Get your computer issue resolved faster… these 8 important details will help identify the problem.
Sometimes computers don’t do what we expect them to do. OK, perhaps more than sometimes. When they don’t, you want to get the problem resolved as quickly as possible. That’s where we, HDF & Associates, come in. We would like to resolve your issue after receiving your first request. This article lists several of the items of information you can provide that will increase our chance of doing so.
Please read through this list. Not every item will apply to each issue, but please review them before contacting us. The more information you can provide, the more directed our efforts will be and the quicker we can resolve your issue.
If you are not a client of HDF & Associates, and are trying to resolve your problem yourself, collecting these details will help you isolate and identify it.
Please do *NOT* force your computer off by pressing and holding the power button
If your computer is “acting up”, please contact us before forcing it off. Doing so can cause data loss and potentially cause corruption in OS files leaving your computer in an unbootable state. While this type of corruption is far less likely than it used to be with previous OS versions, it is still a possibility. Sometimes you will see us force a computer off this way, but only *as a last resort*.
Before you contact us, please:
Have you rebooted your computer?
Rebooting your computer releases resources, clears out memory, and restarts programs. See our article Reboot every couple of days. If you are able to, please reboot your computer before contacting us.
Please describe the problem
Please describe what is happening. We don’t need a thesis, but it helps to get more than “My computer is acting up”, or “It’s making a strange noise”, or “Please check on my Chrome browser”.
Do you have a work-around?
Is there a way for you to get your work done a different way? If Outlook is not working, are you able to access your email through a browser in the meantime, or perhaps on your phone? We support several clients, and we need to prioritize our services. It helps us to know how much this problem is impacting your work. If your company’s server was down, you would rightly be upset to hear that we were busy changing someone else’s Outlook signature.
If there is an error message, please write it down (or take a screenshot)
We often look up error messages, and to make the search more productive, we need to enter the error message verbatim. Better yet, please take a screenshot or a picture with your camera. Then email/text it to us. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
NOTE: When emailing a screenshot, PLEASE attach the picture instead of embedding it. Outlook does not allow us to remove an embedded picture and save the rest of the email. Attached pictures can be removed from an email. This allows us to remove the picture from the email and still save the email for future reference.
When did the problem start?
Did it just start today? Has it been going on for a while? Did it start just after you installed a new program? It would be nice if you could pinpoint it exactly (yesterday at 2:42pm), but we realize that is not usually going to happen. Please try to give us a time frame and/or a particular event which may be associated with it.
Are others having the same problem?
If your emails are getting stuck in your Outbox, please let us know if others in your organization are having the same issue. It will probably be quicker for you to determine this, then if we need to call around to do so, and this information is very important. We will start looking for a solution in very different places if you are the only one facing this issue, than if others in your organization are facing the same issue.
Is it happening on multiple devices/browsers?
Is it happening just on your computer, or is it happening on your other devices as well? If no emails are coming in to Outlook on your computer, have you checked if emails are coming into your email account in your browser? How about on your phone?
If you are having a problem with a website in the Chrome browser, have you tried accessing it with FireFox or Internet Explorer?
If the problem is happening with all of your devices, we will start looking for a problem with
your account on the email server. If the problem is only happening with your Outlook, we may need to remote into your computer to look for a problem with your Outlook.
Is it intermittent? / Can you reproduce the problem?
Does the error happen every single time you open a certain program or turn on your computer? Or does it only happen every so often when you do it? Does it happen with certain email messages, but not all of them?
Please be open with us.
Just as you are potentially limiting a doctor’s ability to help you by not telling her about all of your symptoms, we can be more effective if you give us all of the clues you may be aware of. Did you force the computer off last time you closed it down? Did you click on a sketchy email link? Did you install a game from a strange website you found after following several links from a Cat video on YouTube? We have the same goal of resolving your problem in the shortest time possible. Having all of the clues will help us do that.
I was called by a client who said that they were typing and nothing was appearing on their screen. This was many years ago when we didn’t have the remote software we now use, so I hurried into the office. When I arrived, they were just walking out to lunch. I first reproduced the problem by attempting to type on the keyboard with nothing appearing on the screen. As I picked up the keyboard to follow the cord and unplug it from the computer, diet coke poured out of the end… onto the desk and my shoe. I got a laugh out of it, but was confused about why they hadn’t considered it important to tell me about their drinking mishap.
If you have questions about this, please let us know and we will be happy to assist you.