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Training a newbie tech.... What do you teach first?

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Training a newbie tech.... What do you teach first?

--Loki--
I recently acquired a student.... He wants to learn how to build/repair computers, mainly as a hobby, but if he's any good I may use him in my business...

So he came over the other day, and had a box of parts, and I showed him about jumpers and pin-1 for cables and such, and how to basically fit parts together... simple stuff....

Now when I was learning this stuff, I taught myself, and I pretty much soak things up like a sponge, and don't remember usually HOW I learned something, just that I know it....

I realize that most people don't learn that way... lol... Sooooo... I need a lesson plan of some sort... What order to teach things in... what are the little things that get overlooked? I have a habit of just assuming that things are obvious, or that people should just KNOW things... (I'm probably not the best teacher for that reason... lol)

So I guess what I'd like to know is....

What are the things that you would teach someone that you think are important to being a good computer builder/tech? Everything from hardware to software is what I want to teach this fella... So I need help putting my knowledge in some sort of logical order... lol
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    JamesRL

    I've never trained someone from scratch, I've always had people with some exposure.

    I would start with installing the OS. Build a PC for them, and have them first install the OS through the defaults, then do it again with the custom - have them play with some of the custom installs.

    Once they can install the OS without too many thoughts, have them build the basic PC - put the MB in the case, install the base components, then boot it up, format, install the OS.

    Then have them add the often additional components - video card, sound card, ethernet card etc. Install the HW, then configure it in the OS, one by one.

    Once they have the basic box stuff, then you can move to networking.

    James

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    CG IT

    I'd tell the guy or gal to go buy Scott Muellers upgrading and repairs PCs as a reference book. Start reading. If they could afford it get some of the back editions. Knowing the boot sequence of POST, what a MBR is and how it's processed, how board layout is, what really is a AGP, PCI buss, PCI Express [meaning how they work.

    Second, I'd give him a PC completely built and with an O/S and tell him to take it apart and rebuild it including formating the HD and reinstalling the O/S. To the level it was before he/she tore it down.

    I think I would try to stress documentation and how important it is even if it's a time killer.

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    RKG

    Find out what overall skills they have, and use those to build on new abilities.
    Start with an older but complete computer, and have tehm swap out the video card. Make certain they understand the component, what it brings to the computer. check technique; does the newbie need to focus on not damaging hardware when making the swaps?
    Then memory, then replacing the hard drive.
    Each step have the newbie see what difference the change has made on the system. From a 4 MB graphics system with 128 MB RAM and a 20 MB HD that barely runs windows, they have created a much faster computer, and they see the differences.

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    ITSa341

    Teach him the most overlooked and most important thing he can learn.
    BEFORE making even the slightest changes MAKE A BACKUP!!!!
    How many times have technicians done some simple thing that should be a no brainer and had it go wrong only to find no backups?
    Our plan at SystemBytes is simple, before you even start the repairs, boot to a live linux cd and MAKE A HD IMAGE!! You are now protected from data loss and many hours of stress. You are more relaxed and can think more clearly knowing you can always recover any data or settings you lose.

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    mjd420nova

    Start off with a fully functioning system, teach them how to listen to the different sounds and watch the lights. Find a good comprehensive list of the beep codes and the diagnostic codes from the bios ( 100-CPU 200-memory 300-keyboard ETC) then move onto what's needed to make a bootable disk, partitioning hard drives, loading the OS and then drivers for appropriate hardware. Then work into dip switches-jumper bergs and last of all don't forget changing the CMOS battery and how to clear CMOS and password access work arounds.

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    Why Me Worry?

    strap it on..baby and do your magic

    I was dieing to say that...LOL

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    lol

    CG IT

    ROFL LMAO

    don't drop the soap!

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    --Loki--

    Kinky...... lol.... Oh, wait.. You didn't mean THAT strap-on... Oh well... *puts her toys away*

    lol... Thanks! I needed to lighten up a bit today... lol

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    CG IT

    ROFL LMAO

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    shardeth-15902278

    I got my start in PC's with a game called Cranston Manor, on an Apple IIe donated to our school. Spent hours trying to find the funny commands unusual commands would give. (ie "Pray -> Praying won't help you"....

    I then recieved my first PC (Timex Sinclair ZX81 as a present for my birhtday the year following. I was too poor to buy any games, so I started writing my own. Over time, moved to a Commodore128, and built a speech processor for it ($20 in radio shack parts),along with writing a few games.

    My point? Find a couple fun projects which meet some of your student's interests. Particularly projects where there is room to "hack". Those are a great way to help the individual develop an understanding of the fundamentals - an understanding not just of how, but also why.

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    shardeth-15902278

    Probably should have paid closer attention to what thread I was posting on with a subject like "Play".

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    justinsvalois

    Please stay on topic here,
    We were talking about toys... :)

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    --Loki--

    about the beep codes... lol.... One of those things that I always listen for when trying to boot a board, but not one of the things I would have remembered to actually MENTION to someone.... THANKS!!!

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    mjd420nova

    I didn't mean it to sound like that. Useing you ears is very important too. Sometimes I can locate the fault just by listening. Most often it's not what you hear, but what you don't hear that can lead you in the right direction. A basic primer in the use of a good voltmeter is also important, as they can be used to confirm a power supply fdailure, and even shorts can be tracked to the culprit if it's digital. The eyeball is also important, but sometimes a good magnifing glass is called for.

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    NickNielsen Moderator

    Thomsen Course Technology has several resources (http://tinyurl.com/y3gw66), but they are rather pricey.

    The best other source is probably the current edition of Scott Mueller's Upgrading and Repairing PCs. If you also can get a copy of the Tenth Anniversary Edition, you will pretty much have all the information you need from PC Day One. Start him reading.

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    --Loki--

    One of them is almost a pocket sized version... They've been sitting in my bookshelf getting dusty.... Guess it's time to bring them back out, huh?

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    NickNielsen Moderator

    Together they eat almost a foot of bookshelf, so I use them primarily for reference at the end of the day. They are simply too big to carry around with me.

    I do have a condensed reference (Pocket PC) that I carry with me for on-site use. It contains general PC information, BIOS configurations, beep codes, configuration data and so on. It's a couple of years old, but I haven't needed to update it yet.

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    jdclyde

    what will be the primary skill needed, hardware, OS, software?

    A basic understanding of all is needed, but then focus on the ONE that is the most important.

    Too many times I see people that know a little about everything, but not a lot of any one thing. They can get by in the day to day, but when there is a real problem, they don't have the abiltiy to resolve it.

    Also stress to be methodical. Always make one change at a time until the problem is solved or you will have no idea which change fixed your problem.

    Relaxing is important too. It drives my co-workers nuts becaues they will be all frantic over something for a while trying to get something going. I go back to my office, turn on the tunes, grab my coffee and "just sit there" or "browse the web". What they don't relize is I am doing that "thinking" thing, or I am looking on the web for people that have had the same type of problem. It usually doesn't take me long to get the answer.

    When you rush, you make mistakes. Dumb mistakes.

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    --Loki--

    I used to butt heads with the owner when I managed a puter shop some years back, because I'd stick the "problem" cases on the back burner while I would get the easy/fast fixes out of the way, regardless of which one came in the shop first... He never could quite grasp that I WAS working on the "problem" ones too.. but I was trying to think about possible solutions that hadn't been tried yet, rather than waste time staring and poking at it, when other things could be accomplished in the meantime... lol...

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    graham.moore

    End users(customers) don't see what is going on in your head as you work and problem solve. They think you're dogging it, while in fact you are thinking about what your next steps are. This is the real reason customers aren't allowed into shop areas at auto garages and most other areas. It also holds true for even the most basic vetrinary and human surgical procedures. Some managers and business owners need to learn this approach as well.
    Sorry to veer off topic, but I think it also applies to helping students learn. Let them think and make mistakes without looking over their shoulder and applying performance pressure.

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    jkowolf

    I've been invited into shops and supervise most auto repairs unless I know they will take too long. Much of my programming is with managers/end user sitting next to me to provide instant feedback. If I think something will need some extensive code or I need to think/plan, I tell them to take a break. Usually they have something else to do.

    My fees are based on the value of my solution to the customer and not how much time I take.

    Get the kid close to customers; they'll be paying his salary.

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    NickNielsen Moderator

    ...turn on the tunes, grab my coffee and "just sit there"...

    If you're the tech in question, there is nothing quite like watching the end user bouncing off the walls while you examine the problem with a cup of coffee in your hand.

    If it's a new problem to me, I've been known to take a smoke break and consult the manual before going to work. That really sets them off! "D*mn it, I can't do %$#*(@ and you're sitting out here smoking and drinking coffee! :^0

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    jdclyde

    I was reading a book on shell scripts when a (L)user made that comment. I handed them the book and asked them to explain it to me.

    One look at the page I was reading and they got an almost sick look on their face. They decided that just MAYBE I was not reading for pleasure?

    B-)

    Before I became the Net Admin, the mail server went down. Not my job, no one asked me what I thought, and no one wanted to hear what I had to say. No problem. (the then admin was a very insecure woman that was afraid that I was trying to take her job or something)

    The EX's aunt had JUST died the day before, so I had to leave for the showing. I was out at noon.

    The next day they had a consultant in ($1000 a day) looking into the problem. I had the funeral so I was out early again.

    The next day, the consultant didn't even bother to come back because he had no clue, and the server was still down.

    I wrote down the error codes on the console, went back to my office and relaxed. litterally 30 minutes later I had the server working again. Was pretty simple too. The young pup that did most of the admin work FOR the admin that didn't know how, had made a symbolic link to it's self. circular loop that took the system down. Killed the sym link and the server took off. Was kind of funny actually. He of course TRIED to deny that is what happened, but of course I had print outs of the log files...... log files don't lie.

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    dm3haggitt

    jdclyde knows what he is saying. He is right. Unfortunately,
    coworkers and bosses sometimes fail to adapt the consistant
    and timely success of the methodical and perfer the caos of
    headless chickens whose work often has to be redone. At
    least this is what I have found. I have learned that if you find
    yourself in this situation do your thing, but don't try to
    change others.

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    :8}

    jdclyde

    and a rule of thumb, you have to allow other people to be wrong. No one likes a "know-it-all" that steps on everyone else.

    A lesson learned the hard way....

    state your case, and then let it go. In a year when it doesn't work, everyone will know as it gets changed back to what you had said in the first place. Let time prove you right.

    thanks dm3

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    dm3haggitt

    I am learning this lesson the hard way... First at work, now in my marriage. I hope I am starting to catch on. A friend recently gave me this advice; "Don't right that wrong simply for the sake of righting a wrong." And once again thank you jdclyde for your help and advice.

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    Tig2

    The condensed version is best- it will present the information in logical order and help to reinforce it while not actively in the lab environment.

    There are a number of good A+ manuals out there- I like the "Passport" series for well condensed information.

    Another important thing to keep in mind are the old tricks that the new kids don't seem to understand- like the sensibility of keeping a paperclip handy...

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    vtassone

    Amen to the paper clip...... A set of bamboo chop sticks is nice also. They are great for the hard to reach RAM tabs.

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    Tig2

    Don't leave home without it! I have two in my bag at all times- great for cleaning out the dust rhinos that develop in the case.

    Alcohol and cotton swabs is another good one. And "Tweak".

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    jay_el_72

    That is funny, I thought I was the only one that did that. Things like paperclips, chopsticks and rubber bands are tricks that you won't find in mainstream tech books but come from experience.
    Tell them about Google and techrepublic too. Most things they will come across can be googled now.

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    techmichelle

    I don't know about everyone else but it seems like I am always reading a book or reading articles to stay up to date.

    The books follow a logical order, so you can say the person knows this after reading this book, okay a few oops as a person translates book to doing is normal.

    Michelle

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    rednksweetpea

    That way you can teach him the basics of DOS, than work up to Windows, than who knows after that, he may start teaching you what he learned. Just a thought LOL

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    Jaqui

    pound it into their head that you do NOT need to change bios settings every time.

    I recently had someone change a cdr for a dvdrw on a system, which failed completely.
    they had changed the bios settings and created an irq conflict.

    which really means:
    do as little as possible to get the system running, tune it later if needed.

    A lot of people think they have to adjust pins and bios settings for every hardware change, or even os change. the default bios with plug 'n pray options enabled can, now, usually get it right, so "if it ain't broke don't fix it" needs to be retaught to a lot of people.

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    jdclyde

    If you had a piece of hardware and the(l)user didn't think they needed to keep the books that came with them. Sure, just TRY to guess what the proper pin settings are suppose to be... :0

    I would not deal with it if they didn't have the manual. Doesn't work, guess you get to buy a new one.

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    yup

    Jaqui

    though there are still times I will not tough something unless they have the original manual and and software that came with the device.

    it makes it so much easier to make sure you are loading the right device drivers into the kernel when you have the original documentation.

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    NickNielsen Moderator

    I once worked with a tech whose first troubleshooting step was to flash the BIOS without first checking anything else (all PCs there were the same model IBM). Every time he walked up to a machine, he'd pop in his handy dandy BIOS floppy and reboot.

    Then one day, he popped his IBM 450-DX2 BIOS floppy into a brand new IBM 6282...

    After IBM declared the warranty voided, he was charged for a whole new machine. :^0

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    Jaqui

    any good tech will do the minimum needed to get the system working again.
    solving the root cause is secondary, if it's not obvious by what needed to be done to get it back up.

    This is a point that needs to be made to new techs, simply to save everyone the headaches of fatal mistakes.

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    NickNielsen Moderator

    Or just an individual personal issue, but some people just can't seem to get the idea:

    Just because you can do it doesn't mean you should do it.

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    jjvolk

    Troubleshooting a PC starts with the basics. He will need to read and study a good A+ training book. That will teach all the basics of computer components. As for repair the usual components that are the problem are: Hard Drive (bad sectors), Memory (Memtest 86 is good to check), Power Supply (always have a reliable replacement to test with). I have a POST card. This is essential for trying to diagnose a defective motherboard or CPU or Power Supply.
    As to building a computer set a procedure. What parts get put into the case first and in a certain order. Be methodical, and don't let him deviate from the procedure. That way he can build systems consistantly and speed will come with repetition.
    Usually we build CPU and Memory on motherboard and run it on the bench or desktop before installing it into the case. Don't assume it will work. It may not. We have had defective motherboards right out of the box! Also defective CPU's and memory that were brand new. Once the board runs on the table then it can be placed into the case using the standoffs. Then comes the hard drives, cd or dvd drives. then cards and cables and power added last. It should all work if the board ran on the table to begin with.
    During OS install sometimes defective parts show up like Video or CD/DVD drives (the setup reports unable to copy/find/certain files). Also defective media (CD's or DVD's) sometimes show up, but not too often. Hard drives usually show to be defective during this time also. If the OS installs properly and all drivers and devices work, let it run about 24 hours and see if still works (no lock ups or resets) before putting it into everyday use.
    I have been in the PC repair/construction business for about 18 years. I have A+ and Network+ certifications. The main requirement of an IT job is to LOVE WHAT YOU DO!

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    bbwalters

    When I worked with Motorola we had a course, 'Back to Basics' The guy showed us the importance of the earth strap by displaying microscopic pictures of the internals of CPU's that had been 'Zapped' The holes had to be seen to be believed. After that I never worked without an earth strap. We were also told anyone working without proper earthing facilities would be 'Fired' Their reputation depended on correct procedures.

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    dotxen

    osi first, tcp/ip second and not silly stuff like how to build a pc. no-one builds pcs anymore. we buy them in, and throw them away at the end of their life-cycle.

    most importantly, teach non-invasive attitudes and techniques. no point fiddling about at the top layer (application) if the cables dropped out (physical.

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    JamesRL

    I've never trained someone from scratch, I've always had people with some exposure.

    I would start with installing the OS. Build a PC for them, and have them first install the OS through the defaults, then do it again with the custom - have them play with some of the custom installs.

    Once they can install the OS without too many thoughts, have them build the basic PC - put the MB in the case, install the base components, then boot it up, format, install the OS.

    Then have them add the often additional components - video card, sound card, ethernet card etc. Install the HW, then configure it in the OS, one by one.

    Once they have the basic box stuff, then you can move to networking.

    James

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    CG IT

    I'd tell the guy or gal to go buy Scott Muellers upgrading and repairs PCs as a reference book. Start reading. If they could afford it get some of the back editions. Knowing the boot sequence of POST, what a MBR is and how it's processed, how board layout is, what really is a AGP, PCI buss, PCI Express [meaning how they work.

    Second, I'd give him a PC completely built and with an O/S and tell him to take it apart and rebuild it including formating the HD and reinstalling the O/S. To the level it was before he/she tore it down.

    I think I would try to stress documentation and how important it is even if it's a time killer.

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    RKG

    Find out what overall skills they have, and use those to build on new abilities.
    Start with an older but complete computer, and have tehm swap out the video card. Make certain they understand the component, what it brings to the computer. check technique; does the newbie need to focus on not damaging hardware when making the swaps?
    Then memory, then replacing the hard drive.
    Each step have the newbie see what difference the change has made on the system. From a 4 MB graphics system with 128 MB RAM and a 20 MB HD that barely runs windows, they have created a much faster computer, and they see the differences.

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    ITSa341

    Teach him the most overlooked and most important thing he can learn.
    BEFORE making even the slightest changes MAKE A BACKUP!!!!
    How many times have technicians done some simple thing that should be a no brainer and had it go wrong only to find no backups?
    Our plan at SystemBytes is simple, before you even start the repairs, boot to a live linux cd and MAKE A HD IMAGE!! You are now protected from data loss and many hours of stress. You are more relaxed and can think more clearly knowing you can always recover any data or settings you lose.

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    mjd420nova

    Start off with a fully functioning system, teach them how to listen to the different sounds and watch the lights. Find a good comprehensive list of the beep codes and the diagnostic codes from the bios ( 100-CPU 200-memory 300-keyboard ETC) then move onto what's needed to make a bootable disk, partitioning hard drives, loading the OS and then drivers for appropriate hardware. Then work into dip switches-jumper bergs and last of all don't forget changing the CMOS battery and how to clear CMOS and password access work arounds.

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    Why Me Worry?

    strap it on..baby and do your magic

    I was dieing to say that...LOL

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    lol

    CG IT

    ROFL LMAO

    don't drop the soap!

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    --Loki--

    Kinky...... lol.... Oh, wait.. You didn't mean THAT strap-on... Oh well... *puts her toys away*

    lol... Thanks! I needed to lighten up a bit today... lol

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    CG IT

    ROFL LMAO

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    shardeth-15902278

    I got my start in PC's with a game called Cranston Manor, on an Apple IIe donated to our school. Spent hours trying to find the funny commands unusual commands would give. (ie "Pray -> Praying won't help you"....

    I then recieved my first PC (Timex Sinclair ZX81 as a present for my birhtday the year following. I was too poor to buy any games, so I started writing my own. Over time, moved to a Commodore128, and built a speech processor for it ($20 in radio shack parts),along with writing a few games.

    My point? Find a couple fun projects which meet some of your student's interests. Particularly projects where there is room to "hack". Those are a great way to help the individual develop an understanding of the fundamentals - an understanding not just of how, but also why.

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    shardeth-15902278

    Probably should have paid closer attention to what thread I was posting on with a subject like "Play".

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    justinsvalois

    Please stay on topic here,
    We were talking about toys... :)

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    --Loki--

    about the beep codes... lol.... One of those things that I always listen for when trying to boot a board, but not one of the things I would have remembered to actually MENTION to someone.... THANKS!!!

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    mjd420nova

    I didn't mean it to sound like that. Useing you ears is very important too. Sometimes I can locate the fault just by listening. Most often it's not what you hear, but what you don't hear that can lead you in the right direction. A basic primer in the use of a good voltmeter is also important, as they can be used to confirm a power supply fdailure, and even shorts can be tracked to the culprit if it's digital. The eyeball is also important, but sometimes a good magnifing glass is called for.

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    NickNielsen Moderator

    Thomsen Course Technology has several resources (http://tinyurl.com/y3gw66), but they are rather pricey.

    The best other source is probably the current edition of Scott Mueller's Upgrading and Repairing PCs. If you also can get a copy of the Tenth Anniversary Edition, you will pretty much have all the information you need from PC Day One. Start him reading.

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    --Loki--

    One of them is almost a pocket sized version... They've been sitting in my bookshelf getting dusty.... Guess it's time to bring them back out, huh?

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    NickNielsen Moderator

    Together they eat almost a foot of bookshelf, so I use them primarily for reference at the end of the day. They are simply too big to carry around with me.

    I do have a condensed reference (Pocket PC) that I carry with me for on-site use. It contains general PC information, BIOS configurations, beep codes, configuration data and so on. It's a couple of years old, but I haven't needed to update it yet.

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    jdclyde

    what will be the primary skill needed, hardware, OS, software?

    A basic understanding of all is needed, but then focus on the ONE that is the most important.

    Too many times I see people that know a little about everything, but not a lot of any one thing. They can get by in the day to day, but when there is a real problem, they don't have the abiltiy to resolve it.

    Also stress to be methodical. Always make one change at a time until the problem is solved or you will have no idea which change fixed your problem.

    Relaxing is important too. It drives my co-workers nuts becaues they will be all frantic over something for a while trying to get something going. I go back to my office, turn on the tunes, grab my coffee and "just sit there" or "browse the web". What they don't relize is I am doing that "thinking" thing, or I am looking on the web for people that have had the same type of problem. It usually doesn't take me long to get the answer.

    When you rush, you make mistakes. Dumb mistakes.

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    --Loki--

    I used to butt heads with the owner when I managed a puter shop some years back, because I'd stick the "problem" cases on the back burner while I would get the easy/fast fixes out of the way, regardless of which one came in the shop first... He never could quite grasp that I WAS working on the "problem" ones too.. but I was trying to think about possible solutions that hadn't been tried yet, rather than waste time staring and poking at it, when other things could be accomplished in the meantime... lol...

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    graham.moore

    End users(customers) don't see what is going on in your head as you work and problem solve. They think you're dogging it, while in fact you are thinking about what your next steps are. This is the real reason customers aren't allowed into shop areas at auto garages and most other areas. It also holds true for even the most basic vetrinary and human surgical procedures. Some managers and business owners need to learn this approach as well.
    Sorry to veer off topic, but I think it also applies to helping students learn. Let them think and make mistakes without looking over their shoulder and applying performance pressure.

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    jkowolf

    I've been invited into shops and supervise most auto repairs unless I know they will take too long. Much of my programming is with managers/end user sitting next to me to provide instant feedback. If I think something will need some extensive code or I need to think/plan, I tell them to take a break. Usually they have something else to do.

    My fees are based on the value of my solution to the customer and not how much time I take.

    Get the kid close to customers; they'll be paying his salary.

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    NickNielsen Moderator

    ...turn on the tunes, grab my coffee and "just sit there"...

    If you're the tech in question, there is nothing quite like watching the end user bouncing off the walls while you examine the problem with a cup of coffee in your hand.

    If it's a new problem to me, I've been known to take a smoke break and consult the manual before going to work. That really sets them off! "D*mn it, I can't do %$#*(@ and you're sitting out here smoking and drinking coffee! :^0

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    jdclyde

    I was reading a book on shell scripts when a (L)user made that comment. I handed them the book and asked them to explain it to me.

    One look at the page I was reading and they got an almost sick look on their face. They decided that just MAYBE I was not reading for pleasure?

    B-)

    Before I became the Net Admin, the mail server went down. Not my job, no one asked me what I thought, and no one wanted to hear what I had to say. No problem. (the then admin was a very insecure woman that was afraid that I was trying to take her job or something)

    The EX's aunt had JUST died the day before, so I had to leave for the showing. I was out at noon.

    The next day they had a consultant in ($1000 a day) looking into the problem. I had the funeral so I was out early again.

    The next day, the consultant didn't even bother to come back because he had no clue, and the server was still down.

    I wrote down the error codes on the console, went back to my office and relaxed. litterally 30 minutes later I had the server working again. Was pretty simple too. The young pup that did most of the admin work FOR the admin that didn't know how, had made a symbolic link to it's self. circular loop that took the system down. Killed the sym link and the server took off. Was kind of funny actually. He of course TRIED to deny that is what happened, but of course I had print outs of the log files...... log files don't lie.

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    dm3haggitt

    jdclyde knows what he is saying. He is right. Unfortunately,
    coworkers and bosses sometimes fail to adapt the consistant
    and timely success of the methodical and perfer the caos of
    headless chickens whose work often has to be redone. At
    least this is what I have found. I have learned that if you find
    yourself in this situation do your thing, but don't try to
    change others.

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    :8}

    jdclyde

    and a rule of thumb, you have to allow other people to be wrong. No one likes a "know-it-all" that steps on everyone else.

    A lesson learned the hard way....

    state your case, and then let it go. In a year when it doesn't work, everyone will know as it gets changed back to what you had said in the first place. Let time prove you right.

    thanks dm3

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    dm3haggitt

    I am learning this lesson the hard way... First at work, now in my marriage. I hope I am starting to catch on. A friend recently gave me this advice; "Don't right that wrong simply for the sake of righting a wrong." And once again thank you jdclyde for your help and advice.

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    Tig2

    The condensed version is best- it will present the information in logical order and help to reinforce it while not actively in the lab environment.

    There are a number of good A+ manuals out there- I like the "Passport" series for well condensed information.

    Another important thing to keep in mind are the old tricks that the new kids don't seem to understand- like the sensibility of keeping a paperclip handy...

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    vtassone

    Amen to the paper clip...... A set of bamboo chop sticks is nice also. They are great for the hard to reach RAM tabs.

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    Tig2

    Don't leave home without it! I have two in my bag at all times- great for cleaning out the dust rhinos that develop in the case.

    Alcohol and cotton swabs is another good one. And "Tweak".

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    jay_el_72

    That is funny, I thought I was the only one that did that. Things like paperclips, chopsticks and rubber bands are tricks that you won't find in mainstream tech books but come from experience.
    Tell them about Google and techrepublic too. Most things they will come across can be googled now.

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    techmichelle

    I don't know about everyone else but it seems like I am always reading a book or reading articles to stay up to date.

    The books follow a logical order, so you can say the person knows this after reading this book, okay a few oops as a person translates book to doing is normal.

    Michelle

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    rednksweetpea

    That way you can teach him the basics of DOS, than work up to Windows, than who knows after that, he may start teaching you what he learned. Just a thought LOL

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    Jaqui

    pound it into their head that you do NOT need to change bios settings every time.

    I recently had someone change a cdr for a dvdrw on a system, which failed completely.
    they had changed the bios settings and created an irq conflict.

    which really means:
    do as little as possible to get the system running, tune it later if needed.

    A lot of people think they have to adjust pins and bios settings for every hardware change, or even os change. the default bios with plug 'n pray options enabled can, now, usually get it right, so "if it ain't broke don't fix it" needs to be retaught to a lot of people.

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    jdclyde

    If you had a piece of hardware and the(l)user didn't think they needed to keep the books that came with them. Sure, just TRY to guess what the proper pin settings are suppose to be... :0

    I would not deal with it if they didn't have the manual. Doesn't work, guess you get to buy a new one.

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    yup

    Jaqui

    though there are still times I will not tough something unless they have the original manual and and software that came with the device.

    it makes it so much easier to make sure you are loading the right device drivers into the kernel when you have the original documentation.

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    NickNielsen Moderator

    I once worked with a tech whose first troubleshooting step was to flash the BIOS without first checking anything else (all PCs there were the same model IBM). Every time he walked up to a machine, he'd pop in his handy dandy BIOS floppy and reboot.

    Then one day, he popped his IBM 450-DX2 BIOS floppy into a brand new IBM 6282...

    After IBM declared the warranty voided, he was charged for a whole new machine. :^0

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    Jaqui

    any good tech will do the minimum needed to get the system working again.
    solving the root cause is secondary, if it's not obvious by what needed to be done to get it back up.

    This is a point that needs to be made to new techs, simply to save everyone the headaches of fatal mistakes.

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    NickNielsen Moderator

    Or just an individual personal issue, but some people just can't seem to get the idea:

    Just because you can do it doesn't mean you should do it.

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    jjvolk

    Troubleshooting a PC starts with the basics. He will need to read and study a good A+ training book. That will teach all the basics of computer components. As for repair the usual components that are the problem are: Hard Drive (bad sectors), Memory (Memtest 86 is good to check), Power Supply (always have a reliable replacement to test with). I have a POST card. This is essential for trying to diagnose a defective motherboard or CPU or Power Supply.
    As to building a computer set a procedure. What parts get put into the case first and in a certain order. Be methodical, and don't let him deviate from the procedure. That way he can build systems consistantly and speed will come with repetition.
    Usually we build CPU and Memory on motherboard and run it on the bench or desktop before installing it into the case. Don't assume it will work. It may not. We have had defective motherboards right out of the box! Also defective CPU's and memory that were brand new. Once the board runs on the table then it can be placed into the case using the standoffs. Then comes the hard drives, cd or dvd drives. then cards and cables and power added last. It should all work if the board ran on the table to begin with.
    During OS install sometimes defective parts show up like Video or CD/DVD drives (the setup reports unable to copy/find/certain files). Also defective media (CD's or DVD's) sometimes show up, but not too often. Hard drives usually show to be defective during this time also. If the OS installs properly and all drivers and devices work, let it run about 24 hours and see if still works (no lock ups or resets) before putting it into everyday use.
    I have been in the PC repair/construction business for about 18 years. I have A+ and Network+ certifications. The main requirement of an IT job is to LOVE WHAT YOU DO!

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    bbwalters

    When I worked with Motorola we had a course, 'Back to Basics' The guy showed us the importance of the earth strap by displaying microscopic pictures of the internals of CPU's that had been 'Zapped' The holes had to be seen to be believed. After that I never worked without an earth strap. We were also told anyone working without proper earthing facilities would be 'Fired' Their reputation depended on correct procedures.

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    dotxen

    osi first, tcp/ip second and not silly stuff like how to build a pc. no-one builds pcs anymore. we buy them in, and throw them away at the end of their life-cycle.

    most importantly, teach non-invasive attitudes and techniques. no point fiddling about at the top layer (application) if the cables dropped out (physical.