Computer Troubleshooting


Computer Troubleshooting, Computer Maintenance

  • See Also
  1. Computer Printer (for printer troubleshooting)
  • Precautions
  1. Unplug system when working on internal hardware
  2. Use anti-static wrist band
  • Approach
  • Physical Tools
  1. See Wired Connection Interface for ethernet related tools
  2. See Wireless Connection Interface for Wi-Fi and other Wireless Utilities
  3. See Computer Network for software utilities
  4. Safety
    1. Anti-static wrist band
    2. Class C Fire extinguisher (for electrical fires) - know location
  5. General repair kit tools
    1. Computer repair kit (various models)
      1. Includes screw driver set (e.g. ProTech)
        1. Includes phillips head, jewelers set, Torx security driver
      2. Demagnetizing block
    2. Universal, All-in-one multi-card readers (e.g. SD, micro-SD, mini-SD)
    3. Multimeter (voltage, current resistance)
    4. External drive enclosure (laptop and desktop sizes with USB and SATA interfaces)
      1. Allows removal of internal drive and clone to another drive
    5. Network Testing
      1. See Wired Connection Interface
      2. Tone Generator and Cable Tracer Probe
      3. Cable Tester (e.g. Fluke Networks)
      4. Loopback Plug
  6. Specific hardware testing tools (devices used by computer repair shops)
    1. Power Supply Tester
    2. RAM Tester (expensive)
    3. Storage device Tester (e.g. hard disk)
      1. Clone problematic hard disk and work with the data on the cloned device
    4. Power On Self Test (POST) Card (inexpensive)
      1. Allows testing of motherboard without other components installed
  • Approach
  • Software Tools or Utilities
  1. System Tools
    1. Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack - Diagnostic and Recovery Toolset (DART Tools)
      1. Suite of diagnostic tools available to Microsoft enterprise customers
    2. Hiren's BootCD
      1. Boot environment allowing for troubleshooting
      2. Use only the freeware and shareware integrated tools
  2. Testing Firewall
    1. Shields Up
      2. Tests ports as well as UPnP settings
  3. Startup Utilities
    1. MsConfig
      1. Check startup applications (any unsigned, potential malware?)
      2. Set-up diagnostic reboot (and also allow more time to press F8 on boot-up)
    2. Services.msc
      1. Review all services
    3. Device Manager (DevMgmt.msc)
    4. Task manager
    5. Autoruns
      1. Microsoft utility (download from Technet)
      2. Visualize all start-ups and plug-ins on system
    6. Windows Re-boot setting in windows
      1. From the start screen, click the power button, then Shift-Click the restart button
      2. Click Troubleshoot => Advanced Options => Start-up Settings => Restart
    7. Windows Safe Mode (safest without networking)
      1. Used for evaluating a malware infected system, troubleshooting video problems
  • Approach
  • Troubleshooting Model (CompTia)
  1. Identify the problem (from affected end-users)
    1. Specific problem (circumstances to reproduce)
    2. Onset of problem and what system changes preceded the problem
  2. Establish the probable cause (root cause analysis)
    1. Consider simple layer 1 problems (e.g. ethernet cables and connections)
    2. Consider hardware versus software issue
  3. Test the theory (reproduce the problem)
    1. Consider split-half approach (e.g. test hardware in another PC and if works, then problem is with software)
    2. Methodically test one item at a time (instead of shotgun approach)
  4. Establish plan and implement solution
    1. Keep in mind customer service agreements and established maintenance windows when planning disruptive solutions
    2. Predict downtime to allow users to plan appropriately
    3. Make only one change at a time
    4. Escalate as needed to a higher level
  5. Verify fix and take preventive measures
    1. Confirm the system work on both your own test as well as for end-user
  6. Document findings, actions taken and outcomes
    1. Often recorded in trouble ticket database
  7. References
    1. Warner (2015) CompTIA A+, Pluralsight
  • References
  1. Warner (2015) CompTIA A+, Pluralsight