Category Archives: How To

What Should Your Employees Do Before Contacting the IT Help Desk?

Worried Man At Computer With System Failure Screen At The Workplace Before Contacting the IT Help Desk

Ever wonder what steps you could take before calling the helpdesk?

Your company’s employee-facing IT help desk was built so that team members can reach out for technical help whenever they need it. The IT support staff is there to help with networking errors, to make the company software work, and to make sure customers get the automated service they need through the company technology. They are there to make the computers and devices work correctly, to defend against active and passive hacker attacks, and to offer solutions to situations so complicated that your team hardly knows how to describe what’s gone wrong.

But there are also a few things that every computer-using professional can do before calling IT that can provide the solution so much faster than clocking and solving a ticket. IT help desk professionals are happy to help when their expertise is needed, but they often wind up reciting the basic troubleshooting steps instead of solving fun and challenging problems.

So today, we’re here to offer your team a few of those basic troubleshooting steps you can take before clocking a ticket. And if these techniques don’t produce a solution then, by all means, make that call or open that chat window to present your IT team with another interesting internal network challenge.

Reload the Software

Software glitches for a lot of different reasons. Full caches, computer resources, an over-logging error; these things can crash or slow down  your business software but they’re not necessarily things that IT can fix any easier than you can. What your IT help desk would say first is to reload the software. Hit refresh. Close the program and re-open it anew. Log out and back in again. And if that doesn’t solve the problem, feel free to get in touch with IT to see if there’s something else that can be done.

Reboot the Computer or Device

Is your entire computer moving slow, acting up, or glitching in a particularly annoying way? Again, there are too many reasons for hardware misbehavior to enumerate in a single paragraph or even a single dedicated whitepaper. But a lot of them can be solved with a simple reboot. Whether the issue was too much stacked software, background programs, or something that went wrong in the firmware that needs to be reset, rebooting pretty often provides the solution. But if the situation repeats itself within a few minutes of rebooting or seems to happen frequently, it’s time to reach out to your IT help desk for more in-depth answers.

Try Toggling the Relevant Settings

Check the settings. Whatever you’re having trouble with, check the user-accessible settings. Don’t worry about delving deep, but whatever settings you can reach, try toggling them back and forth to see if you can get a different or improved response. It might be that your software isn’t quite configured correctly or you just need to trigger another type of reset. Switch your Wifi off and back on again, switch sharing off and on, or switch your monitor from extended to duplicated to extended again. Yes, it really does work sometimes. Surprisingly often.

Check the Easily-Available Troubleshooting Guides

If your IT team has gone through the trouble of writing up troubleshooting guides for common problems, do them the favor of at least skimming the IT help section available to you. These guides are often written specifically because dozens to hundreds of tickets for the exact same problem have been submitted and IT has deemed that the troubleshooting process is easy enough for a non-IT professional to tackle on their own.

If you can’t find a guide or if your company doesn’t have internal IT help guides, then of course reach out to your IT team for personalized guidance instead.

Ask the IT Chatbot

Finally, if your IT help desk has cleverly set up a chatbot to answer frequently asked troubleshooting questions, take a moment to engage. Chatbots are getting pretty darn smart (and programmable) these days so if there’s an IT bot available, it might just have the answers. It’s not only worth your while to take this semi-automated DIY troubleshooting guide, it’s also an awesome story to tell to colleagues and friends that you got IT help from an actual virtual intelligence.

If and when all else fails, be sure to clock your troubles as a ticket and describe the steps you’ve already taken independently so your IT help desk team can jump right in to help you find the true cause and solution. For more interesting, useful, and actionable insights about IT help desks for your business, contact us today!

How to Use Dynamic DNS


Using a dynamic DNS can help ensure your home business’s online presence is runs smoothly.

You’ve been building up the computer systems for your home business. It’s reached the point where it’s worth putting them on their own Internet domain. It’s a little tricky, but you can do it.

Here’s the issue. Every device on the Internet has an IP address. It’s a set of four numbers, such as People don’t access the Internet by IP addresses, of course; they use domain names. A Domain Name Service (DNS) maps domain names to addresses; for instance, might have the address

If you’re a big company with a lot of money, you can get a fixed IP address that belongs to your domain. It will rarely change, if ever. But for most of us, there’s a problem: There aren’t enough addresses to go around. If you’ve got an account with an Internet service provider, it allocates an address dynamically to you, using a pool of addresses. It can change at any time.

If you want to register a domain for your home-based system, that’s a problem. The IP address which you have at the moment could belong to someone else in a few hours. Still, there’s a way to do it. Some DNS registrars provide a service called Dynamic DNS.

(There’s another IP address scheme, called IPv6, which eliminates the problem by providing a lot more addresses. It hasn’t caught on universally, though, and till it does you need an old-style, IPv4 address.)

Setting up Dynamic DNS

With Dynamic DNS, your registrar keeps your IP address up to date on its server through all its changes. Your equipment has to notify the registrar of each change. The software that does this is called an update client. There are two ways to set it up.

One way is to have your router act as the update client. Many routers support this feature. This is the simpler approach, since you don’t have to install any software in your computer. You just need to configure it according to your provider’s instructions.

The other way is to have the update client run on your computer. That’s more reliable, since you can install software tailored for or recommended by your provider.

When should you use Dynamic DNS?

Dynamic DNS has some problems. A dynamic IP address can’t be cached as much as a fixed one, so there’s more overhead looking it up, affecting performance. If your client misbehaves, you might disappear from the Internet. Free services are available, but they usually limit you to certain domains or subject you to ads and “nagware.” A paid account isn’t expensive, though.

When does it make sense to use a home-based system with Dynamic DNS, rather than getting a free or inexpensive hosted site? Everyone’s reasons will be different. Here are a few possibilities:

  • You want to access your own computer easily when you’re on the road.
  • You’ve got specialized software which is very resource-intensive or otherwise problematic for a hosted system.
  • You have unusual computer hardware which is essential to what you’re doing.
  • You just like having full control of the host computer.

If you’ve got a specialized service that you want to run on your own equipment, you can still have your website hosted and use a subdomain (e.g., for your unique software. Every subdomain that you control can have a different IP address and different DNS service.

Hosting your own domain means extra responsibility. Any published domain becomes a target for crooks cruising the Internet for sites to attack. You have to be extra careful to configure your firewall and set up strong passwords to keep intruders out.

If you really need your own domain for your own equipment, though, Dynamic DNS is the way to go, and it’s not that expensive or difficult.

SystemsNet provides support and managed services to keep your computer systems running smoothly. Please contact us to learn what we can do for you.