CompTIA A+ Essentials Certification Exam Tutorial:
The First (And Hardest) Step In Troubleshooting
By Chris Bryant, CCIE #12933
Part of earning your A+ certification is learning as much about network troubleshooting as you can.
Sometimes, being a network troubleshooter is much like being a detective. You're called to a location only when something's wrong, you're expected to immediately know what's going on by everyone who's already there, and the people you talk to at the scene have a tendency to panic and perhaps forget a detail or two when you ask them what happened.
(Network troubleshooters still aren't allowed to take end users to "The Box" the way Frank Pembleton used to, though.)
In all seriousness, troubleshooting is as much about dealing with people as it is dealing with technology, and sometimes people are much harder to deal with! Some of the end users you deal with are going to be incredibly defensive - "I didn't do anything!" and "It was doing that when I got here!" are two phrases you'll hear more than once during your career. When your end user is upset, you've got to be the calming influence.
Depending on your job, you may have contact with your end users in person, via email, or over the telephone. Your main purpose is to find out exactly what happened before the problem occurred and exactly what the problem is.
That's a lot harder when you're not there in person, because you may have to talk a non-technical person through a technical procedure - and that makes that person very nervous, because they're concerned that they're going to make the problem worse. Remember, you know that they're not going to hurt anything by running a Windows diagnostic command, but they don't know that. Be calm and soothing!
When you find out what happened right before things stopped working, you're well on your way to solving the problem. There's one important step you need to take before you actually get the troubleshooting call - and if you're wondering how you can start working on a problem before it happens, you'll find out in the next installment of my A+ Essentials certification exam tutorial series!
To your success,
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