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Windows 7: Slartybart's salutation

23 May 2012   #1

x64 (6.3.9600) Win8.1 Pro & soon dual boot x64 (6.1.7601) Win7_SP1 HomePrem
 
 
One User helping another

Welcome to Seven Forums

The following are suggestions to improve problem solving.
They are not rules, commandments or directives.
  • Look first
    1. Use the Source, Luke: Vendors have have intimate knowledge of their products, you have specific information about the issue. Searching is easy, finding is more of an art than a science.
      • Search for any specific messages and error codes you see that are related to your issue.
        The vendor knowledgebase provides the best information needed to solve issues, then vendor community boards, then non-vendor boards.
        Many members on this board also participate on vendor community boards and have been acknowledged for their work
      • Being too general (BSOD) returns many results, being too specific ("Dell laptop model XYZ does not boot after ABC") might miss the solution.
        Try a few different but similar terms (damaged, corrupted) in your search and see what you get.
    2. The tutorial section is a great resource.
      Members have have spent a lot of their own time writing many step-by-step instructions to solve specific problems. There are also instructions, in other tutorials, on how to do many of the things you might be asked to do. Some terms and commands might be unfamiliar to you, but most tutorials go step-by-step.
      There is a learning curve, so you might have to read a few tutorials in order to understand some technical references. In most cases, the author provides a link to the "extras".
      For instance, one tutorial might say "Run XYZ in an elevated Command Prompt", if you don't know what that means, look around for instructions on Command Prompt or Running an Elevated command Prompt.
    3. Search Seven Forums
      There's a good chance that you are not the only one with this issue.
      There's an equally good chance that a solution already exists and can be found on the forum.

  • Be prepared
    1. Make sure that your system is up to date, including any drivers.
      This might solve your issue before you ask for help
    2. Fill in the system specs on your forum profile (User CP) - more info
      - Someone will most likely ask you to do that before they help you.
    3. Someone helping you might ask you to post a screen shot or file - more info
      The snipping tool in Start Menu ==> Accessories ==> Snipping Tool is great for this. There are a few options on the "New" button that direct what is captured by the tool - select "Window Snip", then use the cross-hair to select the window, then save the captured screen.
      To attach the screen shot to a post, click on the paper click on the post window and fill in the fields, then upload and close.
    4. It is also useful for a member to know your system when helping you.
      The Speccy application makes this easy - more info
    5. This is a technical forum, know some basic terms, learn some new techniques
    6. There are probably 5-10 different ways to do something. You can use run, or search and dbl click, or use Windows help | search | what is XYZ | open, or navigate to and dbl click - these all do the same thing.
    7. People use different terms - elevated, run as administrator, UAC, File/folder security settings - have the same or related meanings.

  • Be patient
    1. Everyone here volunteers their time to help anyone who visits and asks for help
    2. There are possibly hundreds of people asking for help at any given time
    3. The first suggestion to fix your issue might not work
    4. There might be multiple, seemingly contradictory, solutions offered. Members all have different experience with what works. Many times a member has solved the issue using a tutorial while another member solved the same issue using a command line.
    5. Solving technical issues remotely, without remote access, is similar to Weather forecasting: 80% chance of POP means that on 8 out of 10 days with similar weather conditions it rained. When someone suggests a solution, they have seen the issue before and most of the time, their suggestion works the first time.

  • Be specific:
    Provide software (ie Firefox, IE - not my browser) and versions that you are using when the issue occurs.
    Provide the manufacturer, model, and driver information for hardware issues.
    Running "System Information" (Start Menu ==> Run... ==> msinfo32) provides all of that for you. Selecting the System Information ==> File menu ==> export creates a report that you can upload on a post.

  • Stay focused on solving the original issue
    1. Don't let comments distract you - people think out loud, it usually doesn't mean anything nefarious
    2. Changing the issue that you're trying to solve is akin to trying to change a tire on a moving truck. Better to start a new thread for the "new" issue. But wait until you're done with the first issue - the "new" issue might be solved along with the original.
    3. Be concise.
      • If your issue only involves one thing - say so. Don't let members chase down a problem that you aren't experiencing.
        "I get error XYZ when I try to connect to site ABC" is a different problem than
        "I get error XYZ when I try to connect to all sites". The first is specific to a single site, the second indicates a general problem (browser or communications).
      • Don't answer a question with a question, unless you need clarification.
      • Try the suggestion and post the results
        - did it work, did it solve the issue, were there any new error codes, etc

  • Don't judge a suggestion solely on the member's status.
    A new member might provide useful information that solves your issue, they just joined the forum more recently.
    The same goes for age - a younger person is not less qualified than an "elder of the tribe".
    That being said, the original members and many long time members have dedicated themselves to this forum and deserve our respect and gratitude. The time they spend on this (and sister forums) is incredible, it's no wonder they have also earned accolades from Microsoft and other vendors.

  • Once your issue is resolved
    • It's always nice to "tip" the member who helped you.
      Find the post that solved your issue and Click on the scales icon (middle icon in the group of three) Reputation
    • It helps other people if you recap in a final post what didn't work and what solved it - that might be multiple steps.
    • You should mark the thread as solved



Enjoy your visit to Seven Forums and hopefully your issue was resolved.
I've found this forum to be an indispensable resource, members are courteous, knowledgeable, and very helpful.

Other useful Seven Forum pages:
FAQs: Seven Forums
Rules: Seven Forums
Bulletin Board tags
Chairman Slartybart's Little Red Book will be updated from time to time either for clarity or inclusion.
2014 Jan 5: added more info links
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 May 2012   #2

Windows 8.1 Pro RTM x64
 
 

Good post.

We still get people posting saying My computer doesn't work or My computer crashes randomly (or similar) and, without providing any further information whatsoever (including, in many cases, system specs), expect us to gaze into our crystal balls and somehow come up with a solution.

Incidentally, I see you have a laptop. Could you update your specs with the full model number so that we can be in a better position to help you should you require any assistance at any time?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 May 2012   #3

x64 (6.3.9600) Win8.1 Pro & soon dual boot x64 (6.1.7601) Win7_SP1 HomePrem
 
 

Thanks Sea,
The tutorials are amazing! I was a tek voyeur here for quite a while before joining. I have learned a lot. Some I knew a bit about, but a little knowledge is dangerous. So I lean on the experience of Seven Forum members.

Of course, the flip side to that is "I didn't do anything...." lol


Thanks Dwarf, Done!
Follow my own advice - NEVER, lol
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 May 2012   #4

x64 (6.3.9600) Win8.1 Pro & soon dual boot x64 (6.1.7601) Win7_SP1 HomePrem
 
 

I'll fill it in as I think of use things for a user to try before I spend too much time on an issue. I know I want to mention existing tools such as Troubleshooters on machines and on MS pages... MS fixits and some other general troubleshooting (event logs).

The plan is to greet a user and point them to this salutation, so I don't have to type all of this all of the time or remember where to send them for more help. Members who have been here for a while know which tutorials get the ball rolling and which ones are closers. I haven't been around here all that long, so I'm using this as a cheater.

Hope it works as planned.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 May 2012   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Good post Slartybart, but it misses one issue:

In my opinion, the single biggest impediment to getting proper help is poor writing.

This can include grammar, syntax, punctuation, capitalization, or just a general lack of focus and poor explanation.

I can and do overlook this for non-native speakers.

But this forum is riddled with posts from English speakers that are all but incomprehensible.

I'm left to wonder if such posters bother to read the post before submitting it----apparently not. Which leads me to some conclusions I'd rather not think about.

The larger question is why this forum is so far worse in this regard than any other forum I frequent---dozens of them, all of which take all comers.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 May 2012   #6

x64 (6.3.9600) Win8.1 Pro & soon dual boot x64 (6.1.7601) Win7_SP1 HomePrem
 
 

ignatz,

Phew, I thought you were talking about my post having grammar, syntax, punctuation, capitalization, or just a general lack of focus and poor explanation issues.

I don't know about the "quality" of posts in other forums or what to do about your observation. Grin and bear it, I suppose. If all else fails..... more tonic!

Thanks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 May 2012   #7

x64 (6.3.9600) Win8.1 Pro & soon dual boot x64 (6.1.7601) Win7_SP1 HomePrem
 
 

A link to this is now in part of my signature. Perhaps people who read this, and the comments made by folks who have helped lots of other folks, will gain valuable insight. When a member posts a subsequent inquiry, the hope is that it will be of higher caliber so that they get the help they need without a lot of crystal balls. I'm sure we all agree, it's easier to solve a problem if we don't have to divine what the problem is in the first place.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 May 2012   #8

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7600
 
 

good thread slartybart, one creative criticism, i would have a different title, like "Forum tips for new members" or similar.
its not the title you named it i think is wrong, but that it wont catch noobs attention

anyhow, good work nevertheless.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 May 2012   #9

Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Slartybart View Post
A link to this is now in part of my signature.
Good Job, I think that you really hit the nail on the head with your post.

Rich
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 May 2012   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 32 bit/Windows 8.1 64bit
 
 

I agree with the others that it is a very good post but, like Julian think the title really needs to be changed to something that will be more in keeping with the content of the post.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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