CompTIA is an accredited certificate organization that offers the CompTIA A+ certificate for people who want to become Certified Computer Repair Technicians. Within their A+ certificate, CompTIA provides a catch-all troubleshooting methodology that most technicians use to troubleshoot their client’s computers.
Before you begin, be sure to create a backup of the computer. It can be devastating to lose your data, so be sure to create a backup of anything that you are not willing to lose.
1. Identify the problem
The first step in the CompTIA troubleshooting methodology is to identify the problem. Be aware that the visible symptoms are usually not the root of the problem. It is important to identify the underlying problem. For the technician, the most important part of this step is to ask detailed questions to the user regarding when the symptoms occurred and why they may have occurred. It is extremely helpful if the user can recreate the problem for the technician.
2. Establish a theory of probable cause
The second step in the CompTIA troubleshooting methodology is to establish a theory of probably cause. After making a list of probable causes, you can prioritize the list from the most likely probable cause to the least likely. Be sure to question the obvious. For instance, if the issue is power related, check if the power cord is plugged in, and that the outlet is getting power. If no probable cause can be determined, you will need to escalate the problem to a higher level of service.
3. Test probable cause theory to determine actual cause
The third step is to test probably cause theory to determine the actual cause. After establishing your theory of probably cause, you should ask yourself whether or not you can troubleshoot the issue on your own, or if escalating it to a higher authority is needed. If your theory is confirmed, you will move on to the next step. If your theory is not confirmed, you will need to go back to step two or step one, and work your way through the troubleshooting methodology.
4. Establish an action plan and execute the plan
After determining the actual cause by testing your probable cause, you will need to establish an action plan. Simple problems usually just need simple plans. However, if it is a tougher problem, you may need to write out the plan so that you can follow it correctly. This is another opportunity to escalate the problem to a higher authority if needed.
5. Verify full system functionality
After completing your plan, you will need to check that the system is fully functional. If everything works, that’s great. This is also a good time to implement preventative measures so that the problem does not reoccur. If the system is not fully functional, you will need to go back to step one and continue to work through the troubleshooting methodology.
6. Document the process
It is important to document the process after everything becomes fully functional. It is best to document your findings, actions, and outcomes. If the problem occurs again, there will be information available to walk someone through the means of troubleshooting and resolving the issue. An important part of this is that both positive and negative outcomes should be documented. This can save time during future troubleshooting and prevent others from taking any missteps you may have taken.