Many of you can now call yourselves veteran telecommuters, and hopefully you’ve done it without incurring substantial damage to your health or family situation. While residential networks have held up surprisingly well, we have definitely seen the strain during the new internet rush-hour which starts roughly when the kids finish up classes mid-afternoon, and lasts well into the late evening as families stream and game and socialize. We’ve also seen plenty of clients hit the limits of patience with their home technology including the various trials and tribulations Microsoft continues to put us through with Windows 10. Plenty of you have presented us with some real humdingers that definitely require an experienced technical eye, but we’ve twice that in issues that could be solved with a return to basics.
Things to try while waiting for IT to return your call
- Did you try turning it off and back on?
This may sound sarcastic, but all of us were spoiled by the stability of Windows 7. In the last half of its life, that OS was an absolute ROCK of stability. Many of us could go weeks without rebooting, but this is NOT the case with Windows 10, especially if you are running it on a machine that was built for Windows 7. Try rebooting.
- Check your connections.
Stuff comes loose or unplugged, especially in home offices where cabling and device placement is a cross between Cirque du Soleil and MacGuyver. Notorious culprits include half-out HDMI cables and Ethernet cables with broken tabs. Also, USB ports can get worn out with repeated use, so try switching ports (if you have others) or replacing cables that look worn out.
- Reboot your router/extender/modem.
If everyone in the house is having internet issues ranging from slowness, intermittent connections or straight-up no internet, try rebooting the primary internet device in your house. Not sure which one that is? Take a picture and ask your friendly IT guy, or give your internet provider a call. You know who that is, right? If it’s just Wifi and you use a mesh system or extenders, try rebooting those (see the first tip).
- Check for updates.
Unlike its hallowed predecessor, Windows 10 needs to be updated regularly. The longer you go without updating, the more problems will crop up. The same goes for many other devices in your household, including things like streaming boxes, smart TVs, doorbells, security cameras, tablets, the list is endless. If you are having trouble with something, check to see if there is an update for it.
- Take a picture of the problem.
With the more transient issues, a picture is worth a thousand words attempting to describe a problem for which you have no frame of reference. It’s likely we’ve seen it before and can maybe solve the problem faster, and if not, we’ll add it to our scrapbook of crazy things that happened to our clients’ technology.
- Google it, but tread carefully.
In case you didn’t know, Google is IT’s best friend. It can be yours too, BUT know that bad advice is just as prevalent as good advice. If the fix makes you cross-eyed or sounds at all risky, leave the fixing to us. Our Google-fu is strong, but we always get a kick when a client shares something relevant they found via their own Google search.
- Try a different way to do it.
Primary application of this principle? The website that won’t load. Try a different browser. Microphone not working? Try pairing your Bluetooth headset to your computer. Printer not working? Try printing from a different computer (or smart phone).
- Seriously. Did you try turning it off and back on?
We’re not expecting you to become IT black belts overnight, or even over the course of six weeks or six months, but you should know that IT guys truly appreciate it when they know their clients gave it the old college try. Who knows, you might actually solve the issue, and then you can proudly say the six words we like hearing the most, “Never mind, I fixed it myself.”
Top image by thedarknut from Pixabay