Proactively Addressing End-User Technical Issues with Zoom
Zoom usage has taken off like wildfire, rapidly spreading from user to user at small businesses and gradually also encroaching on the enterprise space as well. As more users switch to Zoom from other unified communications (UC) platforms, IT departments are not always kept in the loop. This rise of shadow IT has growing influence over which solutions an organization chooses to adopt and the actual IT department finds themselves struggling to support a growing portfolio of platforms without the requisite resources or training. In fact, studies have shown that some IT departments have to support up to five different video conferencing platforms concurrently, making Zoom meeting issues and Zoom troubleshooting a blip in their busy radar.
IT personnel already understand the basics of troubleshooting and can walk end-users through the basic steps: Have they restarted the program? Have they restarted the computer? Is the software up to date? However, after these solutions have been exhausted, there are some common problems specific to Zoom that will take help desk support to the next level. Below are some more advanced tips for Zoom troubleshooting to resolve those problems where turning it off and back on again doesn’t clear up the issue.
Managing Zoom Rooms
The top question when it comes to Zoom is typically how to better manage Zoom Rooms. Given these rely on both hardware and software, users often encounter more problems using Zoom Rooms than the desktop or mobile app. Zoom’s capabilities for monitoring availability are nascent in its native administration dashboard. Tools like PowerSuite provide a significantly enhanced picture of availability, as well as highlight high priority Zoom meeting issues. Without the aid of third-party tools, Zoom does provide a real-time picture of which rooms are up and running. Within the admin dashboard, Zoom highlights the “Top 25 Zoom Rooms with Issues.” The “Zoom Rooms” tab provides a better up/down picture and highlights any known problems in the details page for each room.
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If the number of rooms managed is relatively small, Zoom also allows alerting for common room system issues. To configure alerts, go to “My Profile” and look for “Room Management” on the left side, with “Zoom Rooms” under this menu. Go to “Account Settings” which is located next to the organization name. Within “Account,” there is an alert tab which offers a number of possible alerts, including when a Zoom Room is offline or the controller battery is low. These types of alerts are vital for responding to room system issues promptly.
Zoom Meeting Issues with Host Controls
Host controls present options that can allow a meeting organizer to reign in some of the chaos in video meetings. Hosts can restrict who is allowed to screenshare and even mute participants. Although very useful, these controls cause problems for users who haven’t configured these settings properly. If a meeting participant who is not the host finds themselves unable to screenshare, advise the host to go to the bottom arrow next to screensharing and select “Advanced Sharing Options.” Here, the host can permit sharing for all participants.
Another setting that can prove problematic is “Mute participants on entry.” This feature solves for the two seconds of shuffling noises as new entrants struggle to find the mute button. While benign in and of itself, to allow all participants to speak in the meeting, the host must also “Allow participants to unmute themselves.” This can be done through the “Manage Participants” pane under “More.”
Hosts must also be aware that leaving a meeting without designating a co-host ends the meeting for other participants. Although there’s a large warning message when a host tries to leave, this doesn’t cover scenarios where the host has a spotty connection and may drop unexpectedly. Where a poor connection is known in advance, it’s recommended that the primary host designate a cohost so the meeting may continue if the connection is lost.
Resolving Problems with Screensharing
The ability to share screens for presentations or demonstrations remains one of the top features for UC platforms – but it’s also a big timesuck for Zoom troubleshooting. Zoom offers some unique capabilities here, allowing multiple participants to share at once, to share just a small section of a screen, or even to share sound. However, there are a couple of Zoom meeting issues users may run into.
When a user sees a black screen during screensharing, an automatically switching graphics card is the likely culprit (often Nvidia). To fix this, go to the Windows Control Panel and open the Nvidia Control Panel. From there, click “Manage 3D Settings” then “Program Settings.” Within “Select a program to customize,” add “Cpthost.exe” from the Zoom bin directory and confirm the add. Then, find Cpthost.exe in AppData>Roaming>Zoom>bin and click “Add Selected Program,” select “Integrated graphics,” then “Apply.”
Be aware if end users are on Macs: an additional setting may need to be configured in order to allow screensharing. Specifically, Mac OS 10.15 Catalina prevents screensharing unless screen recording is enabled. To modify the setting, go to “System Preferences,” then “Security & Privacy.” Select “Privacy” and find “Screen Recording.” From there, check the box for “zoom.us.”
For the true mobile-first worker, IOS screensharing is a uniquely helpful feature. Assuming the Zoom app is up to date and plugins are installed, screensharing is remarkably simple. Users press the share content button, select “Screen” as the content, and “Start Broadcast.” To stop, a user can either navigate back to the Zoom app or click on the red bar at the top of the screen.
Network-Related Zoom Audio Issues
Just like other Cloud UC platforms, Zoom is highly dependent on a properly deployed and configured network. Excellent service availability doesn’t matter if that last mile of connectivity is poor. This can prove especially true for a wireless, rather than wired connection. Jitter, latency, and packet loss are common symptoms of a poor connection, leaving users complaining of delays or breaks in the audio and video.
When possible, ensure users are on hardwired connections. It’s possible to check internet bandwidth using an online speed test, such as www.speedtest.net. Zoom troubleshooting guidelines recommend a minimum bandwidth of 3Mbp/s for both upload and download speed but preferably greater than 10 Mbp/s.
One of the most common pieces of advice for increasing audio quality is to turn off video. With Zoom, it’s important to know that it’s not just an individual’s own video that affects their audio quality – it’s all active participants on a video call. This can mean turning off video for everyone is a last-ditch effort for improving audio quality.
Are you still struggling with Zoom troubleshooting? Unify Square offers a broad set of Zoom-related expertise to assist. Our advanced consulting capabilities can help to optimize Zoom deployments, our PowerSuite cloud managed services can provide 24×7 coverage for Zoom rooms, and our PowerSuite software offers a unique 3rd party monitoring, analytics and management set of tools to go above and beyond the native Zoom administration controls.