For all technical and networkproblems, it is best to troubleshoot from 'the ground up'. Verify the physical power supply and work your way up through whatever system you are working on. If you skip a step, Murphy's law states that the troubleshooting step you skip is where the problem will lie. Be thorough, and use logic and common sense. Your average troubleshooting session will take longer, but you will never miss anything that keeps you working for hours on end, guessing at solutions.

Below is an outline of what sorts of things you are looking for when performing troubleshooting.

General Troubleshooting Steps

Check Cabling

  • Power
    • Is it the correct type of power supply?
    • Are the amps, watts and voltage correct for this device?
    • Is it plugged in to the outlet, and is the supply plugged into the device?
    • Are there worn spots or is the supply/cable dangerously hot?
    • Do you have a glowing power light?
  • System cabling
    • Are all the cables (EIDE, SCSI etc.) connected?
    • Are there kinks or sharp bends?
    • Are you beyond the rated cable length in the specifications?
  • Network
    • Is the cable plugged in?
    • Are you using the right kind of cabling?
    • Are you within the maximum reach of the protocol?
    • If using a broadcast network protocol, are there too many devices in the broadcast domain?
  • Serial
    • Is it properly connected?
    • Are you using the right kind of cable?
    • Do you need a null modem cable or a straight through?
    • Are you within the maximum reach of the protocol?
  • Parallel
    • Does the device use a bi-directional cable?
    • Does the pinout and interface match?

Check the Hardware

  • Verify all cards and boards are firmly seated.
  • Look for burned spots.
  • Do you smell smoke when it is turned on?
  • Is the firmware up to date?
  • Do you have the right kind of memory?
  • Is the memory correctly installed?
  • Do you have sufficient memory to boot the system?

Check Network Communication

  • Link Light
    • Is the link light on?
    • Is the link correctly set for full or half duplex?
  • Communications
    • Does the data light (if you have it) flash?
    • Can you communicate with the device on the other side?
    • Are both sides set for "auto discover" (this is usually a bad idea)?

Check the Software

  • Drivers
    • Is the driver installed?
    • Is the driver current?
    • Does the driver support the hardware?
  • Application
    • Does it launch?
    • Does it respond to user input?


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