Matt called my office yesterday describing a very common computer problem.
“Scott, my computer is running really slow,” he lamented. “I can’t get anything done.”
Then he uttered the eight words I hate being asked over the phone – “What do you think is wrong with it?”
It’s a legitimate question. Matt, like every other client I regularly speak with, really wanted to know why his PC wasn’t working like it should, and what needed to be done to fix it. He knew there was a problem, but it wasn’t something he could figure out. That’s why he called me – the computer doctor!
After probing and asking specific, in-depth questions, diagnosing some computer problems can be done rather easily over the phone. In some cases, I can walk a client through steps to better troubleshoot or even fix the issue. If they utilize our remote access software, I can log in to their PC over the Internet to assist.
But most computer problems are just SYMPTOMS, especially in cases where a computer is described as running slow. Accurately determining the root cause of an issue may not be able to be done by just hearing a description.
Let me illustrate.
You’ve vowed to become a healthier you in 2015 as one of your New Year’s resolutions. It’s been a while since you’ve gone to the gym, lifted weights, and ran a mile or two on the treadmill. But you decide this year will be different.
So one day you get up early, force yourself into the bone-chilling winter weather and make your way to the gym. Your 45-minute workout goes well – not too intense, but you can tell your body got a workout. Then you spend the next eight hours at work before you go home.
After eating supper, you sit down in your favorite easy chair to watch some TV. You begin to feel this sudden, sharp pain in your chest as you breathe. You begin to worry, but you refuse to go to the ER.
The next morning, you awake and prepare for your day, but notice the pain is still there. You skip your workout, but decide to call the doctor.
You tell him your activities prior to the pain, and then you ask him, “Doc, what do you think is wrong?”
You’re hoping he tells you that it’s nothing to worry about. Instead, he says, “You need to go to the emergency room so we can order some tests. It may be nothing – just a pulled muscle. Or it could be a sign of something more serious – like a heart attack. We won’t know until we do these tests.”
Many computer issues require the same – we have to run tests on your computer to truly pinpoint the real cause of your computer problems.
Continuing my example from above – Matt complained of his computer running slow. This could be caused by a lot of things. To name a few:
- A corrupted Windows file
- A problem with a software program
- An excessive amount of junk/temporary files built up
- A faulty driver
- A bad memory module
- A failing hard drive
I asked Matt to schedule an appointment to bring his computer in so I could run full diagnostic tests. Then, I could confidently advise him what I needed to do to fix the problem and what it would cost.
Although your PC tech is an expert in his/her field – just like your doctor, please don’t be disappointed when they can’t diagnose your computer problem sight unseen. It’s a wise decision to allow them to thoroughly test your computer so it can be fixed right – quickly and the first time.