Career in Information/Technology

Overview

This is one of the types of careers which may often be called a “computer job”. For an overview of this type of position, see: Career paths: section on a career in “information technology” for an overview. (Although that information is relevant and worth reading before the rest of the details here, this section doesn't repeat that information here.)

This section on Techn's: Technologies, Techniques, and Technician's Technical Details contains a lot of tips about how accomplish certain technical tasks. This section is designed to provide some information about another important aspect of IT.

Providing IT support for businesses is about more than just making computers accomplish a task successfully. There are other aspects that are important if people are likely to be happy with IT service. For example, if an IT staff member wants to have a computer be rebooted (which is fine), the IT staff member should find out who may be using that computer. Restarting a computer that somebody is actively using can lead to a loss of progress as unsaved work gets destroyed, as well as annoyance at the inconsiderate interruption. (People who are actively making progress are often quite annoyed by disruptions that destroy their work flow.)

This section of text is meant to cover processes with a focus on making things run smoothly for end users. Details about how to make a computer perform a task are likely to be placed in the section called Techn's: Technologies, Techniques, and Technician's Technical Details. (And then, this section may frequently hyperlink to that section.)

One type of company that tends to have a high amount of computer technicians is an IT MSP.

Current status

At the time of this writing, there is little here. Information here is likely to expand.

Organization of this section has not yet been decided upon. Therefore, information found here is likley to move to sub-sections after some further thought about where the information will be placed.

How to restart a “server” system

This is primarily referring to a “computer” that is commonly called a “server” (although this information applies just as well if the “computer” might actually be a “virtual machine”). For the purposes of this conversation, the factor that distinguishes a “server” system from a standard desktop workstation is that there is a higher probability that remote communications may be interacting with this “server” system.

Consider impact

Figure out what the server does. For instance, if the server provides DNS services, that would affect any machine that would send DNS queries to this system. If this system does not provide that service, then that impact won't happen. So, think of what services the system provides, and what impact that would have for other computers on the network.

Schedule

Determine who may be impacted. If this machine's services are redundant, then the effects of a temporary outage may be rather minimal. If people are likely to be using the services of this machine, then the best course of action may be to schedule this action to happen at a time when this downtime will be least disruptive. For businesses, that can often be “after hours” (such as during nights).

If there are going to be people who may be inclined to use the server at the time that it will be available, then the downtime should be communicated to those people. Hopefully this helps to avoid some problems, as people can choose to spend their time doing something that won't require the system. Even if this is disruptive, people will be more understanding when they had prior notice.

Determine who is using the system.

Some things that can be checked:

Remote sessions

For example:

Terminal server

Perhaps see also: Details about the topic of RDC/RDP.

Perhaps see also:

SSH

Perhaps see also: Details about the topic of remote access.

Perhaps see also: Details about the topic of remote access.

File sharing
SMB
Microsoft Windows
From the command line
Checking for open files

There are two ways to do this.

Using openfiles
openfiles /QUERY
openfiles /QUERY /V
whoami
openfiles /QUERY /S \\systemName
openfiles /?
Using NET
net FILE

That shows a nice table. The “File ID” field (shown in the “ID” column) can be used to show a more verbose display:

C:\> net FILE

ID         Path                                    User name            # Locks

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
67         C:\WINDOWS\                             username@xy.example   0
The command completed successfully.


C:\>net file 67
File ID         67
User name       username.xy.example
Locks           0
Path            C:\WINDOWS\
Permissions     R
The command completed successfully.


C:\>
Checking sessions

For a quick table:

net SESSION

That displays information in columns, which may cause some information to be cut off. (For example, if the “Computer” name shown is an IPv6 address, having that name being truncated may be quite common.) To get around that, show the information in more verbose format:

net SESSION /LIST
Using the GUI
Starting to use fsmgmt.msc

Use the “Shared Folders” Microsoft Management Console. From a command prompt, the most direct way:

mmc fsmgmt.msc

You can also access that from within “Computer Management” (compmgmt.msc). In Windows 2008 and newer, that can be reached from the Control Panel's Administrative Tools. In Windows Server 2003, that could be reached from the context menu of the “Computer” (or “My Computer”?) icon, and choosing Manage. Unfortunately, in Windows 2008, that shortcut now goes to “Server Manager” which does not include the “Shared Folders” component, so newer operating systems require more steps to use this functionality.

Checking Open Files

From within fsmgmt.msc, choose the “Open Files” folder.

Look for the number of locks. Sometimes there are zero locks, which actually indicates that the file is not currently being actively used.

Checking Sessions
From within fsmgmt.msc, choose the “Open Files” folder.
SQL

...

Network connections

see who is using TCP ports and UDP ports.

If a connection is active, determine who.

(Note that if you are remotely connected to the machine, that one of those connections may be you.)

Migrating users

Many computer technicians have set up a new computer with the expectation (or at least the hope) that an end user would be happy with the new computer, but the end user was not initially happy with the new computer. In many cases, this is because the technician did not perform some rather simple steps, typically because the technician was unaware of the need to perform such steps (or was aware at one point, and simply overlooked the need).

Here are some steps to check.

  • What hardware will be needed? (Many businesses have really liked being able to connect to a printer.)
  • Are all needed programs installed?
  • Are (all expected) mailboxes accessible?
  • Are all business-critical websites usable?
  • Is all data available? (Are mapped drives given the expected mount points?)
  • Does the user's desktop have everything it did? Can the user find expected icons on the desktop, “task bar” (with pinned programs), and/or a “Start menu”
  • Does the user have the needed permissions? (Is the user in the right groups?)
Learning about tools

TechNet: Windows Server 2012 R2 Command-Line Reference