Technical Support And Information Sources Computer Science Essay

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Technical support is a team which is responsible to support for individuals and organisations in a variety of ways. They also describe and explain to the customers all information about technology of their products or their services that they provide. Technical support team has people who have a good knowledge about electronic systems, computer systems which included software and hardware. They are able to troubleshoot related problems.

In general, technical support provides technical support to organisation, customers and end-users.

Source of information can be used for a variety of hardware and software related faults?

The information can be gathered from a number of sources such as direct questioning, consulting a fault log or using diagnostic and monitoring tools.

Finding out information:

Direct questioning

If the organisation, customers or end-users has any problems with the product or service, they will contact to get some helps from technical support. They will contact by phone or face to face and the technical support specialists need to find out as much as possible what the problem is. Then they can make decision how they can resolve the problem. But before accepting the calls from customers or users, they may need to check that the customer or user is entitled to their support services. They may require the customer or user to give correct username and password, account number or some personal details. They also can ask the customer some question for clarification, or further questions to ensure that they have a good understanding of the problem. In general, direct questioning is an important technique which is used in information gathering because it is flexible.

Fault logs

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Fault log is a record of events that occurred and it may include the information about how the fault was fixed. Most business organisations have the computer rooms that can be used by many different users, so they need to have a written fault log that is regularly checked by technical staffs. The technical staffs will identify and remedy any faults that have been reported by users. A log should be maintained for each computer system. When the computer system is broken down, the technical staff will need the information from the fault logs such as when the equipment was obtained, when the software was installed or what setting have been used. Fault log will record what happen with computer system and how it was fixed. A fault log may be kept manually or it may be create automatically by software.

Diagnostics and Monitoring tools

Another way that helps the technical staffs to define a particular problem is using diagnostic and monitoring tools. The technician can ask the system directly by using diagnostic and monitoring tools such as the POST (Power on Self-Test). When the computer system is turned on, the POST will check the hardware to make sure everything is working correctly before the OS is loaded and run. There are three types that the problems can be occurred. They are following:

If there are problems before the screen is functioning, a sequence of beeps is used to indicate the nature of the faults.

If the problem is occurred after the screen is functioning, an error code will be showed on the screen. This error code will show which device is not working properly.

If the problem is occurred while computer is running, the user or technical staffs can use Event Viewer. The Event Viewer is monitoring tool that is included with OS window. It can be used to manage and view these events. It also can be used to track security events and identify possible software, hardware and system problems. The event viewer interface will contain a series of event logs that can be viewed by either a user or a technician. This particular log contains a series of entries that consist of information, warnings and errors.

Checking the problems:

Some information's sources are more reliable than others. So when processing the information, the user or technical staff needs to make sure that the information is valid.

Cross-reference checks with user

When the technical staffs are talking with the users or customers about the problems, they can call up data on their computer system which is including the current information and configurations of the user's computer. The technical staff also can check that other users are experiencing the same problems on a particular system.

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Confirmation from a number of users that a particular fault exists or that the fault is of a particular nature will give the technician confidence in how to approach a formal diagnosis and remedy. But the information may be out of date because the users or customers may have upgraded the equipment or installed a more modern OS. So the technical staffs should confirm the information with the user during the initial conversation. When the users and customers may not be able to answer the questions, the technical staff should help and direct them to how they can find out the answers.

Problem reproduction

After asking the customers or users some simple direct questions to indentify who they are and what the problems are, the technical staff need to find out exactly what the problem is and how to fix it. The users or the customers may jump to conclusions and suggest things that are wrong with the computer rather than just giving the technical staff facts. So the best way for a technician to identify and diagnose a fault is to see the problem. If the fault is intermittent, it may prove difficult to reproduce the fault in the workshop. In this case, the users or customers need to takes screenshots of any error messages and prints these to be used as reference material as and when the system is being repaired. The problem reproduction is a useful strategy. Asking the users or customers to talk through what went wrong can reveal important information that the user may not told the technical staffs. One more important fact is the date when the problem was first noticed. If any new hardware or software was installed immediately before the fault appeared, this might be to blame. To fix this problem, the technical staffs can take the users back to a time when the computer was working. This way will help the users to think through the events that led up to the problems and exactly as it happened. This may reveal vital clues but it is still important to keep an open mind and to consider alternative sources of the problem.

Manufacturer's website

Manufacturer's websites are a valuable source of information. If an application fails to work, the user or customer can search the manufacture's website for the latest information about known bugs in the system. The information is accessed through an open forum which is clearly going to be significantly less reliable than a manufacturer's own website. Individuals providing technical advice of any kind must make sure that they are doing so supported by accurate and valid information. Further sources of such information are discussed in the following section.

Source of information:

Product specifications and manuals

Most products are sold with a product specification and a technical manual. Product specification is written by the manufacture of the product. It contains all the information and details of product's technical. A manual also is written by the manufacturer but it is used to explain how to make the best use of a hardware or software. Some manufacturers store product specifications and manuals in CD or DVD as PDF file. The CD or DVD will have all information about the main features of the product, or a video on troubleshooting.

Colleagues with specialist expertise

This is the best source of information because the users or technical staffs can get the technical information from people around them such as colleagues and friends. Those people can offer their experience in solving problems, but they must to find right people to ask. If they ask to wrong people so it means that they get wrong information and these information can not be used. The advantage of this source of information is the users can ask further questions if they are unsure that they fully understand a process, an answer or an explanation.

Knowledge bases

Using a knowledge base may involve searching for information which is relevant to the problem that the users want to try solving. The technical support can draw on a knowledge base to help them decide on a course of action. There is a range of knowledge bases that are available on the internet, but the technician support or the users must be very careful about relying on information that may not be valid or correct.

Fault records showing previously found solutions

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A fault log is most useful when it lists not only the problems that were encountered but also the way in which they were solved. A fault log that includes the name of the technical support that solved a particular fault will allow the users contact them if they have encountered a similar fault and need specialist help. The historical information of previous faults and remedies will be essential for the technician support that will effectively be able to learn from other people's experiences.

Internet source (e.g.: FAQs and technical forums)

The internet is the very useful source of information which helps the user or technician to resolve technical problems. There are two main information's sources on the internet which are FAQs and technical forum. FAQs stand for Frequently Asked Questions which can solve the most common problems for users with minimal effort for the help desk staff. The manufacturers' websites usually contain FAQs about their products or services. This is where they use to list the information. This is also a place that the problems will be resolved and the questions of users about the product or service will be answered. The technical forum is a place where the users and technician can talk and discuss about the product or service. Technical forums can be a useful route to finding answers to both simple and complex problems.

What hardware and software related questions could you be asked by users requiring technical support and how would you handle each of these questions?

Question 1: My computer may be hacked by virus and my anti-virus software is not working? How can I fix it?

As a technician, I tried to turn on their computer and I can see their computer being attacked by a virus. I have checked the current anti-virus software that they use. Their computer is currently using Norton anti virus software and this software is expired. So the customers should renew the software if they want to use it to protect their computers.

Question 2: What can I do if the virus still in the computer system even that anti-virus software is working?

In this case, I will tell the customers that they should format the hard drive and install new OS software. But before formatting, they should back up all important data and information to external storage devices.

Question 3: My computer would boot up but then after 5-10 mins, it would shut itself down. What is this problem?

Firstly, I will ask some question to the customers get more information about what happen with their computers and then I give them my opinion. I think that the computer may be attacked by virus because this problem is a symptom of virus attack or the hardware of computer may be faulty.

If the problem occurs by virus, I will use the newest version of anti virus software to find and delete the virus.

If the problem occurs by hardware faulty, I open the computer system and check the hardware of computer. I think that problem is electrical faults which can lie within a hardware component, in the cabling that connects these components or in the connectors between the cabling and the components. The hardware that I will check are: motherboard, PSU, CPU, RAM, etc…