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7 Things You Should do Before You Contact IT Support

Something’s wrong with your computer, laptop, tablet or phone. It’s not an uncommon situation, with one study finding that the average employee loses a lot of time to IT-related issues. Whether it’s a mysterious error message, an intermittent blue screen, or routine freezing and hanging, the first instinct is to pick up the phone and call your IT support desk.

That is, of course, the right thing to do. Your IT help desk has the knowledge and skills to help resolve almost any IT-related issue… but before you make that call, there are some things you may wish to try that could help instantly resolve your problem, and which will, in any event, make the process of getting help for your problem faster and smoother.

Try basic troubleshooting

For many tech-related problems, there are a few steps you can take yourself that will resolve the vast majority of problems. Let’s start with one you’ve probably already heard of: turn your computer off and turn it back on again. It may sound basic, but it really does resolve a lot of problems – by some estimates more than half of reported IT-related issues can be resolved in this way.

If, on the other hand, a piece of hardware doesn’t seem to be working as it should (or if your computer appears completely unresponsive) it’s worth making sure it’s plugged in correctly. Ensure that it hasn’t been unplugged since last you used it and that all cables are firmly in place.

2

Run a Google search

For minor issues, a quick Google search can often work wonders. Some problems arise because you may accidentally have changed a setting or moved a vital file. A Google search for a description of your problem or any error message you’ve received can help resolve the problem instantly.

While this is a great solution to some problems, unless you’re able to find a simple and well-explained fix that you can fully understand, it’s still worth contacting IT support – it’s their job to monitor issues and maintain the health and efficiency of devices in your workplace. A Google search is only an appropriate way to tackle relatively minor errors.

3

Run a virus scan

Your computer should be equipped with anti-virus software. If you’re still able to, it’s a good idea to run a full scan of your system. You should have regular scans scheduled as part of routine maintenance, but running a scan when you encounter a problem can catch anything that has struck in the hours since the last scan.

Some anti-virus software will be able to quarantine and remove threats on its own. If it can’t, IT services will nonetheless find the information and logs it’s able to provide useful in neutralizing the threat.

4

Save error messages

By this point in the list you’ve run through some basic troubleshooting measures and your problem still hasn’t been resolved. It’s time to put in a call to your IT help desk. Before you do, however, there’s some information you can gather to help get your issue resolved quickly, and get back on track as soon as possible.

If you get an error message, for example, make a note of exactly what it says. Although it may sound like nonsense to you, many error messages contain a lot of information which an IT professional can use to help diagnose a problem.

5

Make a note of what happened

While your memory is still fresh, try to map out what lead to the issue. Were you updating something? Were you using a particular piece of software? Did you notice anything strange in the hours leading up to the issue, such as your device running slowly, or making system noises? The more information you’re able to provide, the easier it’ll be for the IT helpdesk to make a clean and clear diagnosis, and the quicker you’ll get to a solution.

6

Can you recreate the issue?

Does the problem occur on a regular basis? And if so, can you pinpoint what it is that makes it happen? Knowing that a problem occurs when you try to run a certain piece of software, or when you try to shut down your computer, for example, can really help narrow down the field of possible issues, and get you to a prompt solution.

7

What are you working with?

Finally, it’s extremely useful to know what machine, what operating system and what software you’re working with. Some devices have this printed on their casing, or on a sticker, while others will provide it under the heading of “About”. If you’re able to, make a note of this information before placing your call. Knowing how up to date the hardware and software can be instrumental in resolving IT issues.

Conclusion

It’s never fun having to deal with IT problems, but by following these steps you can resolve some simple issues for yourself, and ensure that when you do have to call your IT help desk, they can get you to a solution quickly and easily. With luck, you can be back at work within minutes rather than hours.

4 signs that it’s time to replace business hardware

Hardware has become a crucial aspect of business success. Without the right hardware, you can’t track data, run new software, or help your employees collaborate with each other.

Unfortunately, hardware doesn’t last forever. At a certain point, you’ll need to replace business hardware to keep up with your technological needs. You’ll know it’s time to replace business hardware when you notice the following four signs.

You have performance issues with your computers

The faster your company’s hardware works, the more your employees can accomplish. As hardware ages, you’ll find that performance issues affect productivity. As the computers slow, so will your employees.

You can often improve a computer’s performance by uninstalling unused software, removing malware, and deleting old files. Even with regular maintenance, though, the age of your computers will create performance issues.

Today’s latest technology makes business processes seamless. If you don’t feel like your computers can keep up with your business’s workload, then it’s time for you to consider upgrading to newer models.

You can’t update your software

Software and operating system updates help protect your company from security weaknesses that hackers can exploit. Updating your software is one of the most effective things that you can do to protect yourself from malware.

Updates, however, have hardware requirements. When your hardware doesn’t meet the requirements of your software updates, then you need to replace business hardware. Without new equipment, you leave yourself exposed to attacks that will disrupt your company’s plans and services.

Additionally, you should have a data backup plan so you won’t lose important information when old hardware fails or a hacker uses malware to lock your files.

You spend too much money on maintenance and repairs

Hardware maintenance and repair can extend the lives of your computers, servers, routers, and other equipment. Eventually, though, repairing your hardware will cost more than replacing it. If you find that you’re spending more than you would like on maintenance and repairs, then you should consider purchasing new hardware that doesn’t need as much attention.

If you have hardware warranties, then you should try to replace damaged items before the warranties expire. Doing so could help you save hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Your hardware can’t run the software you want to use

As business software becomes more advanced, you’ll need to replace business hardware to keep up with the software’s requirements. Most companies expect their laptops and desktop computers to last about three years.

After three years, your computer probably won’t have the processing power needed to run software that helps you analyze data, manage customers, and automate everyday tasks. If your IT budget doesn’t have enough flexibility for you to purchase new computers every three years, then consider leasing the hardware that you need. You should also revisit your budget to make sure it matches your company’s technology needs.

When it comes time to replace business hardware, make sure you dispose of your old equipment in a safe, eco-friendly manner. You’ll need to permanently delete sensitive information from your computers, hard drives, and servers. It also makes sense to recycle or donate hardware that still has usefulness for other organizations.