I am amazed how often I hear people say “the server is down” and they seem to use it to describe any and every computer malfunction. It has become synonymous with “I’m having trouble and its someone else’s fault.”
I can’t diagnose if the server is “up” or “down”…but there are some a very simple rules of thumb to troubleshoot any problem.
- Start at the observed problem and work backwards. If the fan at the end of my extension cord doesn’t work, I don’t call the power company to see if their generators stopped working. First, I start at the fan and check the switch. Then I check the cord. Then I check the outlet. Then I check the breaker.
- Look at the most recent change. If my spreadsheet worked fine yesterday, then the formula I edited today is the most likely source of my problem. If the car worked fine when I parked it, perhaps I left it in gear or forgot to turn the lights off.
- Occams Razor – Look for the simplest explanation. Today’s world is full of complicated systems, but the problem is usually caused by typing the wrong email address, hitting the wrong button, or forgetting to pay the electric bill.
- When stuck, walk away and take a deep breath. I often find that taking a break (even for 5 minutes) is enough to stimulate fresh thought or help me see something new.
I hope this helps. If you didn’t learn anything from this post….at least learn to stop saying “the server is down”…
Thanks for listening.