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  • Is the troubleshooting page URL capitalized and punctuated correctly with no extra descriptive words, such as “laptop,” “printer,” or “camera?”
  • Does the word “Troubleshooting” appear in the URL?
  • Is the troubleshooting page formatted so that headings are user-experienced problems, subheadings are possible causes of those problems, and the solutions are explained in short paragraphs?
  • Are all of the above sorted in a table of contents at the top of the page?
  • Are the symptoms of each issue explained so that a user will know if they are having the same problem?
  • Are all the possible causes to each issue discussed and explained in depth?
  • Does the page outline the necessary steps a user must take to return their device to working condition?
  • Are links to applicable guides provided? (Add these upon completion of Milestone 3.)

Email Us When...

...your troubleshooting page is complete. We’ll be happy to look it over and offer feedback!


A troubleshooting page helps users assess the state of their broken/damaged device. Your troubleshooting wiki will list common problems with the device and describe possible causes and solutions, with more probable solutions coming first.

Any number of things may be wrong, complicating problem diagnosis. As you can see in the MacBook troubleshooting page, the MacBook may not turn on, it may have a flashing question mark on startup, or it may have a non-functional trackpad/keyboard. Often, several potential solutions exist for any particular problem.

It is important that your troubleshooting information be as accurate as possible. Writing a good troubleshooting page requires a substantial amount of research—scouring forums, product manuals, and enthusiast sites. It should comprise the most common problems people encounter with this device and what solutions have worked for people in the past. It is very important that a troubleshooting page be robust and descriptive.

Note: Do NOT proceed with your troubleshooting page until you have submitted a project proposal and received approval to move forward. See the Getting Started page for help with your proposal.

Research Strategies

Here are some research strategies for an example device (Canon PowerShot SD900):

  • Google search "PowerShot SD900 won't turn on,” "problems,” "repair,” etc. If you find repair-oriented or parts sites, the parts that they sell will clue you in to what people need to replace.
  • Use enthusiast sites like this one—they will pop up in searches. Browse through them to get a feel for common problems.
  • Feel free to research similar devices on iFixit for reference.
  • Beware of Fixya. Fixya has some information, but confusingly mixes in other information from completely unrelated devices. Use information from this site with caution.
  • Some devices have little to no repair information about them (either because of manufacturer frugality, or simply because no one has bothered to try and fix that device yet). Don't let this hinder you! Rather, use common sense and think of some problems that could possibly arise, i.e. not turning on, sticking keys, or black screens. You can also research problems with other, similar devices; odds are, some of them will apply to your device as well.

Creating Your Troubleshooting Page

Page Layout

Your troubleshooting information will appear on a wiki page with specific formatting guidelines.

The basic layout of each troubleshooting topic should resemble the following template:

Block Image


Note: When creating your troubleshooting page, it's best if only one team member edits the page at a time. If more than one person attempts to make changes simultaneously, they may unknowingly overwrite each other's work.

To create a troubleshooting page:

  • Click here to start a new page.
  • Select "Wiki" from the list of options.
  • Enter "[Your Device Name] Troubleshooting" into the title field.
    • Do NOT include the device type or generic terms such as “laptop,” “cell phone,” etc.
    • The device name should exactly match what appears on the manufacturer’s website or in official documentation (owner’s manual, etc.). If your device is known by more than one official name, stick with the most common one (Google Trends can be helpful here). If you're not sure, drop us an email!
    • Be sure to use correct spelling, capitalization, and spacing when creating your troubleshooting page. For instance, the 's' in Cyber-shot is not capitalized, while the 's' in PowerShot is.


Below is a snippet of the iPod 5th Generation troubleshooting page source code. This should give you an idea of how it's formatted. You can copy/paste the code into a new troubleshooting page, and then just change the text as you see fit.

== iPod won't turn on ==

''No matter what you do, you can't get your iPod to turn on.''

=== Hold switch is turned on ===

Before delving into the guts of your iPod, make sure the hold switch.... read on.

=== Drained/bad battery ===

If your iPod won't turn on, .... We sell batteries for both 30 GB and 60/80 GB Video iPods.

=== Bad display ===

It is possible that it appears nothing is happening because the display is bad. If .... it is possible the display is bad and must be replaced.

=== Bad logic board ===

If .... the problem most likely lies in the logic board.

(Enclosing text in double equals signs creates a heading, and triple equals signs creates a subheading. To italicize text, add two single apostrophes around it ( ' ' TEXT ' ' ). To bold text, add three single apostrophes.)

Copying the above and just changing the text will help ensure that your formatting comes out perfectly, but you can also use the built-in Word-style controls to make formatting changes:

Block Image

The rest of your troubleshooting page should follow the same format for headings and subheadings. (While editing your page, you’ll also find a link to our formatting help page, which explains all the formatting options available to you.)

When you're finished, be sure to check the box labeled "Show table of contents?" at the bottom of the Edit page. This automatically creates a linked table of contents at the top of your page using the headings and subheadings you've just defined.

Troubleshooting Page Tips

Changing Troubleshooting Page Name

Once you create a troubleshooting page, you can't simply change the title because the page's URL has the title in it. "Changing" the title involves creating a new page with the correct name first, copy/pasting all the information from the old page, and then deleting all the information from the old page. If you're planning to change the name:

  1. Copy all the text from the old page.
  2. Create a new troubleshooting page with the new name you want.
  3. Paste the old content to the correctly named page.
  4. Delete the old page.

Deleting Troubleshooting Page

If you find yourself needing to delete a device page, follow these steps:

  1. To delete a troubleshooting page, go into edit mode by clicking the Edit link in the top-right corner.
  2. At the bottom left of the page, select the "Delete Wiki" link with a trash can.
  3. A pop up will appear that says "Are you sure you want to delete the entire page?"
  4. If you want to continue and delete the entire page select "OK".
  5. The page should now say "there is no article with this exact name."

Example Pages

The following examples from past projects give a good idea of what your completed troubleshooting page should look like.

Focus On: E-Waste and Electronics Recycling

E-Waste is a growing problem and recycling does not fix this issue so much as it moves it out of our back yard to piles in third world countries:

Interested in learning more? Read about why we do what we do.


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