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Getting Help

How can I get the best and fastest answers to my questions? by gbaughma
Posted: 16 May 18

As an IT professional for 30 years, I have heard a lot of the same vague questions and problems over the years.

"My computer is slow."
"My computer won't work."
"My computer froze up."
"My screen is black."
"I got an error message on my screen with a bunch of bla bla bla and numbers."

If you say something like "My motorcycle doesn't run", it doesn't really give enough information to solve the problem. "My motorcycle has been sitting in a barn for 10 years and now it won't start" is a lot different from "I was going down the highway at 100MPH and the engine quit." While both statements end up with "My motorcycle doesn't run", the cause for the motorcycle not running in these two scenarios have much different reasons.

When asking a computer question, the more information the better.
If you got an error on your screen, technicians don't want the abbreviated version... those letters and numbers that may not make sense to you are the key to exactly what went wrong.

Additional information, such as "What were you doing at the time of the failure?" "Was your computer making any strange noises?" "Did the fans seem to be running slower/faster/noisy?" are all helpful information. The age of the computer can also be a factor, especially when dealing with overheating issues. Also, try to include what steps you have already taken to solve the problem yourself. "I tested the voltages on the power supply", "I replaced the CPU cooler and thermal paste", "I re-seated the RAM" are all helpful in not only solving the problem, but helps to solve it faster because we already know what was done.

Here are some questions that give "all the information".
"My computer makes a buzzing/grinding noise when I first turn it on, then it goes quiet. After a while, maybe 5-10 minutes, it beeps three times and turns off. I have added no new hardware recently. The system is about 5 years old."

"I changed out my ATI video card with an NVidia Radeon 1050GT, and now I don't have any video. The computer beeps 5 times, but nothing comes on the screen. I have an 850 watt power supply and an Intel i7 processor."

By giving "all the information", you can get a faster response to your question, rather than asking a vague question, and then having folks who want to help you have to try to pry all the details from you.


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