Network Troubleshooting: Basic Steps

Here are some basic troubleshooting steps explaining what you should examine at the first sign of network trouble. In many (if not most) of the cases, one of the following steps can get your network back up and running:

  1. Make sure that your computer and everything attached to it is plugged in.

    Computer geeks love it when a user calls for help, and they get to tell the user that the computer isn’t plugged in or that its power strip is turned off. They write it down in their geek logs so that they can tell their geek friends about it later. They may even want to take your picture so that they can show it to their geek friends.

    (Most “accidents” involving computer geeks are a direct result of this kind of behavior. So try to be tactful when you ask a user whether he or she is sure the computer is actually turned on.)

  2. Make sure that your computer is properly connected to the network.

  3. Note any error messages that appear on-screen.

  4. Try restarting the computer.

    An amazing number of computer problems are cleared up by a simple restart of the computer. Of course, in many cases, the problem recurs, so you’ll have to eventually isolate the cause and fix the problem. Some problems are only intermittent, and a simple reboot is all that’s needed.

  5. Try the built-in Windows network troubleshooter.

  6. Check the free disk space on your computer and on the server.

    When a computer runs out of disk space or comes close to it, strange things can happen. Sometimes you get a clear error message indicating such a situation, but not always. Sometimes the computer just grinds to a halt; operations that used to take a few seconds now take a few minutes.

  7. Do a little experimenting to find out whether the problem is indeed a network problem or just a problem with the computer itself.

  8. Try restarting the network server.

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