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PC problems are a fact of life. Hardware, software or user error may be the cause, but so many things can go wrong that it's often difficult to know where to start the diagnosis.
I do a lot of remote support, so I've had to learn how to troubleshoot an ailing PC without being in front of the patient. Of course, everyone has a preferred method, but I thought I'd set out the steps I like to follow. This is what I do from the first call from the user. In this gallery, TechRepublic's Jack Wallen gives his best advice on where to start. Happy hunting.
1. Describe the problem
Before jumping onto the PC, I gather as much information as possible. I get the user to describe what's happening, when it started and whether any incident coincided with the onset of the problem. Often, this information gathering leads straight to the solution. Even better, it sometimes lets you know that a reboot is all that's needed to solve the problem.