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Troubleshooting in an Isolated World with PathSolutions

One of the many lessons I took away from my time working on an inbound tech help desk was humility. More specifically, it was the humility that comes from not making someone move out of their chair and fix their problem with my magical IT troubleshooting skills. Trying to talk a grandmother through opening the case to confirm a CD-ROM drive had gone bad will test the patience of any IT wizard out there. Trying to remove spyware or malware solely through spoken instruction is the kind of crucible that teaches us that much of our skill doesn’t translate well when we’re separated physically from a keyboard.

Flash forward to the current state of the world. All that time spent optimizing and configuring corporate enterprise networks, security postures, and even user systems is gone. In place of it is a hodgepodge of home networks running on a shoestring prayer while the most hostile environments imaginable assault your users’ productivity every day. If the enterprise campus is like the Wild West, working from home is like Lord of the Flies.

Suppose we hope to maintain the kind of productivity that we’ve enjoyed in the past working in an office environment. What can be done to ensure that our remote workers at home are capable of having their troubleshooting needs met? What can be done to ensure our IT teams get a chance to diagnose issues as they come up and avoid being caught flat-footed?

Monitoring From Anywhere

During Networking Field Day 23 this past October, PathSolutions showed off how they’ve been trying to alleviate the issues with users trying to work from anywhere. One of the ways that they’ve done this is with their RemoteView Client Testing product.

Your users will usually tell you the minute that they see issues. But do you have the resources in place to find out exactly what’s going on? Chances are you don’t. Unlike your enterprise network, you don’t have the luxury of deploying a solution ahead of time to keep an eye on things and get alerted when something tracks outside of the boundaries you’re expecting. 

With users working from their home, you won’t know about it until a Zoom call starts getting choppy or there isn’t any access to the cloud platform where their application resides.

That’s where RemoteView comes in. Once you get the request from your user experiencing an issue, send them the RemoteView program. It’s a simple executable they can fire up on their system with no effort. Once it starts running, it will collect information about the state of their system, their network, and other essential factors. RemoteView gives you the eyes in their network that you’ve been missing.

All of the data from RemoteView can then be packaged up and sent to the technician doing the work. PathSolutions TotalView can analyze the data and find the likely problems hiding in the configuration. Maybe there is too much data streaming over the link during the workday. Perhaps the client device has failed back to an older, slower wireless network and needs to be reconfigured for faster connectivity. It could even be that everything is working just fine on the user side, and the application they are trying to work with is having problems. Rather than just guessing at the fix by throwing potential patches at the wall to see what sticks, RemoteView can give you the real data to make the decisions that need to be made. You can do it all on-demand without worrying about installing a probe or an agent at the user location.

However, if you find that certain users create regular tickets in your system, RemoteView can help. You can have the user run RemoteView in a monitoring mode all the time, silently collecting data and sending it off for analysis. That way, your IT teams can see if the problems are related to the time of day or any other specific patterns that arise.

Bringing It All Together

I wish I had a tool like PathSolutions RemoteView Client Testing when working on the help desk. Rather than guessing at solutions, I could have been working with confirmed data. Instead of poring over documentation, hoping for a needle in a haystack, I could have used the magnetic capabilities of this tool to pull that needle out and solve problems quickly. 

I may not be able to go back and solve my past problems. Still, I can recommend this one from now on to help augment what your teams are already doing to ease troubleshooting and head-scratching on networks that they don’t own or operate. In a year where so much has been up in the air, bring a piece of it back to solid ground by using RemoteView the next time your users call for help.

For more information about PathSolutions, TotalView, and RemoteView, make sure you check out their website at

About the author

Tom Hollingsworth

Tom Hollingsworth is a networking professional, blogger, and speaker on advanced technology topics. He is also an organizer for networking and wireless for Tech Field Day.  His blog can be found at

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