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20: The Complete PC Tech
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Good techs understand the components involved in inputting, processing, and outputting data, including the devices that store data, such as hard drives That s because if something doesn t work properly, you can start answering the ultimate troubleshooting question what can it be accurately If your screen freezes or the sound goes wonky, where in the process is the problem located As you go into any troubleshooting scenario, always keep the computing process in mind This helps you sort through possibilities quickly and accurately If you know all the stages, you won t miss a simple step, such as figuring out that a user can t print because the cleaning service accidentally turned off the print server
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Mike Meyers CompTIA A+ Guide: Essentials (Exam 220-601)
Analyze Your Apps
What applications do you use on your computer What applications do your clients or potential clients use Analyzing them in terms of the computing process can help elevate your troubleshooting game by a huge factor Take for example Microsoft Excel, a program designed to let you take numbers and turn them into charts, among other things When you sit down to work in Excel, you load it from the hard drive into memory; then you input information via the keyboard and columns with the mouse Every click requires the CPU to analyze and update RAM and the video card information
the night before, or waste time reinstalling printer drivers when the real issue is a stalled print job in the print queue
Dealing with Customers
When you deal with users, managers, and owners who are frustrated and upset because a computer or network is down and they can t work, your job requires you to take on the roles of detective and psychologist It takes skill to talk with frazzled and confused people and get answers to questions about how the PC got into the state it s in It s important to be able to communicate clearly and effectively Plus, you need to follow the rules of tech-person decorum, acting with personal integrity and respect for the customer Finally, use assertive communication to empathize with and educate the user Great techs spend the time needed to develop these essential skills
Your job as a tech is to get the computer fixed, and the best way to start that process is to determine what the computer is doing or not doing You must start by talking to the customer Allow the customer to explain the problem fully while you record the information Once the person has described the situation, you must then ask questions This process is called eliciting answers Although each person is different, most users with a malfunctioning computer or peripheral will be afraid and often defensive about the problem To overcome this initial attitude, you need to ask the right questions and listen to the customer s answers Then ask the proper follow-up questions Always avoid accusatory questions because they won t help you in the least What did you do generally gets a confused or defensive Nothing in reply, which doesn t get you closer to solving the problem First, ask questions that help clarify the situation Repeat what you think is the problem after you ve listened all the way through the user s story Follow up with fact-seeking questions When did it last work Has it ever worked in this way Has any software changed recently Any new hardware 651
20: The Complete PC Tech
By keeping your questions friendly and factual, you show the user that you won t accuse them or judge their actions You also show them that you re there to help them After the initial tension drops away, you ll often get more information, for instance, a recitation of something the user might have tried or changed These clues can help lead to a quick resolution of the problem It s important to remember that you may know all about computer technology, but the user probably does not This means they will often use vague and/or incorrect terms to describe a particular computer component or function That s just the way it works, so don t bother to correct the user Wherever possible, avoid using jargon, acronyms, or abbreviations specific to computers They simply confuse the already upset user Just ask direct, factual questions in a friendly tone using simple, non-jargon language to zero in on what the user was trying to accomplish and what happened when things went wrong Point at the machine or go to a working PC to have the user show what went wrong or what he or she did or tried to do Although you don t want to overwhelm them, people do usually want to get a handle on what you are doing although in a simplified way Don t be afraid to use simple analogies or concepts to give them an idea of what is happening If you have the time (and the skills), use drawings, equipment, and other visual aids to make technical concepts more clear If a customer is a closet tech and is really digging for answers to the point that it s affecting your ability to do your job compliment their initiative and then direct them to outside training opportunities Better yet, tell them where they can get a copy of this book!