The General Troubleshooting Process

The general troubleshooting process is composed of three major stages:

1. Gather Symptoms

2. Isolate the Problem

3. Correct the Problem

The spirit of this model is that gathering symptoms and any relevant data should help eliminate what is not the problem and lead you toward what might be the problem. After you have isolated the problem, you can correct it. These stages are not independent, and each of them involves several tasks. Not all problems are solved in a 1-2-3 fashion; in fact, few are. At times, you might have to hop back and forth between two stages before you succeed. For example, while you are trying to correct a problem, your action might cause another unidentified problem. As a result, you need to gather more symptoms, isolate the new problem, and correct it. Figure 4-1 depicts the stages of this general troubleshooting process, the order of their execution, and how they can result in a solution in one or more iterations.

Figure 4-1 The General Troubleshooting Process

Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3

Figure 4-1 The General Troubleshooting Process

Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3

Each stage of the troubleshooting process and all the tasks associated with each stage need to be formally defined and carefully described. Many organizations have policies regarding how each stage should be executed so that it is guaranteed to succeed. The way changes are made (usually one at the time), authorized, and subsequently documented are also usually enforced rigorously.

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