Top 10 PC Issues seen by Espria IT Helpdesk

Typically, accounts only become locked if someone enters their password incorrectly a certain number of times, depending on a business’s password policy.  Whilst this is an easy fix, it can be frustrating for users who are unable to gain access to their systems whilst waiting for us to unlock their account. 

Quick checks before entering passwords into machines are to make sure the Caps Lock isn’t on and, if you get it wrong twice, just slow down and check each key as you type to make sure you aren’t pressing something incorrectly.

Most of our home / mobile users are utilising some kind of VPN to connect back in to their office to gain access to legacy systems that are not Cloud compatible. VPN connectivity is dependent on several elements all being in place including a working internet connection from the device, associated access software correctly configured, VPN permissions being set and any security tokens / groups being enabled as required, in addition to MFA being operational in some circumstances.

It is always worth checking in the first instance, if you are in a public area, that the Network you are on permits connections to private VPN services as some will block this.  Typically most VPN issues can be resolved by resetting the credentials however – the locked account mentioned above can prevent access without your users realising.

As we travel and work from differing locations connectivity is key.  Almost everywhere we go there will be some kind of Wireless service available, although these may not always be accessible to us.  In the majority of areas, where Wifi access is permitted, we will be able to connect with no problems, however there are a number of occasions where access to Wifi Networks can prove problematic.

In some cases, if this is a Wifi network you have used before, simply “forgetting” the saved details you have for the network and then reconnecting will get you back on again – maybe the security settings have changed since you last used it and a refresh is required to get connected again.  Instances where you are required to enter a passcode to connect, check the syntax carefully – a lower case L can look a lot like a number 1, for example – so simple mistakes in translation can prevent access from being permitted.

Email is now the main tool that business uses for communication, both internal and with external customers and suppliers so its seamless operation and accessibility is a given.  There are occasions though that this isn’t the case and messages don’t update into our Inbox, even though we are connected to the Internet successfully.

Outlook has a simple way of instantly knowing the status of your connection – look at the bottom for the “Connected to: Microsoft Exchange” text.  If that’s there, great, all should be good.  If it’s not, the status there will give you an indication as to what the problem is.  It’s also worth noting that, by default, Outlook will not download messages on a “Metered” connection (such as a Mobile Phone Wifi Hotspot) unless you allow it so if using this again this is a simple check and Outlook will alert you near the top if this is the case.

Much of our communication and documentation that is generated is electronic and there is always a push to reduce paper usage to help with the environment, printed documents in the office still need to be generated and processed as required.  And when the print system fails, this can cause much frustration to many.

Unfortunately, most Printing issues would need to be investigated by an IT Support representative as there are many factors in the (seemingly) simple process that are outside the control of your machine.  It’s always worth the printer hasn’t been put into offline mode on your machine and also to see if you have a good network connection (can you open files from the systems?) as these can prevent print jobs from being processed accordingly.

New applications are always becoming available that workers will require to enhance their job deliverables.  Some software is free, but the majority is license or subscription controlled.

For some clients, we look after their licensing for them and when a new requirement is identified the additional software is purchased and deployed as needed.  It may be that there are restrictions in place that would prevent users from adding applications themselves, so a check with our Helpdesk first to make sure all is well and then permissions are granted to apply the application(s) to the system.

Software programs are how we interact with our computers so it is paramount that they are working and responding as required.  Unfortunately, this is not always the case and failures occur.

Always the first thing to try, and it is a cliché, is turning it off and on again.  An application crash can cause an unstable system and trying to open the application again will not achieve a successful result.  Some applications once crashed can be terminated from Task Manager so this is worth looking in as well.  If you are opening a file directly from the desktop / file explorer and the application crashes during the file open process, it is worth opening the application natively and then trying to open the file from within the program to eliminate the file as being the problem and not the actual application itself.  If the file still crashes, try another, is it all or just a single corrupt file?

As already mentioned, email is a key communication tool we all use daily.  And there is much frustration when you are waiting for an email to arrive and it just doesn’t come through.

It’s always worth checking your “Spam” or “Junk” email folders first in case the message has been tagged in some way as possible rubbish but still delivered; messages in there can then be marked as “Not Spam” as required.  Some systems we provide will provide a higher-level of external Spam protection which again could be blocking genuine messages from getting through so it is worth checking with us to see if this is the case.  We can then whitelist the message and allow it through.  If neither of the above are helping, you could talk to the sender to see if they are getting any bounceback that could help with identifying where the issue is as we can then use this information to try and open the delivery path.

We all expect everything to be instant and readily available but when things start to slow down it has an effect on our work and productivity.  Slow internet may not necessarily be that but there could be other factors contributing to the problem.

Is it just your machine affected or are others around you also experiencing the same?  Is it all internet services or just one particular website?  Is it a specific time of day, regularly?  Is your email working fine or is that affected too?  All of the above questions can point to a different kind of connectivity issue which may or may not be internet related so the more information and background you can provide before progressing can help resolve the problem much quicker.

Most modern PC’s and Laptops have local hard drive storage which should see the user through for several years.  However, particularly with machines of around 3 years or more in age, this is not always the case and performance can start to slow and messages appear advising of low disk space.

A “Disk Clean-up” can be run from within Windows to identify unwanted / unnecessary files to instantly free up space and get you working again and this can be run locally as any user.  However, if that process doesn’t help, it could be that applications that write temporary files out during their operation have been hogging space and are in need of a tidy-up, which the helpdesk can assist with.