BEST WINDOWS TROUBLESHOOTING TOOLS

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WHAT IS WINDOWS OS?

Microsoft Windows, commonly referred to as Windows, is a group of several proprietary graphical operating system families, all of which are developed and marketed by Microsoft. Each family caters to a certain sector of the computing industr

Microsoft Windows, also called Windows and Windows OS, computer operating system (OS) developed by Microsoft Corporation to run personal computers (PCs). Featuring the first graphical user interface (GUI) for IBM-compatible PCs, the Windows OS soon dominated the PC market.

WHAT IS TROUBLESHOOTING IN WINDOWS OS

Troubleshooting is a systematic process used to locate the cause of a fault in a computer system and correct the relevant hardware and software issues. Approaching problem solving using a logical and methodical approach is essential to successful resolution.

WHAT IS WINDOWS TROUBLESHOOTER?

On Windows 10, troubleshooters are small tools that you can run on your device to diagnose and automatically fix common problems, such as network and printer connectivity, Windows Update, Bluetooth, and a lot more.

Troubleshooters have been part of Windows for a long time, but until the Windows 10 Creators Update they were buried inside Control Panel — now you can find them with ease in the settings app

In this Windows 10 guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to use the new Troubleshoot page in the Settings app to fix common issues on your PC, laptop, or tablet.

To start or stop the services in real time, we can use the Services console. The Services console (MMC snap-in) lists detailed information about each service and provides management options. This is the same list as in msconfig, however it provides more information and more management options. Keep in mind that services need some type of authentication to be able to start. By default, most services work with local system account, but we can specify another account to be used when the service wants to start.

To start or stop the services in real time, we can use the Services console. The Services console (MMC snap-in) lists detailed information about each service and provides management options. This is the same list as in msconfig, however it provides more information and more management options. Keep in mind that services need some type of authentication to be able to start. By default, most services work with local system account, but we can specify another account to be used when the service wants to start.

Troubleshooting requires an organized and logical approach to problems with computers and other components. Sometimes issues arise during preventive maintenance. At other times, customers may contact you with problems. Taking a logical approach to troubleshooting allows you to eliminate variables and identify causes of problems in a systematic order. Asking the right questions, testing the right hardware, and examining the right data helps you understand the problem and form a proposed solution.

Troubleshooting is a skill that you refine over time. Each time you solve a problem, you increase your troubleshooting skills by gaining more experience. You learn how and when to combine steps, or skip steps, to reach a solution quickly. The troubleshooting process is a guideline that is modified to fit your needs.

This section presents an approach to problem solving that you can apply to both hardware and software.

NOTE

The term customer, as used in this book, refers to any user who requires technical computer assistance.

Before you begin troubleshooting problems, always follow the necessary precautions to protect data on a computer. Some repairs, such as replacing a hard drive or reinstalling an operating system, might put the data on the computer at risk. Make sure you do everything possible to prevent data loss while attempting repairs. If your work results in data loss for the customer, you or your company could be held liable.

Data Backup

data backup is a copy of the data on a computer hard drive that is saved to another storage device or to cloud storage. Cloud storage is online storage that is accessed via the Internet. In an organization, backups may be performed on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

If you are unsure about whether a backup has been done, do not attempt any troubleshooting activities until you check with the customer. Here is a list of items to verify with the customer regarding whether a backup has been performed:

  • Date of the last backup
  • Contents of the backup
  • Data integrity of the backup
  • Availability of all backup media for a data restore

If the customer does not have a current backup and you are not able to create one, ask the customer to sign a liability release form. A liability release form contains at least the following information:

  • Permission to work on the computer without having a current backup available
  • Release from liability if data is lost or corrupted
  • Description of the work to be performed

Troubleshooting Process Steps

The troubleshooting process steps are as follows:

  • Step 1. Identify the problem.
  • Step 2. Establish a theory of probable cause.
  • Step 3. Test the theory to determine the cause.
  • Step 4. Establish a plan of action to resolve the problem and implement the solution.
  • Step 5. Verify full system functionality and, if applicable, implement preventive measures.
  • Step 6. Document findings, actions, and outcomes.

Identify the Problem

The first step in the troubleshooting process is to identify the problem. During this step, gather as much information as possible from the customer and from the computer.

Conversation Etiquette

When you are talking to a customer, follow these guidelines:

  • Ask direct questions to gather information.
  • Do not use industry jargon.
  • Do not talk down to the customer.
  • Do not insult the customer.
  • Do not accuse the customer of causing the problem.

lists some of the information to gather from the customer.

Customer informationCompany nameContact nameAddressPhone number
Computer configurationManufacturer and modelOperating systemNetwork environmentConnection type
Problem descriptionOpen-ended questionsClosed-ended questions
Error messages
Beep sequences
LEDs
POST
Open-Ended and Closed-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions allow customers to explain the details of the problem in their own words. Use open-ended questions to obtain general information.

Based on the information from the customer, you can proceed with closed-ended questions. A closed-ended questions generally requires a yes or no answer.

Documenting Responses

Document the information from the customer in the work order, in the repair log, and in your repair journal. Write down anything that you think might be important for you or another technician. The small details often lead to the solution of a difficult or complicated problem.

Beep Codes

Each BIOS manufacturer has a unique beep sequence, a combination of long and short beeps, for hardware failures. When troubleshooting, power on the computer and listen. As the system proceeds through the POST, most computers emit one beep to indicate that the system is booting properly. If there is an error, you might hear multiple beeps. Document the beep code sequence and research the code to determine the specific problem.

BIOS Information

If the computer boots and stops after the POST, investigate the BIOS settings. A device might not be detected or configured properly. Refer to the motherboard documentation to ensure that the BIOS settings are correct.

List Of Best Troubleshooting Tools In Windows


Windows Diagnostic Infrastructure (WDI)

Starting from Windows 7 we have a Windows Diagnostic Infrastructure (WDI) available. WDI is a set of diagnostic tools that identify existing disk, network and memory problems. They detect failures and alert us of potential problems. WDI can show us information about existing problems and help us prevent future problems.

Task Manager

Task Manager is a classic tool which we can use to shut down unresponsive programs or processes. From Windows Vista we have a new tab in Task Manager – the Services tab. On Services tab we can see a list of running services. We can also see a resource overview on the Resources tab. We have a separate article in which we describe task manager

Windows Memory Diagnostics Tool (WMDT)

Starting from Windows Vista, we have a Memory Diagnostics tool available on the Windows system. This tool is used to monitor for defective physical memory in relation to program crashes. It will automatically warn us if it finds any errors. If the WMDT identifies a memory problem, it will mark the defective part of physical memory and prevent it from being used, so that the OS can start successfully and avoid application problems. In most cases, Windows will automatically detect possible memory problems and then ask the user to run the WMDT. However, we can also scan our memory manually. Manual scan is available in different places in different versions of Windows. For example, in Windows Vista it can be found in Help and Support section, in Windows 7 we can find it in Administrative Tools in Control Panel, etc. Another thing we can do is boot our computer from the Windows installation DVD and find  memory diagnostics tool in “Repair my computer” section. Manual scan will test our memory for errors, notify us if any errors exist and log the details of the scan. The test itself can take several minutes.

Windows Network Diagnostics Tool

This tool will perform several tests to troubleshoot network connectivity or performance issues. If there are problems with the connection, this tool will try to diagnose the problem and present some possible solutions. It can be used to troubleshoot different network problems such as Internet connectivity, issues connecting to a shared folder, HomeGroup connectivity issues, and even network printer problems. WNDT will automatically run when it detects a problem.

Problem Reports and Solutions Tool

This tool will automatically check for problems in Windows related to installations and applications. We can also run this tool manually if we have particular problem. This tool also enables us to view the problem history. We can also check for new solutions on the Internet. We can always clear solution and problem history.

Startup and Recovery Options

To manage and maintain startup and recovery settings, we can use the Startup and Recovery options which are available in the System Properties Advanced tab. Here we can specify the default operating system for the startup as well as select a number of seconds in which the list of operating systems will be displayed. This way, if we have a dual-boot or multi-boot system, we can choose which of the operating system will boot by default, and how long the list of operating systems will be displayed before the default OS is booted. We can also choose what will happen if our system stops unexpectedly.

Startup Repair Tool

SRT is used to troubleshoot startup problems. SRT will start automatically if the system detects a startup failure. In order for SRT to work, we have to have Windows Recovery Environment pre-installed (for operating systems before Windows 7). SRT is also available on the Windows installation DVD, so we can use it manually if we boot from the DVD. SRT is used during the boot process to repair common problems automatically. By using this tool we can try and repair the system that will not boot. SRT will try to repair missing or incompatible drivers, system files, boot configuration settings, registry settings, and disk metadata (Master Boot Record or Partition Table). After the SRT finishes repairing the OS, Windows will notify us of what happened and how it was repaired. If SRT wasn’t able to fix the problem, it will roll back the system to a last known working state. If this step is not successful, SRT will provide diagnostics information and support options so we can try and fix the problem on our own. SRT can’t be used to repair hardware problems. We can always run the SRT manually by booting our computer using the Windows installation media and finding the SRT under the “Repair my computer” section.

System Configuration Utility

If we have problems during the startup of the system (after the Windows boots, but during the user logon), we can use the System Configuration utility (msconfig.exe) to troubleshoot the Windows startup process. Msconfig can be used to modify which programs and services run at startup. It can also be used to perform a diagnostics of startup that loads a minimum set of drivers, programs and services. We can also customize a selected startup and control whether to load all or only some of the system services. We have to be careful when disabling certain services because some of the services, applications or even the whole system might depend on the service that we want to disable. Keep in mind that Msconfig will no alter the current state of the service. We have to reboot our computer when we disable a service in msconfig, because it only marks it for being disabled.

Services Console

To start or stop the services in real time, we can use the Services console. The Services console (MMC snap-in) lists detailed information about each service and provides management options. This is the same list as in msconfig, however it provides more information and more management options. Keep in mind that services need some type of authentication to be able to start. By default, most services work with local system account, but we can specify another account to be used when the service wants to start

How to troubleshoot and fix problems on Windows 10

If something is not working correctly on your computer, and you’re running the Windows 10 Creators Update, then you can run a troubleshooter to resolve the issue.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & security.
  3. Click on Troubleshoot.
  4. Select the troubleshooter that best describe your issue, and click the Run the troubleshooter button to start the process.

Depending on the problem that you’re trying to fix, you may need to follow additional on-screen directions, then the troubleshooter will correct the issue automatically, or it’ll give you an option to apply or skip the fix. At the end, you can click the View detailed information link to see a report of issues found, and what was checked and fixed.

troubleshooting report windows10

Windows 10 troubleshooters explained

The Troubleshoot page is divided into two sections, including “Get up and running” and “Find and fix other problems” featuring 19 troubleshooters in total to fix a variety of problems on Windows 10.

Get up and running

The “Get up and running” section contains the troubleshooters to fix the most common problems on Windows 10, including:

  • Internet Connections: Diagnoses and fixes internet connectivity related issues, or if you’re having problems loading a web page.
  • Playing Audio: Finds and addresses common sound problems.
  • Printer: Diagnoses and fixes problems connecting to a printer, including driver and spooler issues.
  • Windows Update: Detects problems that make block updates from downloading and installing on your PC.

Find and fix other problems

The “Find and fix other problems” section is where you’ll find the most troubleshooters, but these are to fix less common problems on Windows 10:

  • Blue Screen: Diagnoses errors that may be causing Windows 10 to fail and restart without reason. If the troubleshooter isn’t able to resolve the issue, you can use our comprehensive guide to fix a blue screen of death (Bsod)on your pc.
  • Bluetooth: Troubleshoots and fixes a number of Bluetooth issues connecting to other devices.
  • Hardware and Devices: Detects hardware changes and addresses problems, such as drivers issues and other hardware related problems.
  • HomeGroup: Diagnoses and addresses problems sharing files and viewing computers on a HomeGroup.
  • Incoming Connections: Finds and detects Windows Firewall related problems, such as issues sharing files, connecting using Remote Desktop Connection, finding a PC on the network and more.
  • Keyboard: Addresses keyboard settings related problems.
  • Network Adapter: Diagnoses and fixes problems with Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and Bluetooth adapters not working properly.
  • Power: Scans and adjusts power settings to conserve and extend battery life.
  • Program Compatibility Troubleshooter: Allows you to change the compatibility mode of older programs to get it working again on Windows 10.
  • Recording Audio: Finds and addresses issues that may be preventing you from using the microphone to record audio.
  • Search and Indexing: Fixes specific Windows Search problems, such as search or indexing slowing down your PC, or files and emails not appearing in search results.
  • Share Folders: If you’re sharing a folder, but other computers in the network can’t access its content, this troubleshooter finds and fixes most common sharing problems.
  • Speech: Diagnoses and fixes issues with your microphone.
  • Video Playback: Checks for potential issues with video driver and protected audio to fix problems with movies, TV shows, and video not playing.
  • Windows Store Apps: Finds and fixes problems, such as issues with the Windows Store cache, security or misconfigured settings, Microsoft account, and other problems that may prevent apps from updating or working properly.

What are the advantages of troubleshooting?

This helps technicians find the right problems and solutions more quickly. When troubleshooting is done correctly, your whole maintenance operation can overcome backlog, lost production, and compliance issues much more efficiently

IN CONCLUSION

While you won’t be able to fix every problem on Windows 10, using these troubleshooters is a good place to start to get your computer performing as it should.

On the Creators Update, you can still find troubleshooters in Control Panel, but it may not be for long as Microsoft will eventually retire the experience in favor of the modern Settings app.

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