complete a reset, either before or after expiration.

In some rare cases, a user’s account may have been locked by University Park.  There may be an issue with their student status, or their account may have been the victim of a hacking attempt.  In either case, they will need to contact the University Park Helpdesk at 814-865-4357 to resolve the issue.


“No logon servers available”

Most commonly seen in classrooms or labs, this message indicates that the computer does not have an internet connection.  The most common cause is an unplugged ethernet cable, usually at the wall jack.  It may also be a bad cable (uncommon), or a case where someone tried to plug a different computer into the ethernet, which caused the port to lock down.  A locked port will have to be cleared by a member of the IT staff.  Once the internet connection is restored, users will be able to login again.


Mouse/keyboard/etc are not working

Check that the USB connections are plugged into the computer.  In the case of classrooms and labs, also check that the cable is not frayed/severed/damaged.  In some rooms, it is not uncommon for cables to get caught keyboard trays or monitor lifts and damaged.  In the event of a damaged cable, replace the device from the IT inventory.


Can’t save files to the computer

When this happens in a computer lab or classroom, it is often because the user’s PASS space is full.  The default size for all users is 500MB, but it can be increased to 10GB.  See this page for full instructions.


User is prompted for an administrator’s password

Users do not have administrative privileges on PSU computers.  If a user attempts to install software or change certain settings, they will be blocked.  Users may contact IT Support to request that we approve their desired action; if it is consistent with University policies, IT staff are able to enter an administrative password.