Are you pulling your hair out trying to find some extra time to work on the server when you’re swamped with user-support problems? Have you crippled the server but don’t remember what you might have done to screw it up in the first place? Perhaps you just can’t remember where you put that network card that was supposed to go into the boss’s computer. Don’t worry. We’re here to help, with three tips to make your day—and your work—go much smoother.
#1: Keep track of your progress
Having problems with the network? It’s a great idea to have a list of changes that have been made, who made them, and when they were done. So how might you do that, you may be asking? It’s easy with a change control form, and you can download one that's ready to use directly from TechRepublic.
#2: Information is power
Are you being deluged with e-mails from staff, executives, users, or even other administrators and systems engineers that say, “I don’t know how to do this” or “Can you help me with this?” or “What’s our policy for this?” Sure you are—unless you've already preempted them with the information they need. Here’s how you can do just that:
- · Create a binder document. Say you've written up everything that anyone needs to know about how to operate the computers on the network, your IP addressing scheme, your namespace plan, or your directory services architecture. You can print the directions or guidelines, put them into a binder, and make sure everyone within the company receives his or her own copy. There is nothing like a good visual tool to help your users. (This is an excellent intern project, by the way!)
- · Put it on your intranet. Don’t feel like printing out all of those copies to give to every user within the company? Don't want to waste all that paper when the information is subject to change before the toner is even dry? Distribute the necessary information in a more updateable format. Instead of printing it and putting it in a binder, publish it on the company intranet. Just make sure everyone is aware of how to get to the page.
- · Make it available on an Exchange server. Don’t have an intranet? The last option just might be for you. Publish all the information via an Exchange server. Make a folder that everyone in the company has access to, and store all the information in that folder. The best part about using this method is that you can block out specific users easily if they do not need (or shouldn't have) access to a certain part of a document. Again, make sure everyone is aware of how to access the information.
#3: Keep track of your hardware
Any network administrator will tell you that it's sometimes difficult to recall exactly what piece of equipment was put into which machine. What’s the solution?
Try the system inventory log, located in the TechRepublic download area. By using the inventory log, you can keep track of every computer on the network, know which parts the computer contains, see which machines may need an upgrade in the near future, and much more.
Ed Engelking is a regular TechRepublic contributor. He’s also the co-owner of UCANweb.com.Do you have a solution to make someone’s day go smoother? Post a comment below, or send us a noteto let us know!