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Computer Troubleshooting Skills

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Who is the home system administrator and exactly what does he need to do? Perhaps we could best answer that with an analogy ........ Computers are much like cars. Each has three types of people who use them.

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To develop good computer troubleshooting skills and become an effective home sysad, you do not have to learn very much - at least, that is, as compared with a fully qualified computer technician. But it does help if you can learn to think like ‘Power Users’.
Power Users are computer users who do not necessarily know a lot, but with the power to make things happen.

They have four key powers:

The Power of Observing

The first thinking skill you will need is the ‘Power to Observe’. This means: the power to see what is there to be seen. Few novice computer users can do this; it takes a lot of practice to develop this skill.

The Power of Experimenting

Another thinking skill you will need is the ‘Power to Experiment’ - in effect, the power to ‘Avagomate’. This too takes a while to develop, but as your self-confidence grows, so too will your willingness to ‘just do something, and see what happens next’.

The Power Of Experience

The Power of Experience comes, quite simply, from experimenting; from trying things out, making mistakes, and occasionally getting things right. The more things you do, the more experience you get; the more experience you get, the more willing you will be to try things out and the sharper your computer troubleshooting skills become. A happy circle!

The Power of Troubleshooting

The final thinking skill is that of troubleshooting: the power to fix problems. Computer troubleshooting skills are needed when a problem arises - when the computer misbehaves. To troubleshoot, you act just like a detective:
  1. Gather evidence. Take careful note of the symptoms;
  2. Make a list of possible suspects - of the possible causes of the problem;
  3. One by one, try to eliminate each suspect. With luck, you will fix the problem; at worst, you will have enough information to allow a technician to fix the problem quickly and cheaply.

Here are some tasks to build Power User skills:
  • Play computer games that are multi-level (ones that require you to complete each level before you can go to something harder);

  • Hunt for download links on the Internet. For example: Visit Nonags( and find the ‘MP3 Players’ page. On this pageyou will find information about 30 or more different MP3 players.Each MP3 player has a home page. Your homework is to visit as many of these home pages as possible, and attempt to download the MP3player from there. Important: so far as your homework is concerned,you do not have to actually download any of them; you can cancel the downloads as soon as they start if you like. Simply finding the download links is enough.

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