To begin troubleshooting a network problem, you should first try to locate the source of the problem. Check to see whether a group of users, or only one user, has the problem. If only one user has the problem, begin troubleshooting with that user's computer.

The first step in the troubleshooting process is to identify the problem. Figure 1 shows a list of open-ended and closed-ended questions to ask the customer.

After you have talked to the customer, you can establish a theory of probable cause. Figure 2 shows a list of some common probable causes for network problems.

After you have developed some theories about what is wrong, test your theories to determine the cause of the problem. Figure 3 shows a list of quick procedures that can determine the exact cause of the problem or even correct the problem. If a quick procedure corrects the problem, you can go to step 5 to verify full system functionality. If a quick procedure does not correct the problem, you might need to research the problem further to establish the exact cause.

After you have determined the exact cause of the problem, establish a plan of action to resolve the problem and implement the solution. Figure 4 shows some sources you can use to gather additional information to resolve an issue.

After you have corrected the problem, verify full functionality and, if applicable, implement preventive measures. Figure 5 shows a list of the steps to verify the solution.

In the final step of the troubleshooting process, you must document your findings, actions, and outcomes. Figure 6 shows a list of the tasks required to document the problem and the solution.