Troubleshooting Your Windows Vista Network
When Good Networks Go Bad
As a part of my software consulting work, I end up doing a fair bit of network support for my clients. And every time I get a call from a client with a network problem, I cringe. I never know whether it's going to take 10 minutes or a week to fix. Sometimes the problem isn't so bad; I've fixed more than one "broken" computer by turning it on. If such an easy fix doesn't present itself immediately, though, a bit of a cold sweat breaks out on my forehead. The problem could be anything. How do you even start to find a nasty problem in the maze of cards, wires, drivers, and hidden, inexplicable system services? And it's difficult enough debugging the stuff that belongs there. What if viruses, adware, or rootkits are messing up the works?
Well, if you work for a corporation with a network support staff, of course, the answer to any of these questions is "Call the Help Desk!" or "Call Bob!" or call whoever or whatever is responsible for network problems in your organization and then take a refreshing walk around the block while someone else sweats over your network. It's great if you can get that kind of support. If you want to or have to go it alone, though, the good news is that some tools provided with Windows can help you find the problem. After discussing troubleshooting in general, this chapter shows you how to use these tools.
In reading this chapter, you probably won't find the solution to any particular network problem you're having. I can't really help you solve any one specific problem here, but I can show you some of the tools available to help you identify the source of a problem you might have.