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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TOPICS: Apps
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  • 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

  • Look for virus issues

    8. Look for virus issues
    I find that 50 percent of support calls turn out to be caused by viruses. Since viruses display a variety of symptoms, how can you quickly determine whether a virus is the cause? I know support techs who have spent hours trying to track down a virus on a machine that wasn't actually infected.

    There are a few questions I like to ask. The first is, "What behaviour is your computer displaying that makes you believe it has a virus?" The answer to that question will dictate where you go from there. Other questions to ask are:

    • Has your computer drastically slowed down recently?
    • Are strange or unwanted pop-up windows appearing at random times?
    • Were you recently on a website you don't normally visit?
    • Did someone else use your machine?
    • Did you recently open an email attachment?
    • Has a strange security window recently started popping up?

    These questions will guide you in the right direction in diagnosing a virus infection.

    Image credit: talksrealfast/Flickr

Topic: Apps

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