So it's wild hair time, and I just got one. Just did a post on "Shooting the Moon" as a troubleshooting technique where I was half-tempted to spell-out to the OP/User what it means, and half-tempted to NOT clutter his thread with my drivel, so the compromise was to refrain from the drivel there, and post it here instead. Then wild hair #2 was the idea that maybe other people might have their own troubleshooting ideas, methods, etc... and that we could all share them, and learn something. Or at least laugh at someone who posts in order to extol the virtues of registry cleaners. (That was not a joke, it was a THREAT. Don't do it.)
So my flea-bitten contribution is to talk about what it means to "Shoot the Moon" in troubleshooing a system of some sort. It applies to pretty much anything. I've heard doctors use the term when looking to diagnose a patient.
What it means is that, instead of following a deliberate, structure series of steps in order to determine what the the problem is, out of an infinite number of possibilities, you (the Tech) get a "gut feeling" about what the problem is and instead of adopting the structured method of troubleshooting a problem you "Shoot the Moon" and try to prove or disprove that your "gut instinct" is either correct or not correct.
Example in the last thread I suggested the OP "Shoot the Moon" and reinstall is internet connection adapter, on the chance that it might fix his slow internet. I had no reason to suspect the adapter's drivers were bad, but in terms of time and energy, and also things that you can reasonably try to get a layperson User to do, uninstalling and reinstalling a device driver is about a "4" on a scale of 1 to 10. Easy, fast, safe. And it might work. If it works, you've Shot the Moon, and it PAID off. If it fails, well it took about 5 or 10 minutes and now at least you know what the problem is NOT.
That's "Shooting the Moon". Trying a repair on a computer for no other reason than it might work,and because you can.
Also I'd like to compare and contrast two different ways to "Shoot the Moon". The "Good" way, and the "Stupid" way.
User presents with a computer problem; says that every week or so the video disappears from his monitor and he has to restart the computer. Sometimes the video comes back immediately and sometimes it takes a few hours. The User thinks maybe something is "hot" and it needs to "cool down".
Shoot the Moon, the Good way: Suggest the User open the case, remove the video card, spray with compressed air if excessively dirty and "reseat" the video card. Takes 10 - 20 minutes, low risk, chance of working 10%.
Shoot the Moon, the Stupid way: Suggest the User get a soldering iron and resolder all the capacitors on the motherboard, because the Tech read once where someone with the "exact same symptoms" had a cracked solder joint, which caused the intermittant video problem. Takes 3 - 4 days, extremely high risk, chance of working 0.002 %
Here's the point:
At face value, all things considered, and without the ability to compare Solution Good with Solution Stupid, a layperson might think both are valid reasons why their computer has intermittent video.
Stupid Tech: "Oh yeah! I remember I saw this EXACT SAME PROBLEM last year, and the problem was a cracked solder joint so the guy had to resolder all the solder joints on the motherboard and eventually he fixed his problem.
Good Tech: "Oh yeah! I remember I saw this EXACT SAME PROBLEM last year, and the problem was the video card wasn't seated properly, and it's fan was really dirty so it ran hot. So the guy cleaned the Video card fan, and reseated the Video card and he fixed his problem in less than an hour.
My overall point is that when, as a Tech, you entertain the idea of "Shooting the Moon", there has to be more involved in the suggestion/advocacy besides your "gut feeling". Risk, the likelyhood that it will fix anything, the amount of time, energy, expertise and possibly money should also be considered. Such as when "Techs" advocate the purchase of new hardware before definitively proving that the old hardware is actually bad. OR, suggesting that the User "Reinstall Windows, it's your only option left", but only because the (simple-minded and ego-driven) Tech doesn't have enough technical "depth" to come up with a less draconian alternative. ("Since *I* can't imagine an alternative, then no alternative exists. At all. Anywhere.")
Anyways, that's "Shooting the Moon". Maybe, another time, when I'm feeling chatty again, I'll talk about horses, zebras and unicorns.