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Chapter twenty five. Troubleshooting Com... > Basic Troubleshooting Tips

Basic Troubleshooting Tips

No matter what kind of computer-related problem you're experiencing, there are basic steps you should take to track down the cause of the problem (while remembering to stay calm and positive). Several of these steps occur before you even power down.

Check for operator errors—something you've done wrong. Maybe you've clicked the wrong button, or pressed the wrong key, or plugged something into the wrong jack or port. Retrace your steps and try to duplicate your problem. Chances are the problem won't recur if you don't make the same mistake twice.

Check that everything is plugged in to the proper place, and that the PC itself is getting power. Take special care to ensure that all your cables are securely connected—loose connections can cause all sorts of strange results!

Be sure that you have the latest versions installed for all the software on your system. While you're at it, be sure you have the latest versions of device drivers installed for all the peripherals on your system.

Run the appropriate Windows diagnostic tools. If you have them, use third-party tools, as well.

Try to isolate the problem by when and how it occurs. Walk through each step of the startup process to see if you can identify which driver or service might be causing the problem.

If you can't quickly and easily track down the problem, drop back ten and punt—and restore your system to its earlier working condition with the System Restore utility (discussed later in this chapter).

When all else fails, call in professional help. Contact Microsoft's technical support department and tell them about your problem. Use Windows XP's Remote Assistance utility to let a remote technician examine your system. Or just break down and take your machine into the shop. The pros are there for a reason. When you need technical support, go and get it!



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