IT Support

Is it plugged in?

I understand that the technical skill of every user is very different. Frankly it is my job to fill in the gaps for those whose interests lie elsewhere but there must be some common knowledge involved when it comes to tech. Now to all the IT literate people out there who either work in support or are asked for endless favours due to your knowledge, you will understand.

It seems that when it comes to tech and people who aren’t necessarily interested in it have a blind spot for issues. It’s like when an issue occurs with the piece of tech they just freeze up and don’t know what to do with themselves and then call for IT support. Though in a different scenario I have little knowledge and interest about the inner workings of a car so when and issue would ever arise I wouldn’t break out the overalls and tool kit…but I would try some basic trouble shooting. This troubleshooting might not get me anywhere but it narrows down the issue by ticking off some possibilities and makes me feel like I did my bit.

Going back to the IT world, I understand that some of you may not care for the treatment of your workstation whatever it may be but there should be some level understanding to make your life and all IT managers lives easier. Going back to the car analogy, you wouldn’t go to the mechanic every time you need to top up your water levels or windscreen wash, granted you may go and ask advice for what oil to use in your engine because that can be a serious issue if done wrong but you then take that knowledge and work on it yourself. A computer is very similar in the sense that there are things that you should do for yourself. For example, you should regularly clean out any unnecessary files no matter what they may be, you can move them to external sources like a portable hard drive or a server if you have the permission. You can also upload items to the “cloud” through several different applications, each with their own benefits. There are several other ways to maintain a healthy computer system but I will go into further detail in a later article.

If and when the day comes that you are found with an issue on your machine that you can’t fix and you need to call for the help of an IT engineer, I want you to do a little bit of trouble shooting beforehand. As simple an annoying as it may be IT engineers will always ask if you have turned it off and on again and you might think this is pointless but there is logic some to it. When you power down a computer it clears the RAM, which is memory used on the fly for processes and applications. From time to time the RAM will get clogged up with rubbish that you where using previously but no longer need. It is as this point when there is little RAM space free that issues can occur with a system. This is not a guaranteed fixed but works like a charm about 80% of the time.

Now if you have restarted your machine but you are still having an issue with a certain piece of software then the next thing you should be thinking about is updates. Does that piece of software have an update that needs to be done, If so then do it. Now at this point I will say that if you don’t have admin rights over your machine then you will need to get in contact with your system administrator but if you explain to them that you are having some issues with a piece of software and you would like the permission to update they will gladly oblige, unless they have legitimate reason to not allow the update, for example the updated version may have a security breach that would put the network in jeopardy.

There are many issues that may make you feel a slight bit more of uncertainty when trying to use technology and that might be the internet has gone down or your machine won’t turn on or even your printer won’t print. At this stage I want you to take a step back, Take a deep breath and ask yourself…Is it plugged in.

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