Storage

Reimaging vs. troubleshooting

Reimaging a user's hard drive is a great way to get that user back up and running quickly, but this approach does not usually reveal the problem's root cause. When do you believe it is better to reimage instead of troubleshoot?


Techs are often forced to choose between troubleshooting a problem to the fullest and getting the user back up and running quickly. While tech purists often scoff at anything less than an exhaustive search for the truth, many business environments do not allow for a surgical dissection of every IT problem. Reimaging a troubled PC’s hard drive can solve many problems faster than traditional troubleshooting. However, according to many TechRepublic readers, the appropriateness and efficacy of this practice is highly debatable.

The discussion generated by my recent article “Reinstall the OS before abandoning all hope” highlights this debate. On one hand, techs applauded my decision to reinstall a malfunctioning laptop’s OS, while others maligned my failure to fully explore the problem. I now want to know what you think.
In Response offers a weekly roundup of feedback from TechRepublic members intended to help inform you and your peers about critical issues in the world of IT. This week, I’m asking TechRepublic members to share their opinions on the debate between reimaging and troubleshooting. Post a comment or send us a note and let your voice be heard.
Quick and easy
Reimaging a client’s hard drive has several advantages:
  • It’s quick. Reimaging a hard drive can solve problems in minutes instead of hours. This means less downtime for the user and more time for you to spend on other problems.
  • It’s easy. Imagine the last time you racked your brain for hours trying to determine what driver was not working or which registry entry was corrupt. Reimaging allows you to avoid the headaches of scrutinizing every problem.

The tech’s true art
Troubleshooting, while sometimes slow, has certain advantages as well. For example:
  • You’ll know the problem’s cause. The troubleshooting process often ends with the discovery of a problem’s root cause. This knowledge can be significant for a number of reasons, including resolution, documentation, and prevention.
  • It allows for future prevention. This pro is closely linked to the previously mentioned benefit. Because troubleshooting often reveals a problem’s root cause, steps can be taken to prevent that problem from occurring in the future.
When is reimaging a hard drive the appropriate answer? When is troubleshooting a better alternative? Which method do you use most often? Post a comment or send us a note and let your voice be heard.

About Bill Detwiler

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

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