Chapter 4

Introduction to
In this chapter, students learn to perform the first step of
troubleshooting—identifying the support category to which a userreported problem likely belongs. They also learn about preventive
support, and document the preventive measures that are or should be in
place at your school. Finally, they learn to use Remote Assistance, an
invaluable tool for performing real-time computer support.
Preparing to Teach
To prepare for this chapter, complete the following tasks:
 Read the entire chapter and complete all the exercises and other
step-by-step tasks.
 Ensure that there are enough networked computers available so
that students can work in pairs to complete the Remote
Assistance exercise.
 Make copies of the troubleshooting flow chart in Appendix A to
distribute to students before they do Exercise 4-1.
Common Support Categories
This section introduces the five common support categories discussed in
this book. While support can be categorized any number of ways, this
schema is designed for the entry-level technician. Remind students that
each of these areas of support are the areas in which they tried to define
scope earlier in the course. Also, emphasize the cross references to other
chapters in the book, which are called out in the “More Information”
boxes. Let students know that they will learn more about solving
problems in each of these support areas.
User Support
When teaching this topic, you must emphasize that the customer service
skills of technicians, especially their attitude when dealing with the end
user, are the main criteria on which they will be judged. A great
technician with a bad attitude will hurt the help desk team’s reputation,
even if he or she is able to solve customer problems.
Deploying Student Technical Support Solutions Teacher’s Guide 1
Hardware Support
When teaching this topic, be sure to differentiate between mechanical
problems, which are physical problems with components or peripherals,
and configuration problems, which are caused by improper configuration
of those components. If a mechanical problem occurs, the component
must be replaced or repaired. If a configuration problem occurs, the
component can usually be made to work with proper configuration.
Operating System Support
When teaching this topic, emphasize that this is where they will learn the
most in this course.
Networking Support
When teaching this topic, emphasize that this course will only deal with
networking form the client side.
Software Support
Software support is a category that deals primarily with helping users
perform tasks. Software support is not covered in this course.
Troubleshooting Methodology
Introduce the troubleshooting flow chart in Appendix A here.
Exercise 4-1: Identify the Support Category of
Reported Computer Problems
In this exercise, students use the flow chart to determine the support
category of a reported problem. Commentary regarding the
troubleshooting investigations appear in italics.
1. A user says that he cannot print to a network printer from
Computer23. You determine the following during your investigation:
 You try to print a test page from Computer23 to the same
printer, and nothing happens. (It is therefore not user error.)
 You check all cables and connections to Computer23 and the
printer, and they all have power and appear to be in working
order. (It is therefore not mechanical.)
 You try to print to the same printer from Computer24, and
nothing happens The printer is NOT online, or not functioning
 The application from which the user is trying to print seems to
work properly. (It is not the software.)
What is the likely support area of the problem? Hardware-the printer is
on, but it is not working, or is not online.
2. A user reports that she cannot save a document to a server. You
determine the following during your investigation:
Deploying Student Technical Support Solutions Teacher’s Guide 2
 You try to save the document correctly, and cannot do so. (It is
not user error.)
 The client computer hardware and software appears to be
functioning normally. (It is not hardware, software, or the
operating system.)
 You try to save the document to a different remote computer,
and cannot do so. (The servers are not available, or the users
do not have permissions to the servers.)
 What is the likely support area of the problem? Networking
3. A user reports that his computer has stopped responding to all
commands. You determine the following during your investigation:
 The computer hardware and software were operating normally
earlier in the day.
 The user downloaded a screen saver from the Internet. When he
tried to restart the computer, it would not restart properly.
What is the likely support area of the problem? Operating system--the
screen saver likely corrupted a necessary file.
Preventive Support
In this section, discuss the concept of preventive support as a means to
minimize reactive support events. For each category of preventive
support, discuss what would work at your school (for example, some
things are dependent on whether you are in a domain or a workgroup).
These preventive support measures will likely translate into either
maintenance tasks or special projects.
If possible, have the person currently responsible for computer support
and network security assist you in teaching this topic. The discussion
might cover the measures that are currently in place and why, and which
measures would not be possible in your school and why.
Throughout this section in the Student’s Guide, you see “More
Information” boxes. Demonstrate the procedure for searching the Help
and Support Center.
Exercise Idea
Have students revisit Exercise 1-5 in Chapter 1 where they defined the
scope of the help desk, and determine what they would change, given the
information they have obtained so far.
Have students perform some of these tasks on three different computers,
and then have them estimate how long it would take to perform the task
on all computers.
Exercise 4-2: Determine Preventive Support
Measures for Your School
The answers to this exercise are dependent on your school’s specific
network and computer configuration.
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Using Remote Assistance
Remote Assistance is a Windows XP troubleshooting tool designed to
enable helpers, such as help desk technicians, to remotely connect to
another user’s computer and solve problems. Explain to students that as
long as the computers are networked, they can help a friend or relative in
a different room, school, or country!
How to Use Remote Assistance
For this section, you will need two networked computers to demonstrate
the Remote Assistance process. Ideally, you can project your computer
screen for all to see. If you cannot do this, then have students watch your
computer screen as you connect to and help another user. If possible,
have students follow along on their own computers; you will need to pair
students to enable this, and for the following exercise.
Emphasize the importance of putting passwords and time limits on
Remote Assistance requests, and of allowing only trusted people to
connect to your computer.
Exercise 4-3: Use Remote Assistance to
Connect to a Remote Computer
In this exercise, student pairs take turns being the technician and the user
in a Remote Assistance session. The user must invite the technician to
connect, and then allow the technician to share control of the user’s
computer. The technician must connect to the user’s computer, go to the
System Information dialog box, and find out how much RAM is on the
user’s computer.
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Deploying Student Technical Support Solutions Teacher’s Guide 4