The Microsoft Troubleshooting Methodology – Simple and Flexible

Home > Blogs > CompTIA > The Microsoft Troubleshooting Methodology – Simple and Flexible

The Microsoft Troubleshooting Methodology – Simple and Flexible

Like This Blog 3 Mike Danseglio
Added by November 5, 2012

Like many IT professionals, I did my time in technical support. In call centers, in data centers, in corporate IT, and as a consultant, I spent lots of time chasing down and resolving computer problems. I got my start working in Microsoft’s Product Support Services (PSS) troubleshooting early versions of Windows and Microsoft Word for MS-DOS, Windows, and OS/2.

Whenever I approached a problem, be it on a support call, in person, via email, or even BBS message, I followed a simple and straightforward methodology. This article shows the way this methodology works and how it functions as a troubleshooting framework for almost any computer problem.

The best methodologies are simple, flexible, and work towards a goal. The methodology I use is all of those things, and is summed up with one diagram.
microsoft-troubleshooting-methodology-symptom-cause

Figure 1. MikeDan’s Quick and Dirty Troubleshooting Methodology.

Here’s a summary of the three steps. Subsequent articles will explore each in depth.

Identify the Symptom
What’s really happening? Vague symptoms like, “The server is slow” or “The Internet is broken” aren’t really useful. But they are a common starting place. Narrowing down specific symptoms like error messages, affected systems and applications, or time of day helps move to the next step.

Determine the Cause
What’s causing the symptom to occur? This step is often overlooked when IT professionals just jump right from “The server is slow” to “Reboot and defrag it.” I never just randomly reboot a computer or purge the Internet Explorer cache, because those “fixes” are just random steps that may temporarily alleviate the symptoms. Finding the root cause of the symptom is the only way to actually resolve the issue permanently.

Plan, Implement, and Verify the Resolution
Once the actual root cause is found, I can figure out how to fix it. From a minor software update to a complete system rebuild, I always at least write a quick plan to follow. Then I step back for a moment and consider whether this plan will address the root cause and therefore resolve the symptom. If so, I implement the plan and then verify that the symptom is gone.

Conclusion
Take a look at this methodology and how it can be used as a framework for virtually any troubleshooting effort. This is the best one I’ve used because it is a simple, effective, and flexible methodology for finding and fixing Windows issues.

Stay tuned for future articles on symptom identification and enumeration, root cause analysis, and creating, testing, implementing, and verifying a resolution.

Mike Danseglio -CISSP
Interface Technical Training – Technical Director and Instructor

Videos You May Like

Agile Methodology in Project Management

0 153 0

In this video, you will gain an understanding of Agile and Scrum Master Certification terminologies and concepts to help you make better decisions in your Project Management capabilities. Whether you’re a developer looking to obtain an Agile or Scrum Master Certification, or you’re a Project Manager/Product Owner who is attempting to get your product or … Continue reading Agile Methodology in Project Management

JavaScript for C# Developers – September 24, 2014

0 487 3

Is JavaScript worth taking the time to learn if I’m a server-side .NET developer? How much of C# carries over to JavaScript? In this recorded video from Dan Wahlin’s webinar on September 24,2014, Dan answers these questions and more while also discussing similarities between the languages, key differences, and the future of JavaScript (ES6). If … Continue reading JavaScript for C# Developers – September 24, 2014

Detailed Forensic Investigation of Malware Infections – April 21, 2015

4 608 5

How does an investigator hunt down and identify unknown malware? In this recording of our IT Security training webinar on April 21, 2015, Security expert Mike Danseglio (CISSP / CEH) performed several malware investigations on infected computers and identify symptoms, find root cause, and follow the leads to determine what’s happening. He demonstrated his preferred … Continue reading Detailed Forensic Investigation of Malware Infections – April 21, 2015

Write a Comment

See what people are saying...

  1. Pingback: The Microsoft Troubleshooting Methodology – Identify the Symptom | Interface Technical Training

  2. Pingback: Windows Troubleshooting Tip – Snip | Interface Technical Training

  3. Pingback: Windows Troubleshooting Tip – the Problem Steps Recorder | Interface Technical Training

Share your thoughts...

Please fill out the comment form below to post a reply.