Section 2 - Troubleshooting, Repair, and Maintenance


SubSection 2.01 - Troubleshooting Theory

Troubleshooting Models

  • Troubleshooting

    • Process of determining the cause of, and ultimately the solution of, a problem
    • By applying a logical, consistent method to the troubleshooting process, you make your job easier and shorten the time it takes to discover the root of a problem
  • Models of Troubleshooting PC hardware problems:

    • Basic troubleshooting theory

      • Stages:
        • Back up data
          • If the changes you plan to make might make the data on the system inaccessible, back up data before making any changes.
        • Divide and analyze
          • Assess the problem systematically. If it's a large or widespread problem, divide it into smaller components to be analyzed individually.
        • Verify
          • Verify all aspects of the problem. Be sure not to overlook the obvious problems. Determine whether the problem is something simple. Remember never to make assumptions.
        • Research
          • Research ideas about possible solutions to the problems. Establish priorities for resolving the problem.
        • Document
          • Document your findings. These include the actions you take and the outcomes of your actions, both for those solutions that worked and for those that didn't work.
    • CompTIA A+ Troubleshooting Model

      • Used to apply basic diagnostic procedures and troubleshooting techniques.
      • Stages:
        • Identify the problem
          • Identify the problem by questioning the user and determining any changes the user has made to the computer. Perform a backup before making any changes on the system.
        • Establish a theory of probable cause
          • Analyze the problem, including potential causes, so you can establish a theory of probably cause. You can then make an initial determination of whether the problem is software- and/or hardware-related.
        • Test the theory to determine actual cause
          • Test components related to the problem. This process includes inspecting components for obvious things, such as connections and power being connected and turned on, proper hardware and/or software configurations, and indications of conflicts or problems in Device Manager. Also, consult vendor documentation for descriptions of status lights and other indicators.
        • Create a plan of action
          • Create a plan to resolve the problem and implement the solution. You might need to include other professionals, such as your company's network technician, to get assistance in implementing the resolution.
        • Verify the results
          • Verify the results, and if necessary, take additional steps to correct the problem. Additional steps might include consulting with other professionals or the vendor, using alternative resources, and reviewing equipment manuals. Once you've established full system functionality, you need to implement applicable preventive measures to prevent the problem from reoccurring.
        • Document resolution
          • Document the actions you took to correct the problem, as well as the outcomes of those actions.
    • CompTIA Network+ Troubleshooting Model

      • Used for network technicians and computer repair
      • Stages:
        • Identify the exact issue
          • Ask the customer open-ended questions to determine the precise nature of the problem.
        • Re-create the problem
          • Have the customer repeat the action or demonstrate the problem. As an alternative to the customer repeating the action, you can follow the steps to re-create the problem.
        • Isolate the cause
          • Eliminate factors that are obviously not part of the problem. Then, starting with the most likely cause of the problem, begin to identify the cause.
        • Formulate a correction
          • Determine one or more solutions to the cause that you've identified.
        • Implement the correction
          • If implementing the correction doesn't solve the customer's problem, undo any changes you made. Then, working with the next most likely cause, formulate a correction and implement it.
        • Test the solution
          • Make sure that your solution actually fixed the problem. Verify that the user agrees that you've fixed his or her problem and that the solution hasn't caused other problems.
        • Document the problem and solution
          • Create a detailed record of the problem and eventual solution. You'll be able to use this documentation in future troubleshooting situations.
        • Provide feedback
          • Based on your assessment of the customer's interest and technical understanding, describe to him or her the exact cause of and solution to the problem.
    • Novell Troubleshooting Model

      • Novell, the maker of the popular Open Enterprise Server network operating system, publishes a troubleshooting model for network technicians to troubleshooting PC hardware problems.
      • Stages:
        • Try some quick, obvious fixes
          • Some obvious fixes might include making sure the computer or peripheral is plugged in and turned on, the user is performing the procedure correctly, and so forth.
        • Gather basic information
          • Determine the exact symptoms of the problem. Determine whether the system worked correctly before, and if so, what has changed. Check to see if other users are having the same problem.
        • Develop a plan
          • Use the information you've gathered to determine a plan for isolating and correcting the problem. Prioritize possible solutions and begin with the most likely solution. Document your plan for future reference.
        • Execute your plan
          • Follow the plan you've developed. Make one change at a time, testing after each change. If it doesn't solve the problem, undo your changes before attempting a new solution. Document your changes so that you can either undo them or repeat them in the future with similar problems.
        • Verify user satisfaction
          • The problem isn't truly solved until the customer is satisfied. Make sure the customer agrees that your solution actually fixed the problem.
        • Document the problem and solution
          • Record the exact symptoms and solution to the problem. Formulate a plan to prevent future, similar problems.
    • ASID Troubleshooting Model

      • Four-stage process:
        • Acquire- Acquire information about the problem
          • Elicit symptoms of the problem from the user
          • Have the user repeat the activity that caused the problem to reproduce the error for you. Document the exact steps that caused the problem.
          • Identify any recent changes to the computer and its configuration.
          • Document any error codes reported by the system.
          • Check Event Viewer for any recorded problems.
          • Place Dr. Watson in the Startup group to log any future occurrences of the problem.
        • Simplify- Remove any non-critical components
          • Process:
            • You remove any non-critical components
            • Shut down unnecessary running programs
            • Disconnect from the Internet or network
          • If the problem goes away, its cause lies with one of the components you removed.
          • If the problem doesn't go away, then you have simplified the system, which makes troubleshooting easier.
        • Implement- Identify and implement potential solutions one at a time
          • Check reference materials for potential solutions.
          • Resources include:
            • User and installation manuals and product documentation
            • Internet and Web resources
              • Manufacturers' Web sites
              • User's forums
            • Training materials
          • Make sure to document any changes you make on the system.
          • If a particular change doesn't fix the problem, undo your change and try another solution.
        • Document- Document the problem and its resolution
          • Occurs throughout the other stages and finishes after you have a resolution to the problem.
          • Document:
            • The error symptoms
            • The components you removed from the computer
            • The potential solutions you tried and whether they were successful