Troubleshooting Basics


It is broken!

And to fix it, you will need...

The goal of these articles is to help you find and fix the problem that you are having. In these articles, I am going to be using the pronouns like "we" and "us" because, at the end of the day, your problem is our problem and we both want to see it fixed.

A Lot of Patience and Determination

Having worked as both a mechanic and now as a computer tech, I can attest to patience and determination being one of most needed characteristics of a troubleshooter. There are many times that finding and resolving the problem is easy. But then there are the times it takes many hours of trying to get to the root of the problem.

If we are going to be successful, we are going to have to be willing to try and try and try again.

A Process of Elimination

Troubleshooting is the process of narrowing down the areas in which the problem may lie until you find the problem. To be able to do that, we will find that it usually works best to understand how the pieces of the system are put together. As we look at finding the problem, I will be giving a simple description (usually non-technical) of what we are planning to do and then giving the technical steps to do.

A System for Recording Actions

As we work through these steps, keeping track of what we did, what we saw, and what happened are very important for two reasons.

Keeping a record of what we are doing is not hard; it just demands being disciplined. It means writing down exactly...

If we have pictures or screenshots to add to this record, great.

Attention to Detail

There are many times that I answer a telephone call and the caller makes the statement, "It just quit." Or "It's not working." When that happens, I just start asking questions...

And the list could go on for a long time, but what I am after is a story that may give us some clues on what may be the cause of the problem. As technicians, it is quicker and easier for us to cross out unnecessary information than it is for us to figure out the correct question to ask next or what move to make next.

Pay attention to...

But it still is broken!