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  1. Lost a treasure CodeBlox's Avatar
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    #1

    Default Helpdesk - Most common fixes for problems.

    So I'm still working on this Helpdesk as a tier 1 and I'm just wondering what you guys though were your most common fixes for problems that came into your helpdesk. This goes for people currently on the helpdesk or those who were. On this helpdesk, there is one extremely common fix for problems which is "rebuilding the profile". I've even seen it get abused and done even though the problem wasn't the persons profile to begin with. And at the end, the person still has their problem. I only do it as a last resort and if I think it's related, but I've seen people do it and some of the times the customer will get mad because the person neglected to copy some data to the newly created profile (this is in a domain environment) or when the person did it, they didn't think about how customized the person had outlook and fail to restore anything. Profile corruption seems to be the biggie around here. Another has got to be refreshing GPOs. what have you guys got? I'll admit, recreating the profile does fix a lot of problems, but it seems to be like a brute force move requiring little troubleshooting.
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  3. Delivering
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    #2
    Quote Originally Posted by CodeBlox View Post
    So I'm still working on this Helpdesk as a tier 1 and I'm just wondering what you guys though were your most common fixes for problems that came into your helpdesk. This goes for people currently on the helpdesk or those who were. On this helpdesk, there is one extremely common fix for problems which is "rebuilding the profile". I've even seen it get abused and done even though the problem wasn't the persons profile to begin with. And at the end, the person still has their problem. I only do it as a last resort and if I think it's related, but I've seen people do it and some of the times the customer will get mad because the person neglected to copy some data to the newly created profile (this is in a domain environment) or when the person did it, they didn't think about how customized the person had outlook and fail to restore anything. Profile corruption seems to be the biggie around here. Another has got to be refreshing GPOs. what have you guys got? I'll admit, recreating the profile does fix a lot of problems, but it seems to be like a brute force move requiring little troubleshooting.
    Recreating the profile is gold for a help desk employee. That also goes for recreating the profile in Outlook if the end user is having client side problems.

    Normally just renaming the profile to .old and then having the end user log back into the machine will create a new profile. Then you log back in with your elevate rights and rename the user.old profile back to user and then just rename the new profile user.2 or whatever. Usually that will restore the profile bringing it back from a generic profile. Of course deleting the temp profile is suggested as well. Sometimes on more stubborn ones you will have to actually recreate the profile and copy all the files over, but that is easy. Just make sure to hit all the documents and if the end user is missing documents you can just go onto their original profile and copy the information over.

    Just remember never delete any data.

    My personal favorite was the 99 temp files for Microsoft documents. On XP if a end user saved and relaunched a file with the same name or passed it back and forth with other teammates it would create a temp version of that file in some hidden folder I think CLK or NLK something like that. It's been a long time. Well you would have to find the location via the registry and then go to that hidden folder and delete those temp files. I always like that one it was kind of funny.
    Last edited by N2IT; 10-15-2011 at 01:47 AM.
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  4. Senior Member cyberguypr's Avatar
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    #3
    Quote Originally Posted by N2IT View Post
    My personal favorite was the 99 temp files for Microsoft documents. On XP if a end user saved and relaunched a file with the same name or passed it back and forth with other teammates it would create a temp version of that file in some hidden folder I think CLK or NLK something like that. It's been a long time. Well you would have to find the location via the registry and then go to that hidden folder and delete those temp files. I always like that one it was kind of funny.
    Oh God flashback! At my old company they managed faxes through public folders and many users saw that issue daily. Very annoying.
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  5. Delivering
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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by cyberguypr View Post
    Oh God flashback! At my old company they managed faxes through public folders and many users saw that issue daily. Very annoying.
    Hehehe Glad you enjoyed that one LMAO

    I also love the USB stick that wouldn't recognize because the end user had that letter allocated to a network drive. So you would have to go into computer management and rename the drive letter for the USB sticks lol
    Last edited by N2IT; 10-15-2011 at 02:01 AM.
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    #5
    I have found with profiles on Windows 7, if I am going to delete a profile, I will go through the system > advanced system settings > user profiles and delete the profile there. We had an issue at work regarding cloud email and deleting the profile the the XP way, in the Docs and Settings, won't work right in 7. You end up with the user getting a temp profile, which can't access the certificate store for email setup.

    We make our users store their data on network shares, so if we need to delete a profile, they generally won't lose any data. I have found that user education is one of the best fixes.
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  7. Senior Member W Stewart's Avatar
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    #6
    At my job doing tech support for dell people usually have customers run diagnostics on the computer and call back just to get them off of the phone and hope somebody else gets the call. Some times it's legitimate and sometimes we have the customer who insists it's a hardware problem when it's really software so we make them run diags just to shut them up.

    As far as one of the more well know fixes at my job, I would have to say it's the 7b stop code from a blue screen of death. You just have to change the sata operation to the correct setting and the customer thinks you're a genius.
    Last edited by W Stewart; 10-15-2011 at 02:29 AM.
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    #7
    recreating the profile only goes so far ya know? Common "fixes" on the helpdesk included temp files, reset IE settings, DNS issues etc. I've always found the best way of recreating the user profile is to indeed rename the old folder to .old - if you have the user's password and you're already logged in you can do a runas like run "cmd" or something it will generate the user profile and then just copy stuff over.
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  9. Network Engineer techie2012's Avatar
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by W Stewart View Post
    At my job doing tech support for dell people usually have customers run diagnostics on the computer and call back just to get them off of the phone and hope somebody else gets the call. Some times it's legitimate and sometimes we have the customer who insists it's a hardware problem when it's really software so we make them run diags just to shut them up.

    As far as one of the more well know fixes at my job, I would have to say it's the 7b stop code from a blue screen of death. You just have to change the sata operation to the correct setting and the customer thinks you're a genius.
    That's why when I worked helpdesk and called Dell to get a part replaced, I would type a scripted reason for why I needed a part. Had a reason for every part of the computer you could have replaced lol. Found that I didn't like wasting time diagnosing what I already diagnosed myself.
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  10. Lost a treasure CodeBlox's Avatar
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by N2IT View Post
    Hehehe Glad you enjoyed that one LMAO

    I also love the USB stick that wouldn't recognize because the end user had that letter allocated to a network drive. So you would have to go into computer management and rename the drive letter for the USB sticks lol
    haha, I had this exact call today. The drive wasn't showing in my computer. The person didn't want me to change drive letter either. I explained to her that it would only create conflicts because her "home drive" (which is just a network share) was using this same letter. She had said another tech looked at it and was "stumped" as to why it was working, and he even mentioned that it shouldn't be that way and didn't bother to fix it so I did so for her.
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  11. "Too many routers"? Heh. darkerz's Avatar
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    #10
    Anyone familiar with Citrix knows if anything about stuck, slow, grey or not coming up is mentioned, just flush and log off the session.

    For a system made for simplicity, it sure does happen a lot.
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    #11
    The helpdesk I worked in was a little unique, we had the advantage of everyone being reachable over the WAN. This made remote support really nice. This was all internal and on a domain, nothing public. I worked with a customer base of about 50k remote users, 1k roaming users, and 1k local users. Good times.

    A list of common fixes we used were:

    Reboot PCs - 6 times out of 10 this works fine, most of the field machines were severely lacking in the RAM department so this quick fix pushed out any TSR/stuck apps, Windows feels crisper when you reboot anyway, it wasn't uncommon to have machines on for 6 months without a reboot, some went a year or more

    Reboot network equipment - this reboot practice was carried along to not only to PC type devices but routers, switches, and access points as well. if you ssh into a router/switch/ap and sh hardware to see uptime is 2 years and you've tried everything else under the sun a reboot is probably necessary, every once in a while you get a process on the device that has a slight memory leak or doesn't perform proper garbage collection, a reboot will zap it or you'll meet the #### of death/rommon mode when something else dies

    Is it plugged in - everything from network cables to video cables to power cables to printer cables and everything else in between, this happened A LOT

    Is it powered on - of course it isn't!

    Delete temp files - IE history - cookies, %systemroot%\temp, etc, it wasn't uncommon to remove 10 gigs of temp files in one sitting

    Defrag, scandisk - of course after you remove 10 gigs of temp files its a good idea to run defrag, etc to speed things up

    In IE after the massive cleanup set local cache to some manageable amount like 512mb or 1gb instead of "5% of the available disk" - speeds things up, same thing with history - 5 days instead of 30, etc

    Network settings - the company had a strict set of internal DNS and WINS servers, these were often changed and pointed to public DNS like Google, standard ip settings, we primarily used static IPs, but we had a lot of DHCP resources as well - default gateway missing was also common - if your remote device doesn't have a default gateway, guess what you cant ping?

    New hard drive - some problems just require a new hard drive, if significant time is spent and many different eyes look at it - not just helpdesk eyes, a new hard drive was more common than not, it wasn't worth it business wise to prove that you are the elite king of troubleshooting and you could "fix it if I only had 1 more hour" - that 1 hour could be spent doing a hard drive swap - done. Also, any time a PC got a virus / spyware, instant hard drive replacement. 5 years ago, ya maybe try to clean it, but how do you know it isn't a root kit? You don't, and with so many root kits out today it isn't even worth it to have to worry about it from a business standpoint. Especially when your organization has to maintain PCI compliance. I didn't want to have to explain to our CLO and ELT why card holder data escaped on a machine I touched with my Level 80 wand of virus removal that proc'd Avatar and KillRootKitDead

    AD troubleshooting - user in wrong group, user disabled, user locked out, user doesn't exist, user spelled their name wrong, manager spelled the new users name wrong when creating them, profiles yuck, the standard

    AAA - automate, automate, automate - i was usually the only person adept at any type of scripting or programming on the helpdesk (the REAL developers were overworked and underpaid) - when you find a repetitive task of the more NON critical variety, script it, i actively used batch, vbscript, and powershell - for little clicky apps to distribute to the helpdesk I used C# - for any type of binary file manipulation I used delphi

    That is all the general troubleshooting and most common issues/fixes I can think of off the top of my head...
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  13. Delivering
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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Psoasman View Post
    I have found with profiles on Windows 7, if I am going to delete a profile, I will go through the system > advanced system settings > user profiles and delete the profile there. We had an issue at work regarding cloud email and deleting the profile the the XP way, in the Docs and Settings, won't work right in 7. You end up with the user getting a temp profile, which can't access the certificate store for email setup.

    We make our users store their data on network shares, so if we need to delete a profile, they generally won't lose any data. I have found that user education is one of the best fixes.
    I did some UAT for Windows 7, but never supported the OS. I did document some changes and even had some pushed through via our change management process, but overall I did very little support.

    I do love the performance of the my documents folder on Win 7. The synchronization on the my docs folder on XP was horrendous. On 7 it's much better, and USMT 4.0 works sooooo much better than 3 did on XP.
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  14. Delivering
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    #13
    Quote Originally Posted by N2IT View Post
    I did some UAT for Windows 7, but never supported the OS. I did document some changes and even had some pushed through via our change management process, but overall I did very little support.

    I do love the performance of the my documents folder on Win 7. The synchronization on the my docs folder on XP was horrendous. On 7 it's much better, and USMT 4.0 works sooooo much better than 3 did on XP.
    Here are some I really really liked when I was on the help desk

    1. I can't connect to the VPN. Can you connect to internet? No because I am not on VPN.
    2. My computer is running slow. Ma'am you just ran a report over several hundred business units.
    3. My monitor is upside down. Turn it right side up then
    4. My outlook won't work. Have you ever deleted an email sir or ma'am?
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  15. Senior Member W Stewart's Avatar
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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by techie2012 View Post
    That's why when I worked helpdesk and called Dell to get a part replaced, I would type a scripted reason for why I needed a part. Had a reason for every part of the computer you could have replaced lol. Found that I didn't like wasting time diagnosing what I already diagnosed myself.
    Actually all you would really have to do is say that you swapped it with a known good part and we would just replace it no questions asked. It's a good way to avoid all of the troubleshooting.
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  16. Delivering
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    #15
    Quote Originally Posted by W Stewart View Post
    Actually all you would really have to do is say that you swapped it with a known good part and we would just replace it no questions asked. It's a good way to avoid all of the troubleshooting.
    +1 rep

    Works with Lenovo too.
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  17. Lost a treasure CodeBlox's Avatar
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    #16
    When we send field techs out for an issue, a good majority of the time if it isn't network related, they just end up reimaging machines simply because its a lot quicker than to troubleshoot I guess. Like say someone says their machine is really slow, it gets a reimaging if it can't be troubleshot remotely so it seems.
    Last edited by CodeBlox; 10-15-2011 at 12:36 PM.
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  18. Network Engineer techie2012's Avatar
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    #17
    Quote Originally Posted by W Stewart View Post
    Actually all you would really have to do is say that you swapped it with a known good part and we would just replace it no questions asked. It's a good way to avoid all of the troubleshooting.
    That was definitely part of what I would say but I learned that just saying I replaced it with a good part and it works could sometimes lead to more questions. I would have to say that Dell is the easiest to work with to get parts replaced on a machine. Xerox....not so much...
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  19. Senior Member snokerpoker's Avatar
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    #18
    Common helpdesk fixes at my last helpdesk job were the following:

    Reboot: Old pc's that have been run into the ground. Users constantly complaining about their computers were slow.
    Reset passwords: Users kept forgetting their passwords and would call me to tell me they couldn't log in. Every now and again we'd see a password expiration.
    Re-imaging due to virus/malware: The IT department consisted of two people that supported about 500 users. We did not have time to run scans or manually remove malware.
    Set up Outlook for users: High turnover rate within the company caused us to configure Outlook for new employees quite a bit. We also hada lot of employees switch sites which meant configuring Outlook again for them on other computers.
    Set up network printers: Same as above. I ended up creating documents that showed users how to install and set up network printers as well as Outlook but nobody ever bothered to look. Sometimes when employees tried to set it up they would set it up wrong. This really frustrated me as I made the instructions very detailed and included screen shots as well.


    Besides those issues, it was normal stuff; temp files, IE settings, reg hacks, un-installing/installing applications, and dealing with annoyed end users that were pissed at us for blocking web sites like facebook and pandora.
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  20. Lost a treasure CodeBlox's Avatar
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    #19
    I had a guy get mad at me because on our network he is unable to use macros in MS Office. Per GPO, macros are disabled. Understandable though, he was unable to complete his work because of this haha.

    Common fix for blackberry calls is a wipe and reactivate. Very time consuming though.
    Last edited by CodeBlox; 10-17-2011 at 05:36 AM.
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  21. Senior Member djfunz's Avatar
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    #20
    I think CodeBlox and snokerpoker pretty much summed it up.

    Re-imaging
    Rebooting,
    Reset passwords,
    Mail client configuration,
    Un-installing/installing applications,
    IE settings to proxy etc.
    Blackberry or ipad connection issues,
    VPN configuration,
    Printer setup,
    Documentation writing
    Hardware upgrades or replacement
    Last edited by djfunz; 10-17-2011 at 11:05 AM.
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  22. Nothing clever to say
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    #21
    Quote Originally Posted by djfunz View Post
    I think CodeBlox and snokerpoker pretty much summed it up.

    Re-imaging
    Rebooting,
    Reset passwords,
    Mail client configuration,
    Un-installing/installing applications,
    IE settings to proxy etc.
    Blackberry or ipad connection issues,
    VPN configuration,
    Printer setup,
    Documentation writing
    Hardware upgrades or replacement

    Sounds about right. Usually the first thing I do when someone calls and says "This isn't working" or "I can't seem to be able to..." is if you haven't tried restarting, please do so then let me know if it still happens. A good majority of the time I don't hear back.

    What really bugs me is people that don't know the difference between loging off and restarting. I have a screen shot of the Restart button that I'll attach to e-mails when I need someone to restart.
    Last edited by Tackle; 10-17-2011 at 03:02 PM.
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  23. Senior Member snokerpoker's Avatar
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    #22
    Quote Originally Posted by LucasMN View Post
    Sounds about right. Usually the first thing I do when someone calls and says "This isn't working" or "I can't seem to be able to..." is if you haven't tried restarting, please do so then let me know if it still happens. A good majority of the time I don't hear back.

    What really bugs me is people that don't know the difference between loging off and restarting. I have a screen shot of the Restart button that I'll attach to e-mails when I need someone to restart.
    The whole reboot/log off deal use to happen to me a lot at my last job. It was actually funny..... I would ask someone to reboot, then 5 seconds (or less) later, they would say "ok, do you want me to log in again? It says press ctrl, alt, delete".
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    #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Version4 View Post
    Network settings - the company had a strict set of internal DNS and WINS servers, these were often changed and pointed to public DNS like Google, standard ip settings, we primarily used static IPs, but we had a lot of DHCP resources as well - default gateway missing was also common - if your remote device doesn't have a default gateway, guess what you cant ping?
    When you say these were often changed, do you mean by ordinary users, or by IT admins themselves? If it was the former, could this have been enforced with GPOs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Version4 View Post
    AAA - automate, automate, automate - i was usually the only person adept at any type of scripting or programming on the helpdesk (the REAL developers were overworked and underpaid) - when you find a repetitive task of the more NON critical variety, script it, i actively used batch, vbscript, and powershell - for little clicky apps to distribute to the helpdesk I used C# - for any type of binary file manipulation I used delphi
    Can you give some real examples of this (in terms of what exactly the script does and what you used as matter of preference (powershell over vbscript etc.,) - code would be better, albeit a bit cheeky)

    I am currently looking into this and I would like some real helpdesk examples of automation in action.

    Many thanks.
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  25. Senior Member W Stewart's Avatar
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    #24
    Quote Originally Posted by techie2012 View Post
    That was definitely part of what I would say but I learned that just saying I replaced it with a good part and it works could sometimes lead to more questions. I would have to say that Dell is the easiest to work with to get parts replaced on a machine. Xerox....not so much...
    Yea some people like to take it upon themselves to be detectives but technically swapping with a known good part is enough to allow us to dispatch parts. Without that we need some sort of way to validate to Dell that the part has actually failed or they usually cancel the dispatch. Usually it's diagnostics or isolating the issue down to a single component. If you've already done that then all we really need is the troubleshooting that you've done for documenting purposes but keep in mind Dell is constantly breathing down our shoulder watching what we do and our seniors are always going to question why we're sending certain parts out if the notes aren't detailed enough.
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  26. Senior Member cyberguypr's Avatar
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    #25
    Quote Originally Posted by LucasMN View Post
    What really bugs me is people that don't know the difference between loging off and restarting. I have a screen shot of the Restart button that I'll attach to e-mails when I need someone to restart.
    Sadly it is true. This makes me think about that post from last week with the NASA guy saying help desk will disappear. Obviously he hasn't ever worked corporate IT.
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