The Most Common Helpdesk Problems and How to Solve Them | DeskAlerts (2022)

IT helpdesks in large organizations are often extremely busy places, with staffing and budgetary issues that can affect the ability to deal with large volumes of help requests – which is a major problem experienced by help desks.

The Most Common Helpdesk Problems and How to Solve Them | DeskAlerts (1)

(Video) Top 20 IT Help Desk Issues with Solutions Final

By knowing the most common issues your users experience you can be prepared to put strategies in place to assist the helpdesk to function in a more streamlined manner. This will not only improve the efficiency of the helpdesk but will enable you to achieve higher levels of customer satisfaction.

Common IT helpdesk problems and solutions

When you’ve been working on your company’s IT helpdesk for long enough you start to get a feel for the sorts of issues that employees will call up and ask about.

You may have different questions to these ones depending on what industry you provide support to (for example your employees may use specialized software that generates a lot of calls to the help desk) but in general, these are the most common helpdesk problems people call to get advice on:

1. They can’t log in.

Whether they’ve forgotten their password or left their caps lock on while trying to type it, these users can’t access the systems until the helpdesk comes to their rescue.

Solution: Make sure the employee isn’t trying to enter a password with caps lock turned on. Also, check to see if the password has expired, or the account is suspended due to inactivity. Send the employee a password reset link. Other solutions can involve establishing a self-service password reset portal or adopting password management software in your organization.

2. They’ve deleted files they shouldn’t have.

In many cases, you’ll get a call from someone in a panic wanting to know how to recover files they have sent to recycling or files that were in the recycling bin that has since been emptied

Solution: First check to determine if the file is in the recycling bin or not. If the recycling bin has been emptied, you may need to reinstate the file for the user from the server backup.

3. Computer is too slow.

This can often be a simple fix because the user has too many windows and applications running at once, using too much memory.

Solution: Assess the user’s CPU usage to determine if they have too many apps running at once – especially if these use up a lot of memory. Remove any temporary files from the Windows folder with the user’s permission and delete any large unused programs and files taking up space on their hard disk drive. Also, check that the user does not have viruses or malware on their machine.

(Video) Common helpdesk problems or requests and how to solve them

4. Internet outages.

Users are unable to connect to the internet or wifi for a variety of reasons that may require troubleshooting or may be related to a general, system wide outage.

Solution: Determine whether or not there is a widespread outage being experienced across the company. If not, work with the user to troubleshoot why they might not be able to connect to the internet.

The Most Common Helpdesk Problems and How to Solve Them | DeskAlerts (2)

5. Problems with printing.

The reasoning behind this can vary from the printer not actually being turned on in the first place through to issues with how their printer settings are configured to physical problems with the printer itself such as a paper jam.

Solution: Identify the specific issue. Get the user to check the printer is turned on and that the printer is showing up for them to print to. They may need to add a specific network printer in their settings. For other issues such as paper jams, talk them through the instructions from the manufacturer relevant to the specific machine.

6. User has lost access to the shared drive.

There are many reasons why this could happen, but it generally involves the IT help desk mapping the network connection so the user has their share drive access reinstated.

Solution: Ping the server to see that the user is able to connect with it. Then you will have to help them to remap their network drives so they can access them once more.

The Most Common Helpdesk Problems and How to Solve Them | DeskAlerts (3)

7. Computer has a virus.

This isn’t a great scenario and solving the problem can be quite complicated. This machine needs to be isolated from your network immediately so that it doesn’t impact the company more widely

Solution: Immediately have the user remove their machine from the network. The next steps will depend on the actual virus that is on the machine and what is needed to remove it.

(Video) Top 10 Help Desk Issues & How to Solve Them!

8. Keyboard or mouse aren’t working.

This is a problem in particular faced by users who have wireless/battery operated keyboards and mice. At some point the batteries will die, catching the user unawares.

Solution: Determine if the Bluetooth connection between the mouse, keyboard and computer is established and working. The next step is to get the user to change batteries.

9. Blue screen of death.

The BSOD can mean different things and users will panic when they see it and call the help desk straight away.

Solution: The Blue Screen of Death indicated a system crash. Often the issue is caused by either the hardware or one of the computer’s drivers. Sometimes all it needs is a quick reboot. If this fails, you may need to get the user to disconnect any unnecessary hardware to eliminate external causes. Also, attempt to boot the machine in safe mode. Other solutions include checking the hard drive for bad sectors and installing any necessary updates.

10. Computer won’t start.

Again there can be a range of reasons for this from the computer not being plugged in, the battery is flat through to the hard drive being broken.

Solution: Step the user through various potential fixes such as ensuring the power cord is plugged in and switched on. The next step is to get them to perform a reset. If it still isn’t working, you may need to deploy tech to investigate further.

When you have common IT help desk requests you can take the pressure off your staff by using tools and creating resources especially for the job. For example, you can assist employees with the most common help desk problems and solutions by placing frequently asked questions on your intranet site, create a self-service kiosk for employees, or use DeskAlerts to send notifications to the entire organization when there is a known IT issue affecting multiple users.


What are the most common IT issues?

The most common IT issues experienced by companies today involve:

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  • Cyber security (for example phishing, poor password hygiene, hackers and other unauthorized access to information)

Read more: Cyber Security Awareness Email To Employees (Plus 6 Templates)

  • The use of outdated software and equipment (including a failure to update and patch software, not returning equipment at the appropriate stage of its lifecycle, failure to perform other maintenance)
  • Issues with new technology implementation
  • Data loss from outages, malfunctions, human error and cyber-attacks (including a failure to put appropriate power protection in place to avoid critical data loss from a surge)
  • Failure to back up important information
  • Not having an IT strategy in place
  • Using unlicensed/illegal software

Why do enterprises need an IT help desk service?

IT issues can affect your company’s ability to function. If you don’t have an IT help desk in-house, your employees will face lengthy periods of downtime whenever something goes wrong with the IT environment that they are unable to troubleshoot for themselves. An IT help desk is a single point of contact for your employees to get IT assistance on a range of issues from the straightforward through to the catastrophic. Having a help desk can help you to identify any patterns or trends that are emerging in terms of known issues so that you can appropriately respond. The help desk is also invaluable should there be an outage, cyber-attack or other widespread issues.

What are the types of problem-solving methods?

Problem-solving skills are highly prized in today’s workforce. There are several different problem-solving methods that can be employed by IT professionals and others to find solutions to known issues. These include:

Trial and error: where different solutions are attempted over and over again until eventually there is a successful resolution.

Difference reduction: where large tasks are broken down into smaller steps to determine which step will get the closest to finding a solution.

Means-end analysis: where the current situation is compared to the result that you would like and you identify the most significant differences between both situations.

This article was updated in 2021

Topics: Helpdesk


How do you deal with helpdesk? ›

  1. Choose the right ticketing system. ...
  2. Create a service catalogue. ...
  3. Offer a knowledge base or self-service portal. ...
  4. Develop a culture of helping within the help desk. ...
  5. Hire good employees to retain great employees. ...
  6. Build a workflow that tracks issues end-to-end. ...
  7. Use analytics to power data-driven decisions.
May 15, 2020

What are your top 5 troubleshooting questions? ›

What are your top 5 troubleshooting questions?
  • Is anyone else experiencing this issue?
  • Have you had this problem before? If so, when?
  • Has anything changed since this issue started?
  • Do you experience this issue on another computer\device\network?
  • What impact does this issue have on you, or your team, or department?
Apr 22, 2013

How do you solve office problems? ›

Here are the basic steps involved in problem-solving:
  1. Define the problem. Analyze the situation carefully to learn more about the problem. ...
  2. Identify alternative solutions. ...
  3. Evaluate solutions. ...
  4. Select a solution. ...
  5. Implement the chosen solution. ...
  6. Monitor progress and make adjustments.

How do you resolve system problems? ›

5 easy fixes for common computer problems
  1. Run a thorough virus scan. ...
  2. Update your software. ...
  3. Cut down on the bloat. ...
  4. Test your Wi-Fi connection. ...
  5. Reinstall the operating system.
Jan 3, 2021

What are some IT problems? ›

Here are the 5 most common IT problems and how to solve them.
  • Lack of Employee (Internal) Security Measures. Perhaps the most serious technology issue in business is employee security. ...
  • Outdated Equipment and Software. ...
  • New Technology Integration. ...
  • Data Loss and Recovery. ...
  • A Lack of Comprehensive Solutions.

What are the 5 common computer problems? ›

Top 10 Most Common Computer Problems
  • The Computer Won't Start. A computer that suddenly shuts off or has difficulty starting up could have a failing power supply. ...
  • The Screen is Blank. ...
  • Abnormally Functioning Operating System or Software. ...
  • Windows Won't Boot. ...
  • The Screen is Frozen. ...
  • Computer is Slow. ...
  • Strange Noises. ...
  • Slow Internet.

What are the common problems in a company? ›

The 10 biggest challenges businesses face today (and need...
  • Uncertainty about the future. ...
  • Financial management. ...
  • Monitoring performance. ...
  • Regulation and compliance. ...
  • Competencies and recruiting the right talent. ...
  • Technology. ...
  • Exploding data. ...
  • Customer service.
Mar 24, 2017

What makes a successful help desk? ›

High-performance service desks offer easy-to-use tools that enable end-users to create tickets, monitor their status, and even self-resolve some repetitive issues – reducing overall ticket volume and saving valuable time for the end-user.

How do you answer a helpdesk call? ›

How to Answer Helpdesk/IT Support Phone Calls? (Proper Etiquette)

What makes a good helpdesk manager? ›

Is empathetic and a great listener. Translates customers' requirements to the team. Convinces the management of any new Service Desk tool purchases. Set the expectations right with a clear communication process.

What are the 7 steps of troubleshooting? ›

The steps are: identify the problem, establish a theory of probable cause, test the theory, establish a plan (including any effects of the plan), implement the plan, verify full system functionality, and—as a final step—document everything.

What is the most common cause of computer errors? ›

Although crashes caused by hardware are possible, most computer crashes are caused by errors in the OS software. The OS does more than provide an interface for the user to operate the computer.

What are the four steps of troubleshooting? ›

4 steps to troubleshooting (almost) any IT issue
  1. Step 1: What exactly is the problem? ...
  2. 2) Gather more details, eliminate variables. ...
  3. Step 3: Reproduce the problem, develop hypothesis of root cause. ...
  4. Step 4: Attempt a fix based on findings. ...
  5. Problem Solved?

How do you troubleshoot technical issues? ›

9.2 General Steps to Troubleshoot an Issue
  1. Identify the symptom: Identify the Type of Issue. Find the problem area. ...
  2. Eliminate non-issues: Make sure the correct patches, drivers, and operating systems are installed. ...
  3. Find the cause: Check for typical causes in the area. ...
  4. Find the fix: Find a possible workaround.

What should you do if you Cannot solve a problem that you are working on if you are help desk technician? ›

What should you do if you cannot solve a problem that you are working on? The problem should be escalated so that it is assigned to someone higher in the support chain. What should you do if you are being verbally abused by a customer?

How do you resolve system problems? ›

5 easy fixes for common computer problems
  1. Run a thorough virus scan. ...
  2. Update your software. ...
  3. Cut down on the bloat. ...
  4. Test your Wi-Fi connection. ...
  5. Reinstall the operating system.
Jan 3, 2021

How do you troubleshoot a computer? ›

To run a troubleshooter:
  1. Select Start > Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot, or select the Find troubleshooters shortcut at the end of this topic.
  2. Select the type of troubleshooting you want to do, then select Run the troubleshooter.
  3. Allow the troubleshooter to run and then answer any questions on the screen.

What do help desk technicians do? ›

An IT Help Desk Technician is responsible for providing technical support and assistance. They interact with customers by phone or in-person to resolve their computer problems related to software and hardware issues to help them get back up running smoothly again.

How do you solve problems interview question? ›

Examples of problem-solving interview questions

Describe a time you had to solve a problem without managerial input. How did you do it and what was the result? Give an example of a time you identified and fixed a problem before it became urgent. Tell me about a time you predicted a problem with a stakeholder.


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