CompTIA methodology for troubleshooting follows the steps below. While this is specific to computing device users, this methodology can be applied to problem-solving in general. Also, this information is actually relevant to the CompTIA A+ 220-902 exam (Part 2 of the series).
1. Identify the problem: Question the involved users to identify user changes to the computing environment, or to uncover uncommon use cases. Perform backups as necessary before making changes.
2. Establish a theory of probable cause (question the obvious): If necessary, conduct external or internal research based on symptoms and/or problem descriptions. This means checking documentation for software applications or hardware components for compatibility.
3. Test the theory to determine cause: Once the theory is confirmed, determine the next steps to resolve the problem. If the theory is not confirmed, establish a new theory or escalate.
4. Establish a plan: Make a plan of action to resolve the problem and implement the solution.
5. Determine system status: Verify full system functionality, testing the appropriate steps with the user, and if applicable implement preventive measures.
6. Make a record: Document findings, i.e. actions and related outcomes.