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Basic Troubleshooting on Your Windows 8 Tablet

Occasionally, your Windows 8 tablet either misbehaves, or falls ill. Following are some possible treatment plans, as well as a few tweaks to solve specific problems.

What to do if you can’t connect to the Internet

If you’re having trouble connecting to the Internet, try these troubleshooting tips:

  • Restart your tablet. Sometimes that’s all it takes for the tablet to wake up feeling renewed and ready to tackle an Internet connection.

  • If you’re connecting to a wireless network for the first time, reenter the password to make sure you’ve entered it correctly.

  • If you’re within range of your wireless router, unplug the router, wait 30 seconds, and then plug it in again. Wait 30 more seconds, and then try to reconnect.

How to return Internet Explorer to default status

Lots of nasties try to latch onto Internet Explorer, adding unwanted toolbars, changing your Home page, or sending barrages of pop-up ads. If Internet Explorer seems to be running out of control, follow these steps to return your browser to out-of-the-box condition:

  1. From the Start screen, tap the Desktop app tile. When the desktop appears, tap the Internet Explorer icon in the screen’s bottom left edge.

  2. When Internet Explorer opens, tap the Settings icon in its upper-right corner. (It looks like a gear.)

  3. Choose Internet Options from the Settings menu.

  4. When the Internet Options window appears, tap the Advanced tab, and then tap the Reset button at the window’s bottom.

    A window appears, reminding you that you’re about to disable all toolbars, add-ons, and Internet Explorer Settings. To delete everything, tap the Delete Personal Settings check box. That erases your history, web form information, and saved passwords.

  5. Tap the Reset button at the confirmation window.

When Internet Explorer finishes restoring itself to like-new condition, restart your tablet to complete the changes.

Turn off a frozen app, program or tablet

You can't hold down the Ctrl+Alt+Del keys on a tablet that lacks a physical keyboard. Instead, hold down the Windows key beneath your tablet’s screen and simultaneously press the tablet’s Power button.

That brings up Windows 8’s Task Manager, which offers these options:

  • Lock: A handy option to choose if you leave your tablet for a few moments, this locks the tablet. To begin working again, you must enter your password.

  • Switch User: Choose this to let another account holder sign in to use the tablet. When they sign back out, your programs and apps remain open, just as you left them.

  • Sign Out: This closes down your apps and programs, signs you out, and leaves you at the sign- on screen for other account holders to use the tablet.

  • Change a Password: Seen only by local account owners, this lets them change (or remove) their existing password.

  • Task Manager: Choose this to see a list of currently running apps and programs. To close a frozen program, hold your finger on its name; when the pop-up menu appears, choose End Task.

If none of these options works, tap the Power icon in the screen’s bottom- right corner. A pop-up menu appears, letting you choose Sleep, Shut Down, or Restart. (If any updates are waiting, you’ll see options to Update and Shutdown/Restart, as well.)

Fix problem apps on your tablet

When an app doesn’t seem to be working correctly anymore, follow these steps to uninstall it, and then reinstall it from the Windows Store. (This works for both free and paid apps; the store remembers your purchase, and lets you download the app again without paying twice.)

  1. From the Start screen, select your problem app’s tile or icon.

    To select an app, drag it down slightly with your finger. A check mark appears by the app, and the App bar appears along the screen’s bottom edge.

  2. Tap the Uninstall icon on the App bar.

    Your tablet uninstalls the app.

  3. Visit the Windows Store and reinstall the app.

    From the Windows Store, slide your down finger down slightly from the screen’s top, and then tap the words Your Apps that appear along the screen’s top edge. Tap the name of your formerly misbehaving app, and then tap the Install button from the App bar along screen’s bottom edge.

Your app reinstalls itself onto your Start screen’s farthest right edge. Hopefully, your app will have enjoyed its vacation and returned in a better mood.

Refresh your tablet

When a tablet that runs Windows RT isn’t working correctly, you can tell it to reinstall its operating system, but save your files. Called Refresh, it’s a quick fix, as you can easily reinstall your apps from the Windows Store. But refreshing poses a problem for tablets running Windows 8:

On tablets running Windows 8, the Refresh feature also removes all of the programs you’ve installed on your Desktop app. Before using the Refresh feature, make sure you have your program’s original installation discs handy, as you will need to reinstall them all.

To Refresh your tablet, follow these steps:

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.

  2. Tap the General section.

  3. In the Refresh Your PC Without Affecting Your Files section, tap the Get Started button.

  4. When your tablet wakes up, you’re left with a few tasks:

    • Visit the PC Settings screen’s Windows Update section and download any waiting updates.

    • Open the Windows Store app and reinstall your apps.

    • On tablets running Windows 8, open the Windows desktop. There, you find a waiting list of your uninstalled desktop programs, along with links to where you can download and reinstall many of them.

Refreshing a tablet that runs Windows RT takes much less time, as you needn’t worry about reinstalling desktop programs. (The Office programs will still be there.)

But when you use Refresh on tablets running Windows 8, the process takes much longer: Tracking down and reinstalling all those desktop programs can be a nightmare.

Reset your tablet

This last-resort option wipes your tablet completely clean, removing everything. When it wakes back up, your tablet behaves like it was just removed from its shiny new box. It’s a drastic measure, but it’s one that always works when your tablet seems beyond repair.

Resetting your tablet is also a good way to restore your tablet to factory conditions before giving it away, either to friends or charity.

Resetting your tablet deletes all of your personal files, apps, desktop programs, and settings. Before resetting, back up any files you don’t want to lose.

To reset your tablet to factory conditions, follow these steps:

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.

  2. Tap the General category.

  3. In the section called Remove Everything and Reinstall Windows, tap Get Started, tap Next, and follow the instructions.

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