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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  • 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.

  • Troubleshoot specific software

    7. Troubleshoot specific software
    Sometimes, a single piece of software is the cause of the user's problems, which in turn becomes the source of the support specialist's grief — especially if it's a niche piece of software.

    The first thing I'd do in such a case is double check to ensure the issue is, in fact, limited to one particular app. If the problem is network related and all other applications can get online, the issue is probably limited to the one piece of software. If so, and the software depends on a network connection, ensure neither the firewall nor the antivirus software has started blocking the software from getting packets in or out. Once I have discovered the problem is restricted to a single piece of software, often a repair install will solve the issue.

    Image credit: dissolved/Flickr

Topic: Apps

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