When things go wrong you call your IT guy. Everybody has an IT guy! Whether it be the neighbors kid next door, or your friend from the local college. Here are some ways of making sure your IT guy can do his job as efficiently and fast as possible. When fixing technical issues the most valuable tool is without a doubt information. Knowing what went wrong, what caused it and isolating the faulty component are key issues. You wont know how to fix something unless you know the problem.
- Speak the truth - nobody is judging
The first advice is simple, but overlooked most of the time. Speak the truth.
When i was working tech support i would hear numerous times how things just broke by themselves. When asked what was happening when the computer/Internet stopped working people mostly reply "nothing". Ironically enough we tend to cover up what we were doing in fear of being blamed as the cause of the problem. However when fixing computer problems more information is always better.
- Be precise
When explaining what happened be sure to not only tell the truth, but also be as precise as possible. Try to convey exactly what happened in detail. Make sure you to the best of your knowledge are using the correct terminology. Remember the person on the other end of the phone doesn't necessarily know what you are looking at, and might be confused if you assume prior knowledge. Be explicit with your description, and don't underestimate visual descriptions.
- Keep drivers nearby
New computers and components usually include some driver Cd's and perhaps some manuals. Make sure to keep some sort of organized depository of this information. You never know when you will need it. This includes stuff like drivers, manuals, licenses, warranties and program discs.
- Keep backups handy
You have heard you should make regular scheduled backups a million times. But for most people it will not be a reality untill they actually loose some important data. Prevent the problem, but making sure your backups are as up to date as possible. Having backups ready when help arrives also helps prevent a major re-format to fix the issue. And in the worst case you will loose very little data and be up and running much faster. So do backups! now!
What to do when things go wrong
First off you might want to contact your IT guy to get some help. Help the process by having as much information ready as possible. This includes exactly what you were doing when the problem occurred, what happened in detail and what the situation is now. In some cases it can avoid a visit if the problem could be solved over the phone. Should the problem be bigger than something solvable over the phone use the time before help arrives to get out your repository of drivers, software and licenses. Make sure everything is ready, and in worst case scenario make sure the computer is accessible. This means cleaning out any clutter under the desk so you can get to check cables during troubleshooting. Also make sure any tools that might be necessary are available before help arrives.
Turn the frown upside down
When things go horrible wrong learn from the situation. I sucks if you loose some data, pictures and whatever you might not have backups from. But instead of being depressed about the lost items make sure the situation never repeats itself. Plan out some backup solution. Put dates into your calender for when you need to make your next backup to help you actually keep updating the backup. If you haven't already done so, gather up all your drivers and software and keep it in some easy to reach location making a possible re-installation later on much easier and stress-free.
Got any tips on how to get help the best way, or more effeciently when computers go down let the readers know in the comments 😉