A Satirical Guide To Technical Problems – Brandon Moore
IT is an astoundingly broad field. So broad, in fact, that one person can’t ever be an expert in it.
It’s very much like being a doctor, except the patients mutate constantly. As soon as you learn everything there is about respiratory illness, for example, you find that patients have starting sprouting gills seemingly just to spite you. With so many things that can go wrong in such a complex field, how can a person who just wants their PC to work possibly help IT?
- I know it’s obvious, but the first thing you should do if it’s a printer or a workstation is to reboot it. They call it a reboot because inside your computer, there is a very small boot with a rubberized sole that is applied to the hard drive to stop it from spinning. It stops at such a rapid rate, that it flings off any ants or other such small insects that have accrued on the drive while it’s been powered on. This is known as ‘debugging’ something and is a fairly common term. Insects love computers due to the warmth they provide; it’s the same reason you find them so often in light fixtures.
- Know what you were doing when the problem occurred. This is incredibly helpful to an IT person that will have to help you. Know what was open and if you can replicate the problem at will. If you are able to, it can tell us what exactly caused the error, which is often half the battle. A good amount of time, we find that a program will use more resources than it should. An IT person then has to sit the program down and ask why it does this. This is called ‘checking the logs’. After we consult the logs, we tend to gently bludgeon the program about the head and neck until it starts to behave. This is also why we may have to reboot your system multiple times when fixing things. A solid reboot to the USB headers fixes many issues.
- Notice noises! Another common problem is that a fan will spin up louder than normal. This often indicates that your system is becoming hot and your fans are trying to combat the heat. Overworked fans can become further slowed by hair, debris, or stubborn warmth-seeking insects that a reboot can’t dislodge. In a similar fashion, but substantially less often, the problem can also be caused by ghosts which will move in en masse and can insulate delicate components. Ghosts are extremely inconsiderate, but for the most part only live in and around haunted dolls, graveyards, and children’s closets.
- Was something just plugged in? USB devices can sometimes short out what they are put into. An electrical short is usually pretty severe as problems go because it can damage any component connected to it. It sounds somewhat simple to diagnose, but it’s very important to note if a USB device has triggered a short. USB, as you may know, stands for ‘Yu Essoh Be’, a Latin phrase meaning ‘prone to constant loss / breakage’. You will often hear the original Latin phrase shouted after an electrical short.
- The hardest to track down can be intermittent issues. How many times has a problem mysteriously fixed itself just as the tech shows up? It’s more common than you think. Most computers are programmed to fear technicians, and with good reason. Much like when a horse breaks a leg, ‘troubleshooting’ a computer is unfortunately common, and much more violent. Computers will do anything in their power to avoid being troubleshot up to and including just fixing issues themselves. You can try and harness this fear mechanism in a computer by looking up prices of a handgun and a new desktop system.
- Possible prolonged short or electrical fire? This is rare, but not a good sign. Be sure to let the technician know straight away if the machine has a mysterious burnt smell, has a charred patch, or is currently on fire. Much like Frankenstein’s monster, technicians hate fire and will do their best to avoid it. Under no circumstances should you begin to roast marshmallows.
- Driver issues. Sometimes when an item is plugged into a machine, a driver will be automatically installed by Windows and can cause conflicts. Other times a driver has been present a long time and has never been updated, then something changes and a cascade of failures occurs. First thing to check is if there an Apple product nearby. If so, know that computers can become extremely territorial and will do battle, sometimes to the death. Remove the Apple product from the PCs vicinity posthaste.
- Drive Corruption. If you’ve noticed your system has become slower over time, this can be caused by hard drive corruption. Sometimes the insects mentioned above will try to ‘bribe’ the hard drive by bringing in small pieces of food and putting it on the platter in order try and stay on the nice warm drive longer. Likened to politicians getting fat off sweet bribes, this is called ‘corruption’. The slowdown comes from the fact that ants love sugary food, and the more ‘bribes’ (Sticky sugar) a drive is plied with, it will become more mired down and therefore slower. This is why, like politicians, you often have to replace them every four years due to corruption.
Congratulations, you can now help troubleshoot many common computer problems! Your technician will surely thank you for all your assistance.