Every day I have the pleasure of helping people solve their technology issues. It’s something that I really enjoy, because I know how frustrating it can be when your workload is piling up and you can’t make a dent in it because your technology isn’t working properly. It’s one of the reasons that we focus so hard to resolve support tickets quickly in our department (our sub 15 minute documented response time is a pretty amazing benchmark in our industry). While we never expect our clients to troubleshoot their issues on their own (we should always be your go-to when you’re experiencing an issue), we thought it would be beneficial to compile a few tips that can solve common issues that our clients experience or just help you be a little more productive.
When all else fails, reboot.
Perhaps the best piece of technology advice we can offer as a “try it first” insight is to reboot your machine. While it seems basic and annoying to do, you should always reboot before you submit a ticket or engage a third party for technology help. I promise it’s not magic, but it’s one of the most effective ways to solve technology issues. Complicated software programs and efficient users touch a lot of components of your machine as it runs. The longer that it runs, the harder it works and the more the software touches. Memory, video cards, network hardware – it is all accessed continually. Power-cycling (that’s our fancy word for rebooting or unplugging and plugging back in if it’s router) clears caches, resets the operating system and any processes that are locked up. Once the network resources are reconnected, all software and hardware gets restored to a known state. This simple troubleshooting technique can be a huge timesaver if you’re experiencing issues on your machine.
Multi-task with a purpose.
Let’s face it, efficient users are unstoppable. Sometimes that means they’re using multiple software programs, web browsing tabs and other applications at once. While this is great for productivity, it can often cause workstations to get locked up (particularly if they are aging or in need of replacement). Try to keep open programs and tabs to a minimum, save all work that you intend to come back to later and if you continue to experience issues, consider asking your manager or owners to upgrade your workstation.
Don’t install unauthorized applications.
We all have little tools that we use personally that make us more efficient, but installing them without authorization is a big no-no. These tools can sometimes include add-ons that have malware in them or can bog down your system with additional installs in the process. If there is an application that you truly believe will increase your productivity or help you do your job better, ask your manager or ownership for permission to install the application and IT can help ensure that it is installed without additional add-ons.
Use these tips to help avoid computer slowness, malware and virus infections. While your employer is probably taking measures to ensure that your network isn’t breached with firewalls and managed antivirus, cyber attacks are evolving and you’re ultimately the final line of defense against infection. Browse wisely, always ask permission to install unauthorized applications, and make sure to reboot first when things appear to be slow, locking up, or you come across an issue. The final word of advice I have is make sure that you’re communicating to management your level of happiness with your IT support and helpdesk. Unless you communicate any issues, they can’t help make a change and get you the support you need.
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