PC problems? Troubleshoot them in 10 steps

PC problems? Troubleshoot them in 10 steps

Summary: Being methodical when you troubleshoot PC issues can save time and frustration — and it also gets users back to work more quickly, says Jack Wallen


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  • Deal with networking trauma

    4. Diagnose printing woes
    Printers can be tricky. But there are ways of simplifying this troubleshooting job. First, find out what type of printer you're dealing with. If the printer is networked, ensure the network is actually up. If it is, ask whether other machines can print to the printer in question. If they can, check whether any jobs are stuck in the machine's printer queue.

    If you open the Printers And Devices window and the printer is not listed, find out if it recently disappeared. If it did, the driver is probably corrupt and will need to be removed from within Regedit. If the printer is still listed and no jobs are in the queue, ask the user to restart the machine and then try to print. A good restart cures many woes in Windows.

  • Safe mode of computer

    5. Deal with networking trauma
    Can the user see the internal servers? If not, can they open their browser and see Google.com? If not, this situation becomes a challenge, as it eliminates the option of remote troubleshooting. But never fear, help is near. I start by walking the user through rebooting the machine and starting in safe mode. Usually, if there isn't an actual hardware issue, safe mode will circumvent the problems that are keeping the machine from getting online. Once in safe mode, let the fun begin.

    Of course, if no one can get online, the first thing to be done is power-cycling the router, modem or switch hardware. If that fails, there is always DNS to troubleshoot. But that gets beyond standard triage — as it will often lead you away from the client machine and to a DNS server issue.

    Image credit: Justin Marty/Flickr

  • Resolve login issues

    6. Resolve login issues
    How often do you hear users complaining that they can't log in to their computer. Have they forgotten their password? Is the machine on a domain? If it's on a domain, is the machine online? There are so many potential problems, that it's often hard to know where to start.

    But here's the first thing you should do. If the user is on a domain and you have access to their Active Directory server, try to log in to that server with his or her credentials. If you can do that, the issue has been narrowed to either the network connection or the manner in which the user is logging in. Sometimes users think they are logging in to a domain, but are just logging in to their local machine.

Topic: Apps

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