TEACHING YOURSELF (I moved it to this form because i thought that if people read it befor asking newbie questions it would help)

As we all know AO is a great place to learn about how to find solutions to your problems, and learn how to secure your system. However, are we really learning how to fix our problems or are we just looking for the answers? And yes, there is a difference.

We have all seen it in the forums: "Help me I have a virus" or the classic "My computers dead!!!!?!?!!!". Within each of these threads are questions like "how do I fix this???". Quite often, we are all too happy to help. But from my short time at AO I have discovered that this forum is all about (or supposed to be about) learning and passing on what we learned as well as how we learned. This thread will discuss a three-step process on how to learn from your mistakes and yet gain knowledge to explain how it happened, or why it happened, and then knowing how to fix it or find the solution to fixing it.

Now, being the computer tech that I am I understand that many problems having to deal with computers are sometimes unexplainable. This can be often due to a flaw in the code or maybe even hardware failure. There are things that are sometimes unfixable. We also have to recognize that sometimes working with computers can mean a lot of guesswork. Being that as it may, it is always best to have some understanding of what you are doing before you do it. Thatís what this thread is for.

STEP ONE: Learn about it, don't just fix it.

There are many ways to learn about your problem. If an error comes up on your screen, copy or write down some of the key words in the message and do a search on it in Google. Remember that you?re probably not the only one who has had this problem. If a solution or help cannot be found through searches, come to the forum. Do a search through the forum using the Search Feature. If you still don't find the answer to what you are looking for, then ask the forum in the appropriate forum area. It is important to remember that you shouldn't stop there. While waiting for a response, dig a little deeper. Find out why it happened, or even how it happened. If you do this you will learn allot more then just how to fix your problem. At the least, the extra details may come in handy when explaining what happened and will probably help in getting a speedier response.

STEP TWO: Explain your problem to yourself

Now, after you've determined what the specific issue is that you are facing, try describing the problem yourself. Start with simple questions like: "What?s is the specific problem with the computer/network/device?", "Why and how did the problem occur?". If you can't answers these questions then go back to Step One. You may need to revise your search words or review your notes as to the cause of the problem. Ideally, you should list as many possible causes as you can think of that might cause the particular issue. If you can successfully answer these questons, then you can ask yourself "How can I fix it???". Then it will be time for Step Three.

Your ability to explain the problem to yourself means that you should be able to explain it to someone else. If you can explain it clearly it can help with troubleshooting. You may even discover the answer when explaining it. Remember that sometimes finding solutions means eliminating what doesn't work or what doesn't fit.

STEP THREE: Now!!!!! WAIT.... OK now you can fix it...

By following these three steps I know that you will gain more knowledge about computers than you ever would have. If someone just gave you the answer in the end you'd still know nothing about the problem, what caused it or how to solve it in the future. By doing these steps you take away so much more. As the quote says:

"Give someone a fish, and you feed them for a day.... teach them to fish, And you feed them for a lifetime..."


Thank you MsMittens for your help with this.....