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Basic Steps to Try Before Calling Support

Published: Mar 22, 2016
Post Author Written by David Youngquist

Having problems with an application? Before you decide to call support, there are few basic steps that anyone can try first. These are general steps that you can apply to any software, not just eOne software. Trying some basic troubleshooting steps before contacting support can save you a lot of time waiting around for a support tech to fix a simple problem.

 

  • Always try restarting the application first. I can’t tell you how many times I have been on a support call, where the person has been in the application for 3 hours trying the same thing over and over to fix the issue. The very first thing you should do when you are using software and getting unexpected results is to close the application and relaunch it.

 

 

  • If restarting the application doesn’t fix it, reboot the computer. I talk with a lot of people that are either leaving their computers on 24×7 or just allowing the computer to go to sleep instead of shutting them down at night. If you are getting unusual results in an application, and restarting the application does not resolve, rebooting the computer should always be the next step.

 

 

  • Determine if the problem is user specific or workstation specific. This can be a little more difficult to determine, however it’s still within the abilities of the average end user. To do this, you have to have people switch machines and switch logins. The basic steps for this would be as follows:

 

  • User David is getting an error using an application on his workstation. User Erik is using the same application on his workstation, and not getting an error. The problem could either be with their user login, or the specific machine they are using, however we don’t know which one is the problem.
  • In order to determine which it is, have David login to Erik’s computer, and have Erik login to David’s computer. If David still gets the same error on Erik’s workstation, but Erik is able to successfully use the application on David’s computer, then the issue is related to David’s login and not to his computer. If David does not get an error, and now Erik gets the error, then the error is related to David’s computer and not his login.
  • If the error is computer related, typically the first thing I will do is reload the application on the machine that gets the error. If the error follows the user from workstation to workstation, then you need to focus on user security and determine how David’s user login differs from Erik’s. The permissions you need to check can be determined by the type of security the application is using.

     

    • If you are getting an actual error message, read the message carefully and see if the error message is telling you what is wrong, or at least point you in the right direction. Some error messages can be pretty cryptic, getting a Windows error that says, “An unspecified error occurred during System Restore. (0x8000ffff)” doesn’t give you a lot to go on. However if you get an eConnect error that says “The Customer Class ID is empty, when using Customer Class Rolldown, a Customer Class is required”, that is telling you the exact issue and the problem should be easy to correct if you read through the message carefully enough.

     

     

    • If you have the exact error message, see if the software you are using has a Knowledge base or a FAQ section on their website. Then type in the exact error message into whatever search engine they have on their website. Most companies that produce software will have some sort of website and contain help articles or frequently asked questions. For example, the eOne Knowledge Base can be accessed here: eOne Help Articles.

     

     

    • If the company does not have any sort of help articles, or the search comes up empty, then Google is your friend. Using whatever search engine you normally prefer to use, type the exact error message into a search engine and see what comes up. Normally if you run into an error message, you are normally not the only person in the world that has gotten this message, and someone else has either searched for it or posted an article about it. There are many times when I cannot find the exact error on the manufacturers website, however when I use Google to do a web search, I end up finding the answer to my issue on some random forum post or blog article somewhere.

     

    When you have already tried all of the above, and you still haven’t found the solution, then it would be time to contact support. My next blog article will give you tips on what information you should gather before contacting support.

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