General Software Troubleshooting Techniques

One of the ongoing mysteries that all Mac users experience at one time or another is what might be called the now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t problem. This gremlin plagues you for a while and then mysteriously vanishes without any intervention on your part. (It also tends not to occur when you ask your tech-savvy brother-in-law or someone from the IT department to troubleshoot the problem.) When this happens, most people just shake their heads and resume working, grateful to no longer have to deal with the problem.

Tracking down the problem

Unfortunately, most computer ills don’t just disappear. For more intractable problems, your first order of business is to track down the source of the glitch. There’s no easy or set way to go about this, but it can be done if you take a systematic approach. Over the years, I’ve found that the best approach is to ask a series of questions designed to gather the required information and/or to narrow down what might be the culprit:

bullet.tif Did you get an error message? Unfortunately, most computer error messages are obscure and do little to help you resolve a problem directly. However, error codes and error text can help you down the road, either by giving you something to search for in an online database or by providing information to a tech support person. Therefore, you should always write down the full text of ...

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