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How to Troubleshoot!

Today I got to take a wonderful trip down to Mitchell to work on some computers. It was a short trip, I left a little bit after 10 am and got back shortly after 3pm. While I was in Mitchell, I worked on the computers for Steve’s Repair and Shag, 1490 KORN, Q107 Radio, and Paulson’s Music Center. Sometimes being the ‘tech guy’ isn’t as fun as it used to be.

But while I was there fixing these computers, I remembered from my Hardware class, the proper way to troubleshoot. Thank God too, it sure helped me. You too can use this list to help you troubleshoot computers.


Steps for Troubleshooting a Computer (according to my Hardware class):

1. Interview the User – This is an important step. You can find out what the user did to the computer to make it stop working correctly. Did the user install any virus friendly software? Did the user spill their Venti Extra No Sugar Caramel Macchiato on it? Did the someone or something urinate on it? These are important things to know and can make troubleshooting much easier.

2. Backup the Data – Make sure you get as much information off the machine as possible because you know that as soon as you fix the problem they will be missing all their data. Or, the best solution may just be to format the hard drive and get rid of all of that porn. Either way, you want to have their data backed up so you don’t have to try to recover it.

3. Determine if it is Hardware or Software – If the user found some sweet free software and/or does tend to visit 18+ websites, it is probably software. If someone or something urinated on the computer or it is smoking/on fire, it is probably a hardware issue.

4. Check the Simple Things First – Is the computer connected to power? Is it turned on? Is everything snuggly plugged into the computer? Is there Cheez Whiz all over the keyboard? Is there a small, furry creature living in the computer? These could be the easy fixes for a problem that would otherwise take a long time to figure out.

5. Verify the Fix – Make sure that the problem is actually fixed and that you fixed the problem that the user originally asked you to fix. This is very important that the user is happy with the fix, otherwise they will just call you again.

6. Document the Problem and Fix – Make sure you write down and document every problem and everything you did to fix the problem. This way, when the user downloads Bonzi Buddy or urinates on the machine again, they know how to fix it for themselves. Or in the worst case, if they call you again, you know what the fix to the problem is.


This six step troubleshooting guide will get you through any computer problem you have. Good luck and may the general population stop urinating on their computers!


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