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The Complete Guide on How to Troubleshoot a Computer

By ·Categories: Tech Explained·Published On: February 23rd, 2016·4.6 min read·

Support is Here to Help You Troubleshoot Your Computer

Support at OnLogic is all about partnering with our customers to find a lasting solution to any hardware-related issue that may come up. Like us, many of our customers are innovators in their field, so finding new ways to use technology, or combine existing technologies, is part of the day-to-day for all of us. Some customers may be wondering how to go about troubleshooting a computer. At OnLogic, our support team is here to provide a bit of insight into the first steps of our troubleshooting process, and perhaps give you a starting point to help diagnose your own computer issues (Go you!), we’ve prepared a short guide to help gather useful information about the issues you’re experiencing.

The Wall-to-Keyboard Approach

Being methodical about how to troubleshoot a computer is part of what makes any support team successful. The Wall-to-Keyboard approach is designed to allow anyone to identify the source of many common PC issues. The idea is that you start by asking questions about the wall outlet and work your way to the power adapter, then the computer and monitor, and lastly the keyboard (and person using it). If the answer is ‘no’ to any of the following questions, then congratulations you’ve identified the source of the problem and you can likely take steps to resolve it. We love helping people who’ve taken the time to try and identify the source of their issue because it’s a big help in streamlining the process. That said, we understand that sometimes customers don’t have the time or resources to go through this process in advance, which is why we’re always happy to help walk them through these early stages of PC problem triage.

Let’s take a look at the questions that can help you solve a huge percentage of the most common computer issues. Some of these questions may seem very obvious, but don’t take them for granted, you’d be amazed how many times a seemingly complex IT problem can be solved by a simple question and it’s equally simple answer.

Wall to Computer Troubleshooting

  • Is the wall’s power outlet working? Check this by plugging in a different device, like a lamp, into the outlet.
  • Have you plugged the power cord into the power adapter? The best check is to unplug and plug the cord from the power adapter. Be sure to push them together firmly.
  • Is the light on the power adapter on? Most adapters have a blue or green indicator light on the ‘brick’ part, so skip this if yours doesn’t.
  • Is the adapter plugged snuggly into the computer? Again, the best check is to unplug and plug the adapter’s jack from the computer’s power port.

Note: If your issue has anything to do with an internet connection, then you can do these same steps to determine where the Ethernet connection is failing.

  • Is the wall’s ethernet outlet working? Check by plugging in a different device like another computer.
  • Is the ethernet cable functional? Check by using this cable to plug in a different known-good device.
  • Is the ethernet cable plugged into the computer? The best check is to simply unplug and plug the cable.

Computer to Keyboard Troubleshooting

  • Is the computer turning on? Most of our own systems are fanless, so unlike traditional desktops you won’t hear the whir of fans, but if you hear one or more beeps, or if the power button lights up, then your system has powered on.
  • Is the video output working? If you see anything on the screen, then the answer is yes. On the other hand, if you don’t see anything, then connect that monitor using the same cable to another system. If you still don’t see anything, then the problem is the monitor you’re using, otherwise video output isn’t working.
  • Is the operating system loading? Seeing a Microsoft’s Windows or Canonical’s Ubuntu logo is the  giveaway. If you’ve utilized our custom imaging service, you may see your company’s logo or other graphics instead. If you see ‘bootable media not found’ or something similar, then either there is no Operating System installed, or your hard drive is failing.
  • Is your keyboard and mouse working? Keep in mind that USB wired keyboards will work while the system is starting up, while wireless keyboards and wired/wireless mice won’t work until the operating system has completely loaded.
  • If you have Windows, is it activated? Windows licenses purchased from OnLogic must be activated by the customer. You can always find the activation code on the bottom of the system.

If you answered yes to all the above questions and are still having an issue, then three pieces of information will be of crucial importance when contacting support.

  1. What are you experiencing? Don’t be afraid to use all of your senses to help guide your answer. For example do you hear any beeps or see an error message on the screen? Do any components feel unusually warm?
  2. How would someone else reproduce this issue? i.e. is it consistent or intermittent?
  3. What is the serial number of your system? OnLogic systems will always have a serial number, usually on the bottom, which begins with the letter “U”.

This guide isn’t meant to be all-inclusive. It is meant to be a short list of questions that anyone can quickly answer to help try and determine what’s happening. Questions or concerns? Contact our team of specialists or call 802-861-2300.

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About the Author: OnLogic

OnLogic is a global industrial computer manufacturer that designs highly-configurable, solution-focused computers engineered for reliability for the IoT edge.

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