When it comes to troubleshooting RIP issues, I find there are two types of users: Those who like a challenge and treat issues like puzzle solving, and those who would rather just have a quick answer and be done with it. Not surprisingly, this divide is also a clear demarcation between those who don’t bother with support agreements, and those who do.
Fortunately, the Harlequin RIP is a pretty straight forward piece of software. This means that in most cases, any issues that appear are easily categorized and identified by users and support teams alike. The troubleshooting process becomes quite linear then; whether you are a puzzle solver or a help requester.
For example, the most common issues users face are file related and it’s no coincidence that the first question we always ask is, “Does the problem occur with just this file or all jobs sent through the RIP?” The answer to this question determines the scope and direction of the help process. If the problem only appears with a particular file, then it’s a little more clear as to where you focus your attention.
If the RIP suddenly starts exhibiting issues with all jobs being sent, then we know we have a systemic problem that will require more in-depth knowledge of the RIP itself. When this occurs, our next question becomes, “What has changed from the last time there was successful throughput?” In these instances the process can easily start to branch. Was a global setting changed? Does it only occur with one particular page setup? Was there a Windows Update applied to the computer overnight? You can tell by these questions how the answers start to narrow down the focus and work towards identifying the true cause of the problem.
So, when people ask, “When should I call for help - and when should I try figure it out for myself?” I ask a couple of fairly simple questions in return: “Are you hard-down with no output, or do you have a few minutes to explore the questions discussed in the paragraphs above?” If you’re hard-down it might be worthwhile to seek help sooner rather than later. If it’s a single job giving you fits, take some time to learn basic troubleshooting and you’ll be that much better prepared the next time you have a problem.