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How do you do....it? Thread, Interview question??? in Technical; ...
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    Interview question???

    A few weeks ago I had an interview for a Technical helpdesk position for a local university. Unfortunately I didnít get the job but in the interview I was asked a question that I couldnít effectively answer. Hereís the question.
    There is a computer room with twenty networked computers and a one networked printer over night a microsoft office service pack was installed onto all machines in the room. In morning there is an issue with printing because when users log onto the computers the networked printer is now missing. And now they can only see the Microsoft office image writer default. How do you resolve the issue?

    I answered the question with
    - Check the physical connection to the printer
    - Ping the IP address for the printer
    - Check printer is still on the server and it can still print
    - Check the policy or script which drags down printer to the client pcís
    - Run a gpupdate in command prompt on every client pc
    - If it is still not working check for a solution online

    Did I answer the question correctly?

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    KWestos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jslate View Post
    I answered the question with
    - Check the physical connection to the printer
    - Ping the IP address for the printer
    - Check printer is still on the server and it can still print
    - Check the policy or script which drags down printer to the client pc’s
    - Run a gpupdate in command prompt on every client pc
    - If it is still not working check for a solution online

    Did I answer the question correctly?
    Seems a pretty good, logical answer to me

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    jamesreedersmith's Avatar
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    No - the key to this is the service pack - i would check the obvious with the printer first but the fact the printer is not showing up is more fundamental than a cant print.

    I would have suggested updated printer driver?
    Hot fix for service packs?
    Roll back service pack if necessary until further testing can be achieved.

    Thanks

    JAmes

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    KWestos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jslate View Post
    - If it is still not working check for a solution online
    There's your -get out of jail free card. Yes, it was the service pack that obviously caused the issue, but I doubt your answer would have swayed their decision. You showed in your answer that you have technical ability, so the the answer you gave I would say was acceptable

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    jamesreedersmith's Avatar
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    I would disagree - the fact he didnt mention it may have been the service pack as a possible issue would have shown a potential significant gap in knowledge and anyone who says in an interview "ill google it" shows a ive learnt lots from the web and not real life experience, im not saying for a second that i wouldnt or dont use google/internet but i wouldnt use it as an answer in an interview.

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesreedersmith View Post
    I would disagree - the fact he didnt mention it may have been the service pack as a possible issue would have shown a potential significant gap in knowledge and anyone who says in an interview "ill google it" shows a ive learnt lots from the web and not real life experience, im not saying for a second that i wouldnt or dont use google/internet but i wouldnt use it as an answer in an interview.

    I think that checking online for a solution is an obvious answer and perfectly acceptable. 'Known issues' with problems tend to become searchable on google very quickly and it can save hours of tech time simply looking to see if there is a known issue first.

    So yes, check for the obvious.

    If that doesn't fix, a quick google may present the solution without hours of effort on your part.

    I too would look at rolling back the service pack if I couldn't resolve the issue quickly...

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesreedersmith View Post
    I would disagree - the fact he didnt mention it may have been the service pack as a possible issue would have shown a potential significant gap in knowledge and anyone who says in an interview "ill google it" shows a ive learnt lots from the web and not real life experience, im not saying for a second that i wouldnt or dont use google/internet but i wouldnt use it as an answer in an interview.
    I agree showing a potential gap in knowledge may not show you as the right candidate, but I would not be concerned if they followed it up with, I'll research the area and find out what other possible causes it may be. So to say that "i'll google it" is a bad thing is a bit short sighted in my opinion. The last interview I had I was asked about some AV equipment that I would need to setup and how to position mics for best sound capture. My resonse was along the line of I know very little of that and would have to take advice from someone. They were satisfied that I although I couldn't give them a direct answer, I did show how I would go about solving the problem - research. And I was offered the job.

    I think the answer in the OP was good and shows clear troubleshooting process. How many times do you first check the user is doing something right when they log a call BEFORE looking at tech problems?

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    The only thing I might have added would be to check the event viewer for any possible failures or information regarding a conflict and possibly removing the Service Pack from one machine to see if the printer connection was restored. That was after a bit of thought though and in all honesty would have googled it as well and this might have turned it up.

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    neon's Avatar
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    could you not have said about taking a back up before rolling pout a service pack? go back to the back up and test the service pack in a contolled environment to work out what the problem is with out limiting users access?

    Also I would have noted print driver updates and compatibility with new service pack?
    then as last resort documentation help lines and online support?

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    I just read through this thread and then re-read the question.

    The fact that the service pack was specificaly mentioned in the question and is the only thing that has changed between working and not working suggest that removing this from one machine and testing would be your first course of action. Everything else listed was correct but you would have done that if removing the service pack didn't resolve the problem.

    'Googling' an answer if all else fails is good and shows initive - but in this particular case that part of the answer does not cover the service pack issue. As the question states - the service pack was put on over night and then the printers stopped working.

    When troubleshooting always go for the simple, easiest answers first and work back. Don't waste time with drivers if the printers turned off. Don't check the power if a service pack had been installed.

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    markcuk's Avatar
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    I would of said what idiot installed the service pack without prior testing first

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    They may have been looking for you to say the Service Pack could have installed the MS Virtual Printer and changed the default printer. Best fix if this has happended is a script to delete the new Printer and put the old one back as default.

    Of course if you don't know you could say "I would refer this to 3rd Line"

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    i wouldnt use it as an answer in an interview.
    A few years ago I had an interview for a job and was successful. During the interview I was asked an obscure question about memory allocation under Windows XP. I said 'I'm not familiar with that, I'd google it'. I was told later that the question was deliberately obtuse and was designed to see how I'd react. I got the job because I was the only candidate who gave an honest and viable answer rather than trying to BS my way through.

    It depends on the viewpoint of your interviewer so it's luck of the draw I suppose but I wouldn't entirely rule out google as an answer.


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    The clue is nearlly always in the question. Part of the skill in answering a question like this is identifying what they want to hear from you, as well as providing a practical solution to the problem, using a structured well thought out process of elimination.

    The service pack will have caused the problem (90% sure). If the networked printer installed locally, as is sometimes the case in IT suites, then it makes no difference if there is a fault with the printer, it will still show up on the PCs. You could throw the printer out of the window and it would still be there.

    If the printer is mapped at logon and unmapped at logoff, then depending on how it is done, it will still most likely map successfully, as it is probably hosted and shared on a server, which doesn't really know if there printer is there or not, until you try to print to it.

    Possible causes: servicepack affects the way the script runs so as to prevent the mapping to take place, servicepack does something strange to the PCs which removes the local printer or prevents i from mapping, servicepack adds extra security to the print server (if it is one of the PCs in the room), preventing clients from mapping to the shared printer on it.

    The issue with the Document Image Writer appearing will be familiar to any IT technician working in education. With Office 2007, it's the reappearance of the Onenote printer which causes the problems, and is more likely to reappear than the Image Writer due to the locally compressed store of the entire Office 2007 CD.

    My solution would be to manually remove the Image Writer Printer and reinstall the printers if they were installed locally on each PC. There aren't many PCs so it won't take long. If they are mapped in a script then it would require some proper investigation, perhaps starting with adding a network printer manually and see what error ocurrs. From there you might get an error message which can be thrown into Google. They are looking for a systematic approach to resolving the problem here, every step you take should eliminate as many of the possible causes as possible.

    Removing the servicepack is not a good solution to this problem, even if it does resolve it, because you will miss out on all of the benefits which come with the servicepack.

    Perhaps too long an answer... for this forum, but not for an interview question

    Thanks,


    Bruce.

    Leeds, UK.
    Last edited by Bruce123; 30th November 2009 at 11:35 PM.

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    Personally I would have asked the following in response (as my first part to the answer.)

    Who did the testing of the service pack prior to the complete installation, and do they have the paperwork to back up their findings.

    If they come up with that, then I would roll back the service pack on 1 machine and then do as you stated, but making sure that it is only on 1 machine so you can ensure that it is because of the update, not a server issue.

    If rollback failed and the error was still there, I would write a script to re-issue the printers on log in.

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