News, tips, advice, support for Windows, Office, PCs & more
Home icon Home icon Home icon Email icon RSS icon

We're community supported and proud of it!

  • Tasks for the weekend – April 17, 2021 – How to best ask a question

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Tasks for the weekend – April 17, 2021 – How to best ask a question

    Viewing 7 reply threads
    • Author
      Posts
      • #2358506
        Susan Bradley
        Manager

        Youtube here Here are just some quick tips on how to ask a question to then get the best and quickest response. Note that this is just some suggestion
        [See the full post at: Tasks for the weekend – April 17, 2021 – How to best ask a question]

        Susan Bradley Patch Lady

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2358526
        CBA
        AskWoody Plus

        The only dumb questions are the ones never asked! Of course imho…

      • #2358533
        Mele20
        AskWoody Lounger

        That’s too intimidating for a casual user. It brought back memories of how I felt after getting my first computer 22 years ago and I had a problem.

        • #2358578
          Susan Bradley
          Manager

          Anyone who uses Windows 10 isn’t a casual user 🙂

          Susan Bradley Patch Lady

          2 users thanked author for this post.
          • #2358598
            Coldheart9020
            AskWoody Lounger

            Isn’t that the sad truth. In any case, it’s virtually impossible to properly help someone with an issue if all they provide is a vague description of the problem they’re facing.

          • #2358616
            anonymous
            Guest

            “Anyone who uses Windows 10 isn’t a casual user”

            What exactly do you mean by that?

            It is impossible to buy one with Windows 7 today, and Mac is limited by price, software and hardware compatibility.

            Neither IOS nor Android can be used for productivity, unless your whole life is answering emails.

            • #2358646
              Susan Bradley
              Manager

              Meaning it’s not like an ipad. An ipad will install it’s updates and with the exception of losing passwords, the operating system will reboot, apps will be in the same place, etc.  Windows 10 – while fine for many, for others it can throw off confusing error messages that are hard to find good answers for.  Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t do work and what I do without it, but it’s not for the “casual” user of tech.  The “casual” user of tech is more likely to use an Android or Iphone for their tech use.

              Susan Bradley Patch Lady

      • #2358615
        Charlie
        AskWoody Plus

        Thanks for this advice Susan.  Many times I’ve seen a question asked on this site and they didn’t even say or otherwise indicate what OS they were using.  And just Win 10 doesn’t cut it in most cases either.

      • #2358973
        Still Anonymous
        AskWoody Lounger

        One of the things that I find useful with non-technical users is to remind them of the difference between process and results.

        It’s really easy for people to get caught up in what they’re trying to accomplish (often states as “I’m just trying to….”) and not getting that technical support needs detail of process, including the ability to recreate the problem, plus that as a technician, all I know is what the user tells me, where they’re my eyes, and without what they describe, I’m totally blind.

        If I get a problem report that’s phrased as “it doesn’t work”, I may be able to empathize with the frustration, but I can’t try fix (or give advice) unless I have a detailed explanation of what “not work” looks like, and how they got there.

        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2358980
        Microfix
        AskWoody MVP

        Any other tips you’d recommend that I’ve forgotten to post here?

        ‘Operating Systems’ seems quite important, no? There’s more to computing than just W10 as the list seems to be gearing towards. (even if it’s not mentioned and posted in the wrong section)
        XP/ Vista/ 7/ 8.1, MacOS, iOS, ChromeOS, Android, Linux et al..

        W10, the itch you simply cannot scratch!
      • #2359132
        Graham
        AskWoody Plus

        There’s also a skill to answering questions.

        There’s a big difference between wanting to be helpful, and actually being helpful.

        A very common problem is responding to a question by simply saying that what is being done is wrong. It’s more often a problem in programming forums, but it is almost invariably unhelpful wherever it occurs. Asking if a different approach could be tried is one thing: dismissing the problem as incompetence is another.

        Another is sticking to the topic at hand. Taking the time to read and understand the actual question can save a lot of frustration and wasted time later.

        Finally, there’s assuming that the person who is asking a question or reporting the problem knows very little about the topic at hand. You very often have very little idea of their skill level: just because they are stuck with something does not mean they are inexperienced.

        I’ve been on both sides of this (more often in the support role,) and it isn’t easy to provide perfect questions or error reports, and it isn’t easy to provide quick and accurate answers or solutions.

        • #2359215
          Still Anonymous
          AskWoody Lounger

          I have found this to be especially frustrating with the volunteers who respond in Microsoft forums.  Answers there frequently take a whole paragraph of empathy with the user’s issues, and trying to be conversational, but IMO, a waste of effort.

          It’s also far too frequent that the person responding hasn’t read the question in detail, and recites (regurgitates?) canned info from various FAQ lists.  There is a place for FAQs, especially for people ask questions without reading the documentation first, but the FAQs rarely address issues that aren’t as frequent (or where the FAQ maintainer hasn’t bothered to update, based on what is actually frequent, but where the FAQ only addresses the questions that the maintainer wants to address).

          I can’t count the number of instances where a person has written a well-detailed report of  operating environment, steps taken, and results seen, and very specific questions, and where the Microsoft volunteer response is limited to empathetic comments, and then listing of standard procedure.  And where, if the responder had actually *read* the entire message, would have know that the question was being asked because the originator had already done all the things suggested (and more).  The typical follow-up is predictably some form of “you didn’t answer my question”.  And far too often subsequent follow-up from the volunteer is sparse enough to not offer much in the way of useful information.

          Beyond that, there’s often an impressive number of “me too” reports of people having similar problems, and if there is useful information that transpires (often not), it comes from another participant, rather than a Microsoft volunteer.

          I will note that I’m working from impression and memory here, but I’ve seen little enough of value from Microsoft’s user forums that when I search for information, I generally avoid clicking on any results that show that they’re being delivered from answers.microsoft.com, at least for anything other than very basic how-tos.

          • #2359217
            b
            AskWoody MVP

            I entirely agree with your comments about Microsoft Community (answers.microsoft.com).

            Most responses there are incredibly low quality and unhelpful.

            I always exclude that site when I search Microsoft for info.

            Windows 10 Pro version 21H1 build 19043.964 + Microsoft 365 (group ASAP)

      • #2359139
        doriel
        AskWoody Lounger

        Good advices.
        “Have you tried to turning it off and on again?” is the correct question 🙂
        In case that FastStartup is on, simple restart is sometimes not enough.

        roy

        Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

        HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

        Attachments:
        • #2359192
          b
          AskWoody MVP

          In case that FastStartup is on, simple restart is sometimes not enough.

          I think you mean that shutdown is not enough in the case that FastStartup is on.

          Restart is always enough.

          Windows 10 Pro version 21H1 build 19043.964 + Microsoft 365 (group ASAP)

          • #2359221
            Still Anonymous
            AskWoody Lounger

            This is something that is easily missed with Windows, since Windows 8.  Microsoft’s handling of shutdown is counter-intuitive, but makes sense, if you’ve thought it all the way out.

            On a Windows setup that has default configurations, “shutdown” doesn’t do a full, cold shutdown, but merely a Hibernate. If you do a Restart, then that will do a full shutdown, but only momentarily, where it starts a new startup.  If you want to do a true power-off shutdown (e.g., in preparation opening the case, or just bleeding accumulated power out of the circuitry), you have to go out to a CMD window and use the SHUTDOWN command (with appropriate switches) to force a shutdown that doesn’t continue with a restart.

            I forget the mechanics of doing it, but there is a way of tweaking the Power section of the Start button, to restore “traditional” handling, where there’s options offered for Sleep, Hibernate and Shutdown (and I have my primary machine set that way).

            I believe that Microsoft’s rationale with this handling is in facilitating FastBoot, where resumption from Hibernate is faster than a cold shutdown, and where Restart may need a full shutdown, but where the normal expected next step is starting up again.  But it doesn’t really address how to do a true cold shutdown when you need to do that.  The logic makes sense, but it’s not well documented, and the terminology is confusing.

            I will note that this is something that I tested years ago on a Win 8 installation, with various iterations of the SHUTDOWN command, and where it’s possible to track previous system state.  Thus, I can confirm through direct testing that Restart does do a brief shutdown, and that Shutdown does only a hibernate.

             

            1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #2359226
              Charlie
              AskWoody Plus

              If you want to do a true power-off shutdown (e.g., in preparation opening the case, or just bleeding accumulated power out of the circuitry), you have to go out to a CMD window and use the SHUTDOWN command (with appropriate switches) to force a shutdown that doesn’t continue with a restart.

              Wow, so you now have to go to a “DOS Window” and type those DOS type commands and switches just to shut down your Win 8 to Win 10 computer?  I learn new things almost everyday!  This is considered progress?  On Win 7 and Linux Mint, I click the Start Button and click Shutdown.  The computer shuts down!  Totally and conveniently.

              • #2359380
                Graham
                AskWoody Plus

                Or you can just disable fast start-up in “Choose what the power buttons do” and it will then work just like W7 or Linux.

                There is minimal downside to disabling fast start-up, but if you shut down and then start up again (not using restart) many times in a day, you may save perhaps 30 seconds over the whole day.

          • #2359378
            Graham
            AskWoody Plus

            There are some limited occasions where restart actually isn’t enough. A very small number of things, usually BIOS or hardware related, require an actual power off.

            If fast start-up is not enabled (in “Choose what the power buttons do”) then that’s easy.

            If you do have fast start-up enabled, then you can either disable it temporarily, or do it the easy way: initiate Windows restart, and as it begins to boot again, power off (in many cases, that will involve holding down the power button until the power goes off.)

            • #2359386
              doriel
              AskWoody Lounger

              @Graham – for me also networking problems like firewall authentication is repaired by shutting down and turning on again.

              Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

              HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

          • #2359383
            doriel
            AskWoody Lounger

            You are correct, @b. Shutdown is not enough, restart ignores Fast Startup

            Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

            HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

    Viewing 7 reply threads

    Please follow the -Lounge Rules- no personal attacks, no swearing, no politics or religion.

    Reply To: Tasks for the weekend – April 17, 2021 – How to best ask a question

    You can use BBCodes to format your content.
    Your account can't use Advanced BBCodes, they will be stripped before saving.