Become A Hot-Shot Problem-Solver In One Easy Step: Keep A Log

AUGUST 2012:  Do you want quicker resolutions to your computer problems? Start paying attention now!

Whenever anything weird happens with your computer, jot it down in a quick note. Keep all these notes in one place and, voila!, you’ve created a computer problem log. Keeping a problem log is an incredibly useful way to figure out and fix what’s wrong with your computer – we like to call it a Frog Log! And it beats your memory by a long shot.

Follow these three simple, non-tedious steps and not only will you jump-start the diagnostic process, you’ll get to know your computer better, too. Plus your IT team will love you madly:

Choose a handy place to jot down notes.
Don’t keep your log on your computer for the obvious reason. Your smartphone, a cloud-based app like Evernote or a notebook work nicely.

Write down these seven things for each incident.
1.    Date and time
2.    What the problem is
3.    What you were doing the moment the problem started
4.    What programs were running
5.    Which error message(s) you received, if any
6.    Which program or programs were affected
7.    If the problem went away when you restarted

Notice any patterns if this problem has happened before.

For intermittent problems, you or your IT pro will need to determine the root cause, which could be a firmware problem, a problem with heat, the power supply, the motherboard or a manufacturing defect. The more specific you can get about what’s going on when the problem occurs, the easier it will be to fix.