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5 Questions Our Help Desk Gets And How We Answer Them

By: Joshua Beitler on July 03, 2019

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5 Questions Our Help Desk Gets And How We Answer Them

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There are a few recurring IT issues that plague even the most savvy computer users. We’re dedicating this blog post to those users who are diligent when it comes to technology and cyber security, but need a quick fix to get out of a common problem.

We’re revealing the five most common questions our help desk gets, and how we address them for clients.

1. Help! I Forgot My Password.

This happens to everyone. Passwords can be easy to forget, especially when there are so many to remember.

Often, there’s an easy “forgot password” link on your workstation or work application login page. If there’s not, our help desk can usually reset it in a snap.

It can be a little more complicated if you’ve been locked out of your computer because you entered your password too many times. Or, we run into a roadblock when the “new” password you set doesn’t actually work. At that point, our IT group will evaluate connectivity problems, DNS issues, potential trust issues, on-premise/Cloud sync issues, and more.

If you didn’t already know, password standards have changed. Make sure you’re up to speed by checking out our blog post celebrating World Password Day.

2. Why Is My Computer Running So Slowly?

We hear this a lot and there isn’t one cut-and-dry answer. A computer can be running slow because of…

  1. Hidden malware on the device
  2. A program update gone wrong
  3. Failing hardware components
  4. Several programs running at once
  5. An outdated workstation

In order for us to sleuth out the source of the problem, we might need to run numerous scans, tests, review logs and check systems resources.

If malware is suspected, our team will do a thorough investigation to ensure a threat isn’t lurking on the network. There could be a malware virus running in the background without you even knowing about it.

In order to fix this, our help desk relies on multiple products to check for malware on a device. That’s because malware scanning programs (antivirus products) have to catch up to the latest malware threats. Antivirus software companies have to first receive a sample of a malicious program, recognize it, classify it and then create a definition for it. Depending on the age of the infected file or program, one antivirus product may not find it over another. We may use your native anti-virus product and then partner that up with Malwarebytes and Microsoft Safety Scanner. Just today, I had a case where two different antivirus products found no infections, but one of the tools in our arsenal found a Trojan loitering on our client’s PC.

Discover how you can save time and energy on your IT efforts in this free guide…

If it’s not malware, it could be a hardware or processing problem that is causing your system to run slowly. If your PC is continuously updated, those updates may cause the system to use more resources. As more programs are installed, they’ll use more of your PC’s resources. This is why your computer slows down after years of using it. As programs are added and updated, they will require more from your machine and will slow it down. Sometimes we can fix this by removing unnecessary programs or upgrading. It depends on the age of the machine and how you’re using it. 

3. Whoops! I Accidentally Deleted Something!

It happens all the time. Our help desk gets calls for this constantly, and that’s okay! We’re all human and make mistakes, including accidentally hitting “delete” instead of “rename” on an important file.

In the event the file is on a server, it should be recovered pretty easily. The sooner you report it, the better. If you lost a file on your computer, sometimes we can get it back by recovering a previous version, backup (if PC is backed up), or redirected profile.

Certain services are proactive about document backups. For instance, if you utilize Microsoft OneDrive and have “Auto Save” turned on, all your desktop items, documents and photos are instantly backed up.

You must be diligent about backing up your important files. Not all of your documents are automatically backed up to the server. In fact, many users do not have their entire computer history backed up. It’s critical to keep your files stored on your company’s shared drives because those shared drives are most likely backed up.

In the event you’ve deleted something and there is no backup of any kind, follow these steps:

  1. Stop EVERYTHING you’re doing
  2. Shut down the computer
  3. Call your internal IT department or outside technology provider

If there’s space on your hard drive, there is a chance your IT provider will be able to use special tools to recover lost data. However, if you wait too long, your computer will overwrite the spot where your file used to be. In that case, it will be gone for good.

4. Why Isn’t My Email Working?

Email is essential to our day-to-day operations. When we lose email, or when it stops working all together, our productivity slumps. IT providers will prioritize this problem, but it’s a tricky one to quickly diagnose.

If you call our help desk when your email isn’t working, we’d ask for every last detail about what features are not working and what the symptoms are. If there’s a bounce or error message, our job becomes easier. The details in the message help trace back to the root of the problem. Sometimes the problem can be linked back to a simple solution, like updating a mail rule (Are there mail rules you don’t recognize? If so, your email may have been compromised. Contact your IT Provider IMMEDIATELY), checking the spelling of an email address, or checking spam settings.

There are a slew of other problems that could cause an email mishap. With the right information, we can get to the bottom of it sooner rather than later.

5. Why Isn’t My Printer Working?

Is the printer plugged in? Did you reboot your computer? These may seem like the simple solutions you’d hear on Office Space, but they are often overlooked in real life. Many printing issues can be resolved by turning the printer and computer off then on, checking the physical connections or interpreting the printer’s error message.

If these initial troubleshooting tips do not work, you’ll need to explain what you printed, to what printer, and when, in order for an IT pro to sleuth out the right solution. From here, our help desk would check the print logs, the printer’s status, print spoolers, any stuck/failed jobs, drivers and more.

We often get complaints that the printer says it’s jammed, but it’s not. Rarely is it a bad sensor. Quite often, there is just a tiny piece of ripped paper stuck somewhere in the print path, which trips the sensor. If it’s a highly used printer, all those tiny paper filings will add up in the printer and trigger a sensor. Routine maintenance and cleaning will prevent this from becoming an issue.

Need Help?

With a trusty IT provider, you’re covered from anything that goes wrong. If you have any questions for our IT group, contact our help desk here or call us at 410.685.5512.

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About Joshua Beitler

Josh monitors, updates and troubleshoots network and server systems for clients. He works primarily in Windows Server, Microsoft Office and Office 365 environments, but also has experience with automated network monitoring and data backup solutions. Outside of work, Josh is a wine enthusiast. His technology background resulted in Josh creating an app to log the different wines he’s sampled.