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Re: [LUG] User Troubleshooting


On Tue, 28 Jan 2014 21:22:34 +0000, bad apple <mr.meowski@xxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Good luck with that... Trust me, it's never going to happen short of
> assigning regular IT lessons to all staff, and even then, you'll rapidly
> hit the wall of diminishing returns. You have two options:
> 1: Very extensive, expertly configured and bullet proof network and
> systems infrastructure complete with fault logging, SMNP monitoring,
> reporting agents on all network connected devices, etc. From what I've
> gathered, your organisation likely can't afford the time or money for
> that kind of heavy duty set-up and probably isn't big enough to require
> or even particularly want all the extra overhead.

Well we have server monitoring, although there's only two of us capable of
fixing it if turning it off and on again doesn't work :-)

> 2: Teach all your users to hit "Print Screen" and copy/paste the
> relevant errors into Microsoft Paint and save it as fault.X.Y.Z.jpg,
> where X.Y.Z are variables such as username, date and location. That way,
> the admins actually have meaningful error messages to diagnose.

That's not actually a bad idea, even if they just do a print screen and
paste it straight into an e-mail it could be helpful in some cases
(assuming there's nothing confidential on the screen shot).

> I have been down your route many, many times and it simply can't be done
> - this is why in my opinion probably the most valuable skill for a
> sysadmin is to be able to talk effectively and considerately with
> clueless end users and gently tease the exact issues out of them in as
> short a time as possible (and I say that as a died in the wool BOFH
> sysadmin who would rather simply shoot all my users if at all possible).

I try to do this at the moment.  I've seen recently I'm getting more... Oh
Rob, can you look at this? type of jobs.

One great one today was an e-mail at 4:15pm asking if I could move an
office around (including network and phones).  Luckily they hadn't started
moving it and I politely explained that yes, I would be happy to help them
and make sure that everything worked, but it would take a bit more time, at
least to do it neatly and they would have to hang on until I had a bit more
time.  At least they didn't do what was previously done by another
department, everything moved and they wondered why it magically didn't just
work. :-)

> For example, I've had a client emailing me constantly for a while that
> his "email doesn't work" - yes, that's right, he emails me to tell me
> his email is broken. *rolls eyes*

Hahahaha!  That's got to be worse than my "The internet isn't working"
one, to be fair that was a VPN issue and one of our internet connections
was down.  I did explain to the user the different between the Intranet
(which runs over the VPN) and the Internet (Google etc).

> It took two days for him to finally follow instructions and send me:
> Windows Live Mail Error ID: 0x8CCC0002
> After that I had him fixed in a couple of minutes. This is what you're
> up against my friend. Don't hate your users (well, you can: I certainly
> do sometimes but I never, ever let it show) but as you've wisely pointed
> out, they've been hired for their expertise in their specific jobs, not
> computing. That's your job chief!

That must have been frustrating.  In previous roles I've had users who
just wouldn't answer the phone to helpdesks, not reply to e-mails etc, I
guess some users you just can't help.  Luckily the users I support now are
a pretty good bunch and they usually make themselves available if they can
or maybe tell someone else in the office what's wrong.

> Your best chance is to 'adopt' the brightest, most IT capable person in
> each area/dept and try and make them into the contact point for the
> other less able users around them. Your onsite friend will usually catch
> the most obvious things (it's not plugged in...) immediately and will,
> with a little coaching, soon be on top of things like screenshotting
> error codes for you. But watch out, if one dept is getting a lot of
> problems you will soon be in trouble with your manager because your
> appointed point-of-contact staff member will rapidly end up doing more
> amateur IT troubleshooting than the job they were actually hired to do.

I've done this in previous places, one was a radio station I worked at
covering 6 sites across Devon & Somerset, really was helpful.  We kind of
have something like this in place (one of the staff in one of our bigger
offices which I'm not based at) will take screen shots and e-mail them over
or let me know error messages which helps.  The other two sites with less
technical users aren't big sites anyway with only a couple of users.

> We tried adopting this exact approach in the NHS with a point of contact
> in each department and ran into this exact problem with managers
> complaining that a ward clerk was now spending 50% of the day on IT.
> Project was binned, all the work went straight back to helldesk instead.

Ahh I see.  One day I dream of some sort of automated helpdesk system that
we can just install as a Debian package and have it answer basic queries
and log calls efficiently :-) (kind of like what my Android phone does with
Google, it's sometimes smart enough to anticipate what I'm going to do and
find the answer before I even think about it).

> Good luck, you're going to need it.



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