What to do first

About this page

This page is a guide to self-help troubleshooting steps you can take to make your help desk call more productive.

Before you call the help desk

If you are experiencing computing problems, please go through the following checklist and have this information available before you contact your desktop support, or us, or the Help Desk. This will help your service provider a great deal understanding the problem at hand and in assisting you in a timely fashion.

Basic items you might want to have in your checklist:

  • Is the system on?
  • Is everything plugged in? Do not plug it in if there is any indication that doing so will be unsafe.
  • Do you see any loose/unplugged cables?
  • Does your machine have power?
  • Does the office area have power?
  • Has the brightness or contrast been turned down/up on the monitor?
  • Has the power strip blown a fuse? Is it still plugged in?
  • Has anything changed, been upgraded or modified on your system since your system was last working properly?
  • Has the machine been moved?
  • Are others experiencing the same problem?
  • Can you get the problem to reoccur after rebooting your machine?
  • Are you typing your password and user name correctly? Is the caps lock key on? (passwords and user names may be case sensitive)
  • Are you using the correct user name for the system you are trying to access?
  • How long has this problem been going on?
  • When did it last work properly?
  • Were there any other symptoms like scorch marks, a funny smell or smoke coming from your computer? Do not try to start any computer that appears as though it may be damaged, unsafe to use or that has any exposed wiring!

If you are still experiencing a problem after you have done the above-mentioned basic troubleshooting, please provide us the following information when you call-in the problem:

  1. Make and model of the computer or other hardware.
  2. Operating system and version (e.g. Windows Seven/Eight/XP, Mac OS X 10.?).
  3. Exact text of any error messages.
  4. Describe briefly what you were trying to do and what happened, as exactly as you can describe the sequence of events that led to the problem (e.g. the commands issued, or procedures followed).
  5. Name and version of the software (if you suspect that it is a software problem).
  6. If known, the hardware component failing (if you suspect that it is a hardware problem).
  7. If a networking problem, what are you unable to access is it just your system or the entire office/building? (What are you able to access and not access?)

Either contact your service provider, us or, if you do not know whom to call:

If you are seeking assistance with SJSU IT systems and are contacting SJSU via phone and/or Internet you should go directly to the new SJSU IT Help Desk website.