IT specialists need to be adept at troubleshooting. A lot of our time is spent trying to figure out why something that should work, doesn’t. There’s no escaping it! A large part of our ability to identify and resolve computing and infrastructure problems is due to our extensive expertise in the field. But there is a framework that helps us uncover the answers we are looking for.”
While none of this knowledge is exclusive to CompTIA, the CompTIA A+ troubleshooting model may be found in almost every CompTIA certification. This problem-solving approach has evolved through time as a result of the collective wisdom of the IT industry, and it may be used by those just entering the field.
Consider CompTIA A+ in case you’re new to IT and troubleshooting and want to get your foot in the door to a prosperous IT profession. The scientific approach may be compared to the CompTIA troubleshooting technique in various aspects. Below are CompTIA A+ troubleshooting steps that IT professionals use to discover and implement a solution to an issue.
Identify the issue (If any)
The first phase is generally the simplest: determining the subject. Incoming phone calls from users, technical support tickets, emails, log file entries, and other methods may all be used to do this. It’s not unusual for clients to raise the issue with you.
For certain problems, it’s necessary to acknowledge that their core causes will not always be obvious. It’s possible that a failed log-in effort isn’t due to a mistyped username or password but rather to a poor network connection that prevents the authentication information from being validated against a distant server. After determining the underlying reason for an issue, programming errors, or service outage, we must be very cautious about making any adjustments.
Begin by compiling a list of pertinent facts. Log files produced by the operating system might provide some of the information you require. You may also see whether the device’s settings have changed from the factory defaults. The following are other methods of collecting data:
- Logs from a computer’s network
- To show the quantity of RAM and the page number produced (laser), the printer performs a self-test (laser or inkjet)
- Current BIOS/firmware configurations
- Data about the hardware and Windows updates that have been installed
- If it’s required, repeat the issue.
Please be as specific as possible so that we can reproduce the issue. Use the same files and output devices that were previously used to do the same activities. Keep track of any error messages or dialog boxes that appear. Problems and dialogs may be captured using the screen capture tool.
You may want to follow up with the person(s) who reported the issue(s) to learn more about what’s going on. Some users may be afraid to call for help because they think they may have done something they weren’t meant to. Make it clear to them that you have been only there to assist them in resolving their problem with the network and/or their device. In order to form a strong friendship, you should:
- As far as possible, refrain from using colloquial slang or acronyms.
- Possess a confident demeanor and an optimistic outlook
- Avoid interrupting the user/customer by actively listening (taking notes)
- The consumer is not to be judged.
- Avoid getting into a fight with the client.
- Printouts and other personal or commercial things should be handled with care.
- Be mindful of how you use your smartphone while you’re in the presence of a client.
- Take a look at the symptoms
As you’re chatting with consumers, you should also be looking out for signs of trouble. Among the probable signs and symptoms are:
- The computer is making so much noise.
- An odor that may be enhanced by the presence of smoke or gasses.
- Errors that were not foreseen
- Signs indicate a power outage, such as flickering lights.
- The slower-than-usual reaction time of the system
- Access to network resources is unavailable.
- A blank screen appears while running the software.
Determine if anything has changed
Look for any alterations (device settings, upgraded hardware, updated operating system or app, cables, etc). The modification may be the cause of the problem you’re seeking to solve. There are a few methods to tell whether anything has changed:
- Re-examine the records of software and operating system upgrades
- You may check out how things are set up on your phone by comparing it to the device’s default settings.
- Examine the most recent driver versions and the date of their last update.
- Scans for malware and viruses should be reviewed.
- Take a look at the network change logs
- Any device or peripheral cable that is not attached to its designated port should be checked for any disconnections or reconnections.
- Inquire about the status of hardware improvements in the IT department.
- Verify and upgrade Basic input/output firmware
- Find out what applications and applications have recently been installed.
- Inquire as to whether or not new hardware has just been introduced.
- Check if any applications or applications have been recently implemented
- Check to see if there have been any recent modifications to the database (new tables, new data, new queries, old data removed, etc)
Take a multi-problem approach individually
It’s possible that many issues stem from a specific subject, including a problem with the network, but until you know with certainty, it’s better to focus on one issue at a time.
Research knowledge base
When it comes to troubleshooting, your buddies are the source of information and the internet. You may choose to begin your investigation with the company’s own repository of information if one exists. Do some research on google assuming you don’t know what to look for. The following are things to bear in mind while you’re looking for probable explanations:
Prior to heading to a specific vendor’s web page to search, consider browsing the internet for signs of the issue you have been experiencing.
- Terms that describe a patient’s symptoms or issues should be used
- In your search, be sure to mention the brand, model, and version of the operating system you’re looking for.
- In case numerous solutions are offered, pay attention to the dates of the recommended solutions, since fresher options may be more effective than older answers.
- It’s important to take note of the operating system or app version since the same fix may work with an earlier or more recent version.
- Make sure you give the proper version for programs that have cloud or local/network versions.
Identify the theory of probable cause
Now that you’ve done your best to find answers and identify possible causes, it’s time to put together a hypothesis of the likely cause.
Carefully consider the obvious
An obvious fix may sometimes be overlooked in favor of a far more straightforward one. Calling the help desk to report that their screen has gone dark is one illustration of this. You’re here to look into the matter. You discover that the monitor’s power lights aren’t working when you’re looking into the problem. Your display’s power wire is visible behind it when you peek around the back of it. It turns out that the power cable is not plugged into the wall socket when you follow it to the outlet.
After that, you let the recipient enter that the screen wasn’t connected to the power source. Next, the individual claims to have kicked something beneath the desk accidentally, which turned out to be the power wire from the socket. After that, reconnect the power wire to the wall and apply zip ties to bind it to the desk so that the user cannot unintentionally kick it again.
Choose a variety of alternatives
Keep It Simple Stupid (K.I.S.S.) is a mantra you should repeat to no one but yourself. You should always go with a strategy that is as straightforward as possible, even when there are other options available. Simply replace the keyboard with another one so that the user may continue with their job instead of you having to dismantle keys to get rid of the stickiness, for example.
Divide and conquer
Components and their many subsystems may sometimes be the source of issues. Consider the case of a printer. There are several components associated with the printer that might fail before a document is produced after the print switch is clicked. Subsystems for publishing have included the driver software (in the operating system), USB connection between the print device and computer (and USB port), and program (printer driver). Everything here is a risk.
To begin, examine whether the printer is switched on and if ink and toner are present. If not, then that might be the issue. Even if it doesn’t, make absolutely sure the machine and user’s USB cables are inserted into the right ports. Then try a different print subsystem until you find the culprit. Divide and conquer” is a strategy for finding and solving issues in a methodical way.
Test the CompTIA A+ Troubleshooting Theory to find out the cause
Once you’ve demonstrated reasonable suspicion, it’s an opportunity to check a hypothesis to see whether it really is the reason for the problem. Modify what you believe is generating the issue to see whether your idea holds up. Here are a few concrete examples:
- Update device drivers
- Allow the computer system to restart the gadget once it has been uninstalled.
- Change a cable.
- A USB device may be moved to another port.
- Updating the version of windows is a must.
- Update the applications that you use.
- Retest the system after each and every modification you make to ensure that the issue has been resolved.
In addition, assuming your initial adjustment doesn’t fix the issue, you won’t be capable of restoring the system’s former state if you didn’t capture the existing hardware & software arrangement.
In case the theory is already confirmed, find out the following steps to handle the issues
If your hypothesis is correct, now is the time to find a solution. A few samples from the preceding section are provided below.
- Device drivers may be updated: Make advantage of the newer driver versions.
- The device may be uninstalled and the operating system reinstalled: Keep using the gadget if it’s working now.
- Simply swap out the cable. Continue to utilize the replacement cable if it isn’t required elsewhere.
- Changing the location of a USB device: There may be a requirement to change the USB port host device (such as a card or motherboard) if the USB device now functions.
- Updating the operating system requires the following steps: If updating the operating system addresses the problem, prepare to apply the solution to additional systems that are experiencing the issue.
- Updates for applications may be installed: If app updates fix the issue, prepare to apply the solution to additional impacted systems.
In case the theory has not already been confirmed, find out a new theory
Developing and testing a new hypothesis should be your next step if you find that your original idea does not hold up to scrutiny. If you are sure that your hypothesis is accurate and that you have identified the proper malfunctioning subsystem, proceed to the next phase in the testing procedure.
Even if you remove a USB cable from a program’s USB connection and insert it into a system with a USB port that’s identical to the one you’re having issues with, you may not have a problem with that USB cable, but with the USB port itself. Damaged contact pins or accumulation of dirt in the port might be to blame for some of the problems. There are no dirt or broken pins just inside the Docking station, thus your next step may be to raise your issue with a higher layer of customer service.
Establish a plan of action
When the issue has been recognized and a resolution has been found, the next step is to devise a plan of action to fix the issue and assess the possible consequences. A malware epidemic may be controlled in the following ways:
- Recognize and investigate the signs of contamination
- Limit access to compromised computers.
- Disable the ability to restore the installation (in Windows)
- Infectious systems should be remedied.
- Anti-malware technology should be updated.
- Scan and employ removal methods to get rid of the unwanted material (safe mode, pre-installation environment)
- Scans and upgrades may be scheduled to run at certain times.
- Establish a restoration point by enabling recovery software and making a backup (in Windows)
- User education is key.
Implement the final solution
During a previous round of troubleshooting, I noticed a snag just about this point. A printer wasn’t functioning, therefore the person in issue was summoned to inspect. In his office, he was surprised to find it unplugged when he arrived. There was a brief moment of frustration before he left the room. The printer was stuck and the users had disconnected it while trying to rectify the jam, which he did not understand. Instead of checking for functioning, the engineer just left.
To the extent feasible, let the people who use the technology access the system. Their knowledge of how the system should work and their ability to make sure that it meets their unique needs are invaluable assets. You may need to apply the repair to many servers or other equipment, depending on the circumstances. You may have to update the drivers on numerous servers that use the same equipment once you uncover an issue with one of its drivers. If you’re in charge of carrying out the strategy, make sure you do it meticulously.
Take note of any flaws in the strategy or any other issues you come across throughout the execution of the plan. Let someone else handle it if you are not accountable for putting it into practice.
Check the system’s full capabilities
The following stage is to verify that the system, peripheral, or device truly accomplishes what it is meant to do once you have implemented the solution. The following is an example of a test of the whole system:
- Open a folder, then a file, after connecting to a WiFi network.
- A news aggregator, for example, maybe accessed over the internet and seen.
- Utilize a local printer as an output device.
- All network printers may be used to print.
- Make changes to an existing file and save it with a new name.
- Scan a piece of paper or a picture.
- Make a backup copy of a file to your USB flash drive.
- Make a backup copy of your data on a CD.
- Add a second monitor to the workspace or mirror two screens (depending on task requirements).
- A mouse or pointing device may be used to scroll across a page.
- When using a touchscreen to zoom in on a website, just pinch the site to do so.
- Make a copy of your data.
- Update your operating system or application.
- Use an app as you usually would (open, edit, save data, close app).
When it comes to IT issues, you’re likely to run into the same ones again and time again. While it’s tempting to tackle each problem as if it’s your initial time encountering it, the ideal strategy is to keep track of the solutions you come up with and the things you’ve learned along the way so that you can go back to them in the future when you run across similar issues. Don’t forget to include any images or screenshots that can assist you or others in the future solve similar issues. IT issues may be solved much more easily if there are thorough methods available.
Remember: Keep it simple
Nevertheless, this approach of troubleshooting is really just meant to serve as a reference. As you get more expertise in a particular distributed system, you’ll be better equipped to forecast the most probable sources of problems. As a supportive employee, I’d want to share one piece of advice with the next generation: to keep things simple from the beginning. Checklists for troubleshooting are a common feature of my courses.
- Is it connected to anything?
- Are you sure it’s turned on?
- Is it working now?
While this may sound trite and unsophisticated, the actions listed above are important. These three stages, however, aren’t the true lesson, and also how to start basic and work your way up. The troubleshooting approach does not take into account the passage of time. Your work will often be constrained by service level agreements, regulatory constraints, or security needs.
You must be able to effectively complete the aforementioned tasks in these instances. Using a systematic approach to troubleshooting will help you locate and fix the system and network problems more quickly and consistently. For your support workers, I highly recommend that you codify this approach.
Above is all the information associated with the CompTIA A+ troubleshooting model, which can do wonders for your process of studying and preparing for the CompTIA A+ certification exam. We hope that via this CompTIA A+ troubleshooting methodology, you can ace your exam. Good luck!
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