We’ve all been there; the point of no return when technology has turned its back on us, leaving us high and dry. As frustrating as this scenario is, it is not uncommon, especially in the workplace. Keeping your cool when dealing with misbehaving or unresponsive technology is an important step on the path to staying sane at work. Although it is tempting to immediately call Information Technology (IT) when a computer crisis occurs, try following these steps before picking up your phone for quick and easy fixes.
1. Reboot: Yes, this idea is as basic as it sounds but you’d be surprised how many employees don’t try this simple step before calling for help. If your computer is giving you trouble, try turning it off and back on again. Believe it or not, at times computers get confused just like us. This confusion can sometimes result in the computer attempting an incorrect action and receiving an error message. The reboot will potentially clear your computer of confusion and save you an embarrassing phone call.
2. Check the plug: If you’re having trouble with one of the accessories attached to your computer, confirm that the hardware is plugged in and turned on. For example, if you are receiving error messages when trying to print, check out the printer. Is it plugged in correctly? Did you try plugging it back in? Is it turned on? If it’s a printer, does it have paper? Answer all of the basic questions you can think of because these are the preliminary questions IT will ask you. The closer you look at your hardware, the smoother your phone conversation with support will be.
3. Force quit: This quick and easy step may be the answer to all of your questions. For PC users, this command is known as Ctrl + Alt + Delete, while Mac users select Command + Option + Escape. Forcing your computer into this action will allow you the opportunity to look at your Task Manager. Task Manager will show you all the programs currently running, as well as those that aren’t responding or “frozen.” If you do have an unresponsive program, you will be able to manually quit via the Task Manager and, hopefully, free up your computer’s ability to run smoothly.
4. Support forums: Check out online support forums that offer general support and answers for your computer. Whether you’re a Mac or a PC, you should be able to find answers to basic questions others have had in the past. The research may also help you become more familiar with your technology, teaching you things you didn’t know before.
5. Gather information: If you have exhausted all other means and still need to call IT, know some basic information about your computer before dialing. Be ready to give IT the type of operating system you’re running, what applications were open when the error occurred, when the problem occurred, what error message came up during your issues, and what you were trying to do. Depending on your office policy, there may be other information you need to know, including warranty information, purchase date, and the serial number. When in doubt, gather what you can, call IT, and ask to call them back if you need to collect further information from your supervisor.
Without question, technology enhances life and makes our workload easier. That being said, it can also cause quite a few headaches when errors arise. Knowing these simple steps when trouble comes will save you time on the phone with IT.