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10 things you need to check before calling the IT Helpdesk

It is tempting as a user to call the IT helpdesk at the first sign of issues with your PC. However calling your friendly neighbourhood techie to carry out basic fixes takes them away from their day to day activities and can impact the evolution of your network and systems.

Here are our top ten things to do before you call support:

1. Is it plugged in?

10 Things to Check Before Calling the IT HelpdeskFirstly is it the PC or just the monitor? Is it plugged in and turned on, network cable attached? This may sound like an obvious thing to check, but make sure the plugs are pushed into the back of the PC, the monitor or any extensions, and that wall sockets are plugged in and switched on. The same applies to printers so before you call IT, ensure you’ve checked it’s both plugged in, switched on and online.

2. Task Manager and Ctrl+Alt+Delete.

Ctrl+Alt+Delete is your friend! Before modern Windows environments, this combination was used to reboot a PC; now it allows you to access the Task Manager. If your application stopped working, hold down these keys, access Task Manager to see which processes are hogging the CPU and try and close the application if you recognise it in the list.

3. Try a Reboot.

If your machine is running slowly, hangs or you have lost connectivity, try a reboot. Re-starting the PC allows it to refresh its connections and configure any updates correctly. If the software is completely unresponsive and you are unable to access shutdown options, holding the power button for 10 seconds will switch off the machine, but this is a last resort as it can corrupt the hard drive.

4. Is it in the recycle bin?

Everyone has done it. That sudden fear when the important file you are working on disappears from the folder. If you have accidentally deleted a file then don’t panic. So long as you haven’t ‘shift’ deleted, check in your recycle bin; quite often it will be safely stored in there or accidentally dragged into another folder.

5. Implement auto-save and save regularly.

You spend hours working on a document, only for the dreaded message: ‘This application has terminated unexpectedly’. Have you saved the document? It may sound like common sense but make sure you save regularly. Most applications also have an autosave function too; have a look for it and set it to save at regular intervals for you. Don’t know where it is? Google is your friend.

6. Check your cables and batteries.

If you’re experiencing a dead peripheral (a mouse or keyboard for example), then much like the power, make sure they are plugged in properly and reboot the machine. It’s easier than you think to pull something while moving things around your desk. If your wireless mouse or keyboard stops working then check the batteries!

7. Check with your colleagues.

If you are having issues with your PC, such as a lack of internet connection or access to your email, then check with your colleagues. Are they having the same issues? If they are experiencing the same problem then the chances are that your helpdesk already knows about it and is now taking calls from everyone in the office.

8. Be honest.

Remember, like your doctor, the IT team are on your side and have seen it all. If you recently installed something you shouldn’t, or spilt coffee on your PC, tell the team. Though you may be embarrassed it will allow them to fix the issues faster.

9. Can you recreate the problem?

Again a familiar scenario, you are having issues and the moment your IT support person arrives it stops. Before you call the support team, make sure the issue is recurring; a single incidence may just be a glitch. If it happens repeatedly then note the times and dates where necessary. This will allow the support team to check logs and trace the issue.

10. Check what is running.

If your PC is on a go slow it could be because your anti-virus is scanning or other software is updating. Task manager (see point two) can tell you what’s eating up your system. If it continues, talk to the team about moving scans to when you are not in the office.

So, before you instinctively pick up the phone to the help desk, have a look at your PC, see what you can do to diagnose the issues. Most of the time, it’s something trivial that can be quickly fixed in the office without the need to wait for support.

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