Section 2.1: The Basics of Troubleshooting

The key to effective troubleshooting is to follow a logical and well-ordered approach to reach out to the root cause of the problem.

1. Identify the problem: This step takes you to the root of the problem and ensures that you actually fix the real problem instead of just fixing one or two of its symptoms. The problem can be identified by questioning the user about the problem. You can ask the user about the problem, the symptoms of the problem, what was changed since the last time when problem was not seen and so on.

2. Analyze the problem: The problem can be analyzed by considering all the potential causes of the problem. When in doubt, you should not make assumptions rather you should confirm your information. You should then gather all the data and determine whether the problem is related to the software or the hardware. Finally, you can decide on the appropriate course of action on the basis of the problem.

3. Conduct tests: After analyzing the problem, it is now time to implement your plan of action. Conduct tests on related components such as hardware connections and software configurations. Do not test too many components together. Conduct just one test at a time. Use all possible tools that are available to you. Try to get hold of manuals, go to websites, look for forums, and find people who have experienced the same problem to resolve the problem. If the theory that you had come up with is confirmed then come up with the next steps else come up with a new theory and bring in someone who is more experienced.

4. Evaluate the results: Next you should evaluate the results and take any additional steps to solve the problem. It might happen that the problem can be caused by more than one reason. In that case, solve all the problems one by one.

5. Verify the system: Once the problem is solved you must verify that the system is fully functional. If you feel a requirement to use preventive measures to stop the occurring of the problem again then take those measures on that computer.

6. Document: The full and final step is documenting all the activities and outcomes. The problem may have undergone a series of fixes and before moving on to another problem, it is important that you close the current problem properly. Documentation should be descriptive and should be signed by responsible parties after completion. This would help in resolving the similar kind of problem quickly.