I need computer help boiled down to stupid levels
December 28, 2017 6:50 AM   Subscribe

I have an HP stream chromebook running windows 8.1 and it's having issues. I cannot afford to hand it to a computer fixer, so I need some sort of for dummies instruction help to fix it.

I mostly use my smartphone (galaxy s6) for everything because I have weird psychological blocks with laptops related to my abusive ex. I can't afford a desktop set up, so I use the laptop only when I can't accomplish what I need to do on the smartphone.

But there are things that just have to be done on a computer and like I just need it, you know?

I went to print out a bunch of paperwork and my laptop wouldn't talk to my printer. Chased it down and my network drive has been disconnected. For two days I've been poking at this thing trying to figure out how the laptop forgot its brain exists.

I cleaned up the disk space and then I did this thing the HP stream does that "refreshes" the laptop, keeping all your pictures and stuff but deleting all the programs you've loaded and "fixes" all the stuff that came preloaded.

Only it didn't fix anything, it's still telling me the drive is disconnected.

I whined about it on Facebook and a friend said Microsoft put out a windows update that wiped out anything not compatible with windows 10 and that's what happened and would happen with every update after this.

And I tried updating to windows 10 back when they were like here's a button to push and we'll update you for free! Only my laptop couldn't upgrade to windows 10 because I didn't have enough memory even when I removed all the less then a handful of pictures (like three) and two programs I had added.

So how do I fix this because I can't afford a new laptop or to pay some guy at Staples to fix this one, but I can't be without an actual computer other than my smartphone.

And please try to explain it in a way someone who does all their online nonsense on a mobile phone and spends the day talking to children to the point grownups seem to speak a different language I'm slowly losing can understand.

I'm posting this then going to a friend's house to use their computer and printer, so it will be a couple hours before I can come home and poke things.

If your answer is just I'm screwed, then it is what it is and thanks anyway.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Hey there, let’s start with the most basic stuff — does the printer connect to the computer with a cord? Doublecheck that cord and then the power cord while you’re at it. If it’s a wireless printer, let us know.

Go to your control panel (or “PC Settings”) and see whether you can see the printer in your devices. Here’s a page with more detail on that. Is the computer finding the printer?
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 7:06 AM on December 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

sometimes there is a keyboard button to turn off specific network settings - It usually looks like a radio tower or set of squares connected by wires around the top row of your keys. Check for that.
posted by bbqturtle at 7:20 AM on December 28, 2017

I’ll check back for responses but I don’t want to lead you down the garden path with respect to specific Win 8.1 things. My general next step, assuming that everything is plugged in but the printer isn’t being discovered by Windows, is to see whether there’s a manual “Add” button or something you can hit and follow that path.

It’s also possible that the driver (the software that tells Windows how to interact with a specific printer model) has gotten messed up somehow, and you might need to reinstall that, but let’s cross that bridge when we come to it.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 7:21 AM on December 28, 2017

This might be a case where it will be a lot less frustrating and helpful to see if one of your computer adept friends would be will to come over and help as Ask isn't really set up for extensive back and forths.

I went to print out a bunch of paperwork and my laptop wouldn't talk to my printer. Chased it down and my network drive has been disconnected. For two days I've been poking at this thing trying to figure out how the laptop forgot its brain exists.

As written, there's two separate problems here. Are you actually having problems connecting to the printer or is the issue just that there's a missing networked drive?

From HP's press release, the Stream computers came with Microsoft's OneDrive cloud networked drive, some I'm assuming that's what you mean by the network drive. Here's some information about how to look at its configuration.
posted by Candleman at 7:51 AM on December 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

Normally, printing shouldn't care about your drives (networked or otherwise). Unless your printer connects to a NAS that's also in your house? (something like this?)

The answers to these questions would help us understand your issue a lot better:
What program are you using to print? (web browser? microsoft office? pdf viewer? )
What printer do you have?
When you have used it before, how did it connect to your computer? (Usb cable?, wired network?, wifi?)
Are you getting an error message when you try to print or can you just not choose your printer from the available list?
If there is an error, posting a photo of the error or writing the exact text would help a lot.
posted by stobor at 10:30 AM on December 28, 2017

To help, we'd need more information on what type of printer (make and model) and how it's connected (USB cable? wireless?).

Same with the network drive. What type of network drive do you have, exactly? Is it another computer in the house? Is it a hard drive that connects to Wifi? Is it a Network Attached Storage (NAS) drive that's plugged in to your network via a cable?
posted by cnc at 1:08 PM on December 28, 2017

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