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Tips for Remote Troubleshooting Mac, Windows, and Linux Systems


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Troubleshooting end users’ computer issues doesn’t have to be tedious or time consuming. The right combination of tools and soft skills can help you isolate issues quickly, reducing the time it takes to close individual tickets and freeing you up for more exciting IT projects. You may even be able to leverage existing tools in your organization — like your directory service — to homogenize the process across Mac®, Windows®, and Linux® operating systems. Let’s walk through some of the ingredients of a stress-free approach to remote troubleshooting.

Efficient Troubleshooting Starts with Soft Skills 

The temptation is always there to just dive into a system and start testing educated guesses, but a more reliable approach starts with effective communication with the end user and concrete answers to the right questions. A little extra time up front can help you fix the issue (or escalate it to the manufacturer’s support team) without too much trial and error. Here’s how to get the most out of your initial conversation:

  • Ask a series of bite-sized, yes-or-no questions. This can be more efficient than having the user describe the issue in long-winded abstract terms. Each successive question should help you decide to either pursue or dismiss a given root cause.
  • Avoid jargon wherever possible. Even though a technical term might be the most accurate and efficient way to indicate something, non-technical users often respond more constructively to language that’s focused on outcomes. Talk about what something does rather than what it’s called.
  • Repeat your understanding of the issue back to the user in your own words. It’s amazing how much information can be lost in translation, leaving you to pursue the wrong solution. Ironically, this tends to happen more often with users who see themselves as relatively tech savvy — they may try to use technical terms and concepts without fully understanding them, or offer a red herring solution instead of accurately describing the problem.
  • Work proactively to form positive relationships with end users. This piece of advice comes (Read more…)



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