4 Things You Should Try Before Calling the Help Desk

Your I.T. support staff is available to help with any computer problems you should have. However, in an increasingly competitive workforce, it’s important to avoid looking as though you lack the technology knowledge required to tackle the demands of your job.

Before you place that call to your help desk, here are a few things you can try on your own.


Nothing fixes those strange quirks like a reboot. While shutting your computer down and starting over may not help you find that lost spreadsheet or restore sound when you’ve accidentally hit the “mute” button, for those mystery problems, it’s a great start.

Try a Google Search

One thing many help desk technicians will never tell you is that sometimes they are stumped, as well. When an unfamiliar issue arises, most techs will simply entering the problem in Google. The Internet has been around for nearly two decades and, as a result, almost every problem your computer sees has been seen before. A few words in a Google search box and you’ll avoid a help desk call while looking like a tech genius to your co-workers.

Use Windows Search

Lost file? Try searching for the file using Windows Explorer (called “File Explorer” in Windows 8). In Windows 7, Windows Explorer is available by right-clicking the Start button and choosing “Explore.” In Windows 8, enter “File Explorer” in the search box located on your charms bar.

Open Task Manager

When programs lock up, as they’ll sometimes do, you can unfreeze things by simply clicking Control + Alt + Delete and choosing the Task Manager. You can then choose the misbehaving program, which will likely be followed by the words (Not Responding) by selecting it and choosing “End Task.” If all else fails, restart the computer and, if that doesn’t work, hold down the power button until the computer shuts off. If this problem continues, begin documenting each instance and report it to the help desk as a recurring issue.

By being as self-sufficient as possible, you’ll avoid becoming that person who constantly contacts the help desk. This ensures that when you do have a problem, it will be taken seriously and handled with the urgency it requires.