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Troubleshooting Tips for Remote Workers

Troubleshooting Tips for Remote Workers

Remote working provides a wealth of benefits for workers who like flexibility and managing tasks from the comfort of their homes. However, it also creates an abundance of challenges. For instance, IT management and troubleshooting are sometimes left to the remote worker. While the situation varies, a remote worker should be prepared to handle some basic problem resolution at home without the help of IT staff. Because of remote connectivity, IT resolution can take longer, so it’s good to have baseline knowledge for simple system fixes.

Today, there’s a heavy emphasis on automation, simplicity, and accessibility. While this can be good, it also discourages understanding the fundamentals of a PC. Chromebooks, for example, have a reductive interface with experience that’s difficult to transfer over to other systems (if at all).

Benefits of Personal Troubleshooting

“Troubleshooting” is a general term, but in this context, it means identifying and resolving simple PC problems without external help. Since there are numerous potential errors or small problems that can affect your PC, we obviously can’t go over an exhaustive list.

But learning how to troubleshoot – even if you don’t always solve the problem – is a handy skill to have. If you’re wondering how IT staff got where they were, it all started with basic troubleshooting!

Common Troubleshooting Issues

Once again, attempting to identify and solve every troubleshooting issue you may encounter is not possible in a single article. And, if you’re searching for answers right now, you don’t have time to read through pages of fluff to get to your solution(s).

We’ll try to address common PC issues and ones you may encounter when remote working. Whether using a laptop or workstation, there’s a solution to address basic concerns.

Troubleshooting 1 – Internet Connectivity Problems

Internet connectivity is essential for remote work. If you lose connectivity, it’s obviously stressful. Like with any troubleshooting issue, the reasons for connection loss are various, so we’ll keep it simple for now.

What to know:

  • Ensure you are connected to your modem via wireless/ethernet and check to see if anything has been disabled or disconnected
  • Check your modem for connectivity loss; most routers/modems will typically show red lights/blinking lights under “Internet” if there is connection loss
  • Make sure your adapter is enabled in your system settings (Open “network and internet settings” in Windows 10/11 and check if your primary adapter is enabled/disabled)
  • If possible, check your ISP for outages with another internet-facing device (such as a phone), extended outages are routinely reported after major service loss

Troubleshooting 2 – System Slowdowns

Another frustrating but common PC issue is system slowdowns. When slowdowns occur, normal computer processes are interrupted by dragging performance. Programs don’t open as fast, processes execute at a tedious rate, and sometimes interfacing with the system is impossible. Once again, for remote work, that’s a concern.

PC slowdown issues occur for different reasons, so we’ll list some possible causes.

  • Insufficient hardware, the system lacks enough resources (RAM, disc space, processor power) or is overloaded; close tabs and programs to help performance
  • Potential malware intrusion, if your system is showing unusual behavior, this is a potential computer virus
  • Background processes and updates can slow down a system like anti-virus software running a scan while work is going on
  • Failing hard disc drive, warning signals are clicking/heavy mechanical sounds and slower file processing

Some of these are trickier to solve than others, and some can’t be solved without additional help. But identifying the problem is the core of troubleshooting. For example, older hardware – common with legacy setups – needs upgrading with additional RAM or memory. In some cases, the installation needs to be replaced.

If you’re experiencing computer freezes, ensure you have enough programs closed. You can also check task manager (CTRL + ALT + DEL) which can show programs or processes using excessive resources. It can also pinpoint processes you may not be familiar with, or malicious programs unknowingly running in the background.

If you do suspect malware intrusion (or similar) running an anti-virus scan is the next step. If the device is company-provided, it should come equipped with installed anti-malware software.

Troubleshooting 3 – Crashes and Blue Screens

Among the more frustrating and frightening problems with computers is a system crash, freeze, or “blue screen.” Nicknamed the “blue screen of death,” this occurs after a fatal error. The computer becomes unresponsive and switches to a blue screen with an error message and crash report.

The good news is a BSOD or system crash isn’t cause for immediate concern. Even with the best hardware and setups, a crash can happen and is normal. It’s only when crashes become consistent and interfere with remote operations they need addressing.

What causes a BSOD error? A variety of reasons, but here are some common culprits:

  • New hardware or software installations cause program errors
  • Potential viral or malware infections causing serious system errors
  • Configuration problems with the operating system
  • Old, failing hardware (any unit – power supply, CPU, video card, etc)

Having said that, the causes of a blue screen still cover a wide area. If you’re seeing a consistent blue screen, it’s important to remember and register the error code associated with the crash. This can help pinpoint the issue. IT specialists search for resolutions to the error, so it’s not always common knowledge.

If you can’t resolve a blue screen problem, don’t worry. It’s important to record as much information about a crash if it happens consistently – such as time, what processes you were running, and if any changes occurred that suddenly caused a BSOD.

I can’t troubleshoot the problem(s), what now?

You’re not expected to be a computer expert or IT whiz. So, if all else fails and you can’t troubleshoot the issue(s) while remote working, don’t fret. Troubleshooting is a skill that does not guarantee you can resolve computer errors. That’s when IT experts step in. But, as a remote worker, knowing how to troubleshoot and resolve simple problems is handy. It saves IT time so they can focus on larger tasks and gives you confidence in handling various PC problems.

If you still need assistance or want bigger remote working resources, consider utilizing an MSP. Contact Bytagig today for more information.

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