Tech Tips Home
The Best Tech Tips And Daily Deals
Newsletter On The Internet!

WorldStart Tech Tip And Store Search
Email: Password: Login Remember Me

Like what you see here? Subscribe to the Tech Tips newsletter!   Email: Subscribe

Is It Plugged In? Is It Turned On? Two Time-Saving Questions To Ask

Monday, February 4th, 2013 by | Filed Under: Hardware & Peripherals, TV Tech

Is it plugged in? Is It Turned On?

Many years ago, a wise engineer gave me the best tech-support advice I’ve ever received.  He said that if something isn’t working, always ask yourself two things: “Is it plugged in? Is it turned on?”

This sounds ridiculously simple, but in the course of a career spent surrounded by computers and other highly technical and infuriating equipment, I’ve found it to be the most useful piece of advice I’ve ever received.

First of all, is it plugged in? Check to make sure the plug is actually securely plugged into the wall or power strip. A few days ago I was staring at my electric kettle wondering why it refused to boil and realized that I had plugged in my coffee grinder instead.  If you are plugged in, make sure the power strip or outlet is turned on. If it’s turned on, double-check to make sure it is functioning. Outlets break just like anything else.  If your device uses batteries, make sure they are properly placed and working. Even if you’ve replaced them recently, try a fresh set and see if that makes a difference.

Power cords aren’t the only things that come unplugged. If your device has cables of any kind, make sure everything is securely in place. Sometimes cables to a monitor, modem or headphones can work loose.

Is it turned on?  Don’t take this as an insult. I’ve seen an engineer with a master’s degree struggling to figure out why something wouldn’t work for half an hour before realizing he’d neglected to flip the on-switch for a server.  On/off switches are not always clearly marked or conveniently placed and it can sometimes be difficult to tell if something is powered on or off.

Hopefully, these two simple questions can save you a lot of trouble when dealing with electronic devices.

Tags: , , , ,

4 Responses to “Is It Plugged In? Is It Turned On? Two Time-Saving Questions To Ask”

  1. seymour says:

    only because you’re showing a power bar, might I plead and beg you to use your market influence to persuade power bar makers:
    please put the on/off switch at the furthest end from the power cord!
    If it’s on the desk, with all my peripherals plugged in, the power cord runs out the back to the wall, the plug ins go everywhere, but give me the power switch closest to me.
    If it’s on the floor, it probably doesn’t matter.
    In fact, I can’t think of many circumstances (any?) where my life is improved by grouping the power switch at the same end of the power bar as the power cord.

  2. Jadesqr says:

    Hey Cynthia, May I add the ‘Third Most-Important Question;
    Is the APC tripped? As more experienced users may have experienced, the ‘Computer Plug’ is always in the outlet closest to the power source, never in a power strip. Always suggest an ‘APC’ as power interruptions can happen at anytime. Only suggested, but always worked best fo me!

  3. Ron MVP says:

    As well as “is it plugged in” or “Is the power on” another related check you only breezed by is “is the plug properly seated”.

    If you figure out the power is not working, also unplug and plug back in BOTH ends of the cord to make sure it is seated properly. Often the cord will be pulled only part way out, so it is only “loosely plugged in”. Reseating the cord often helps.

    If the power is working, but your computer (or other device) is not working properly, the next step is to “recycle” the power. Shut the device down, restart the computer, turn the power Off and On. Often simply simply running through a power off and on cycle will fix miscellaneous “strange” problems.

  4. Doug says:

    Cynthia, I have the Tee Shirt. I’ve been bitten more than once..

Leave a Reply

Like these tips? Get them for FREE in your email!

WorldStart's Tech Tips Newsletter

  • Tech Tips Daily - Become a tech pro! Get the very best tech and computer help sent directly to your email every weekday!

  • Tech Tips Weekly - If you don't want our Tech Tips newsletter every day, then sign up for this weekly newsletter to get the best information of the week. Sent on Fridays.

Other Newsletters

  • WorldStart's Daily Deals - Every week, we send out great deals in our Daily Deals newsletter. Many of these deals are exclusively for our Daily Deals newsletter subscribers and can't be found with our regular specials.

  • Just For Grins - Each issue includes a couple clean jokes, some funny quotes, and a hilarious reader's story. Newsletter is sent five days a week.

Enter Email Address:


Your e-mail address is safe with us!
We only use it to send you the newsletters you request. It is NEVER disclosed to a third party for any reason, ever! Plus, if you decided you don't like our newsletters (don't worry, you'll love them), unsubscribing is fast and easy.

Free Newsletter Signup

Tech Tips Daily

Become a tech pro! Get the very best tech and computer help sent directly to your email every weekday!

Tech Tips Weekly

The week's best in tech and computer help. Get your issue sent to your email every Friday!

WorldStart's Daily Deals

The very best deals on the Internet! Get a new set of incredible sales every day of the week!

Just For Grins

Clean jokes, funny quotes, and hilarious comics. Sent 5 times a week straight to your email.


Love Worldstart? Refer A Friend!

WorldStart's Premium Membership

Tip Archive