Learning to be a better troubleshooter

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by brainwave89, Jan 31, 2008.

  1. brainwave89 macrumors 6502

    Jul 7, 2006
    I want to learn more on how to better troubleshoot any type of problems that Macs (or humans that work on) can create.
    Where can I learn these skills? I've learned to Love the forums here as a great tool but where are others? Books, online training.....?

    I subscribe to lynda.com, vtc.com and MacWorld.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  2. Cromulent macrumors 603


    Oct 2, 2006
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    Most of it is just a process of elimination. Nothing really to learn apart from a good understanding of the system.
  3. AdeFowler macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2004
    I think a good understanding of Console can go a long way towards diagnosing/fixing most problems.
  4. zblaxberg Guest


    Jan 22, 2007
    go to college?

    Thats not meant to sound condescending but you can take classes in computer software, hardware etc. you don't even have to be a full time student.
  5. Slip macrumors 6502a


    Oct 16, 2007
    Wiltshire, England
    Practice makes perfect I guess. The Apple Mac 101 is a nice basic starter and there are good online guides but like most things in life, hands on experience is top of the list. Can't really vouch for more than that as that's how I learnt it :/
  6. motulist macrumors 601


    Dec 2, 2003
    Well, I'm pretty darn good at it, and here's how my thought process works. Basically you just follow the chain and imagine what could be wrong with any link in the chain, then test each of the possible broken links. Start at the most general and then isolate more and more smaller areas in order to first identify where the problem is.

    For instance, lets say you open a movie and see it playing, but you hear no audio. Ask yourself "Where's the problem?" Is the problem in this one program, or more systemic? To find out, open another program that makes audio, like playing a youtube video or whatever. If other programs play sound, then the problem is in the first software only. If nothing makes sound come out of your Mac, then the problem is not in any particular piece of software, so you don't need to check any of the settings in any programs.

    Then you ask the next most general question, "is the problem inside the computer, or outside the computer?" So you unplug your speakers from the headphone jack and stick in the plug to your earbuds, then see if you hear sound. If you hear sound in your earbuds, then something was wrong with your speakers. If you don't hear sounds then the problem is somewhere between when the software tells the computer to output some sound, and the point where sound actually is sent out of the headphone jack.

    And so on and so forth. Just start from the most general areas you can isolate to see if the problem is in big part A or big part B. Then just keep isolating smaller and smaller parts until you've found the broken link in the chain.

    It takes a decent amount of technical knowledge, but that comes with experience. If the topic of computers is interesting to you then you won't really have to go out on a mission to learn the technical details, you'll just pick them up as you explore your hobby.
  7. Virgil-TB2 macrumors 65816


    Aug 3, 2007
    Yeah, what he said. :)

    Logical process, and the gradual elimination of possibilities until you get the answer.

    This helps also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_thinking
  8. brainwave89 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 7, 2006
  9. SthrnCmfrtr macrumors 6502

    Aug 20, 2007
    Las Vegas, NV
  10. JNB macrumors 604


    Oct 7, 2004
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    If you're interested, I teach a brief lesson on troubleshooting techniques. I try to keep it system-agnostic, so the rules apply to most anything. It's based on a number of years in the process and a lot of environments, so it's pretty generalized, but also brief (I have to fit it in 50-minute lesson).

    PM me and I can email you the PowerPoint deck or the outline.

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