So, IT Support can be a tricky and complicated thing. But not always, and it doesn’t have to be. Before you try anything, you need to look to the golden rule of IT Support: Have You Tried Turning It Off And On Again? Or HYTTIOAOA?
It’s very cliché, but no matter the problem, “have you tried turning it off and on again?” needs to be your first question. Many a time, I’ve gotten quite worked up trying to figure out the cause and solution to some problem which was solved simply and within moments by just restarting the device. This is particularly true with networking problems or problems to do with any sort of connection. You can’t get to the network drives? Have you tried restarting your PC? You’re printer’s not responding? Have you tried turning off both your printer and computer, then turning them back on?
The reason this rule is a golden rule is because sometimes, not that often but too often all the same, overcomplicating the problem can make everything all the worse. I remember a time not so long ago, I created nearly an hour worth of work for Mr Chief because I overcomplicated the problem a client was having and uninstalled the driver, rather than just restarting the computer when that’s all that was needed. I’m now learning that “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” needs to be the first thing you ask, along with “How long has this been going on?” and, my personal favourite and opener, “Show me the problem.”
The only problem with asking “have you tried turning it off and on again?” is that it’s so cliché that some people are offended if you ask them that, even if they haven’t actually done it. I got a call from a employee the other day saying that Outlook wasn’t accepting her password. I instantly recognised the problem, because with all the network issues we’ve been having recently (I’ll tell you about them properly when we’ve worked out what’s wrong) I’ve had the same issue. Outlook doesn’t usually ask for your password; it remembers it. When I’ve lost network connection while Outlook’s open, it asks for you to put in your credentials. However, even if they’re right, I find it won’t accept them so what I have to do is just close Outlook and start it up again. I asked her if she’d tried this, which she interpreted as “have you tried turning it off and on again?” and was instantly offended by my apparent lack of belief in her intelligence. She had tried that, but not recently enough that the network was back up yet when she did it, so it wasn’t working still. Later on, I happened past her, and she said that she later restarted again, and everything was OK after that.
While turning it off and on again isn’t always the solution, often the right answer is just as simple. Recently, I got called out to check on a printer which said it was ready but on the network said It was offline. After poking the “GO” button a few times (the most obvious solution), I tried turning it off and on again. “We’ve already tried that,” said an employee snidely, watching over my shoulder. “Yeah, but it’s worth another go…” was my reply. It didn’t fix the problem, so I looked to the possible cause of the problem, the network cable. While I was looking at that, my hand remained at the front of the printer, and I was just moving it around when I accidently opened up the service hatch. Oops, that made the printer lock up so it could reset itself and check the cartridge and all that jazz. I thought “Great, now I’m going to be standing waiting for it to stop doing that.” But when it did stop, it suddenly started printing. Somehow, that had fixed it. I have no idea why, but it did.
Really, everyone that uses technology like this should have the basic skills to try such simple steps as to “try turning it off and on again.”
Have you had any experiences like this, where you thought the solution was much more complicated than it needed to be? Or do you have any funny stories about things that have solved your problems unexpectedly? Share them below in comments, or however else you would like to share them anywhere on the internet, and send me a link and I’ll post it here. ⇊
Keep calm and carry on,