Things to Try Before Calling IT
Overall, people tend to call IT professionals before they try some of the usual problem-solving steps. Many IT problems can be solved quickly and easily with on your own.
When these steps do not work, make sure you have as much information as possible to pass along to an IT professional, so they can quickly resolve your issue. It is also very important to not try and second guess what the problem is actually. To avoid sending the IT person down the wrong path it is best to describe what you need to accomplish, what is your goal. This will help the IT person focus on the right components.
But, before you call for IT Support, here are some of the basic troubleshooting steps you can try that very often resolve common issues. And, keep track of everything you do as it may be useful should you end up calling IT anyway.
Before Calling IT, Try These
Rebooting your computer will resolve a vast majority of problems.
To quote a hilarious television sitcom, The IT Crowd Technician answers the phone, “Hello, IT, have you tried turning it off and on again?” Your technician will surely ask you this question, or some variation of it. You can save them an awkward pause while they wait to see what happens if you do it preemptively. There are two types of reboots: soft and hard. A soft reboot is when you simply Restart your computer. A hard reboot is when you shut down the computer completely and turn the power off (not Sleep mode). You may need to manually push the power button to turn it off, wait 60 seconds, then push it again to turn it back on.
Why is rebooting important? Essentially, sometimes a computer will become too bogged down with things it is trying to do and does not respond properly. It’s a bit like when you walk into a room and forget why. Rebooting gives the computer a fresh task list, possibly shutting down whatever process was causing interference, and may save you an IT phone call.
The Error Message
If you receive an error message, be sure to either write it down, create a screen capture, or if all else fails take a picture of it with your phone. Error messages can sometimes be cryptic, but they can assist you or a technician in determining the nature of the problem.
Is the message reproducible. In other words, can you cause the error to come up by performing the same action or not? If not, it’s still helpful for them to know the exact process that you are going through to get to the spot where problems begin.
Make Sure Everything is On and Plugged In
It’s very easy for hardware components and attachments to come loose or get bumped and turned off. So, before you call IT because your monitor, keyboard, mouse, or printer aren’t working, check all the cords and cables, as well as the power buttons. If you have wireless devices, check the batteries. It will be one of the first things that they will ask you about anyway.
Preventative Programs and Cleanup
Running anti-virus, anti-malware and anti-spyware programs can remove viruses and other harmful programs or files from your computer. You can also run a disk clean-up or defrag program (*If you’re running with a new SSD or Solid-state-drive it is not necessary to run defragmentation programs). Running these programs should help your computer run smoother, quarantine or remove viruses, and can even fix a lot of common problems. You should also clear your browser’s history and temporary files if you are specifically having a problem with your browser or a certain website.
Internet Issues? Restart Everything
If you have problems connecting to the Internet with all of your devices and other staff have the same issue, you can restart your main network devices before calling IT. Restart the modem and firewall/router first. Wait for the modem to completely restart, then restart the firewall/router. Once they are back up try accessing the Internet. Additional items that may need to be restarted would be the wireless access points, switches, and finally computers.
If you have a corporate network or an in-house IT person, it would be best to contact them before switching these things off.
There are all kinds of reasons for the internet to not work: fluctuating signal, electric fluctuation, “noise” on the lines, etc. No matter what the case is though, restarting everything may fix the issue and save you time and a phone call to your support person.
Google the Error Message
Sometimes the simplest problems produce crazy error messages. You may need only to change a printer cartridge or re-install a driver. However, if you still don’t understand what to do after Googling it, or it seems too complicated, you can then call IT.
Be sure that the instructions you find to resolve an issue are ones that you are sure are safe to perform. There are some bad instructions on the web or some instructions may be advanced that require a deeper understanding of their purpose.
Clean Your Computer
If your computer keeps restarting, there could be several reasons for it. One of the most common reasons is dirt and dust that have built up inside it. These days, computers have safeguards that prevent them from overheating, either shutting down or restarting the computer. A thorough cleaning should remove the debris and allow the fan to keep the system cool.
Check if Windows is Updating
Windows will often update itself. After these updates, it is very important to make sure the system is rebooted so all updates apply properly. The system can get bogged down or experience unusual errors after an update and before the system is restarted.
Ctrl+ Alt + Delete
Rather than restarting the computer, this command now presents a few options including starting Task Manager. If a program you are using is frozen (Not Responding) you can end the process, but never end something that you don’t recognize. Ending a necessary process can take a problem from bad to worse in an instant.
These tips may solve your problems altogether, avoiding the necessity of IT calls. But, if you do still have to call, at least you’ll know what the tech support department will need from you, and you’ll have done some of the troubleshooting for them already. This will make the call go much more smoothly, both for you and them, and they’ll surely appreciate it!