PC Troubleshooting

Last update: February 21, 2024 - Added Generative AI statement

Quick - the computer died and this report has to be submitted in an hour!

Your knowledge and help are needed in order to get the machine running smoothly again. This two-part competition features a qualifying exam (similar to popular certification exams) with a real-time leader board showcasing the top scores as competitors race to the hands-on final round. The ten participants with the highest scores on the qualifying exam will go head-to-head troubleshooting and repairing a failing workstation in the intense final round.

Team Composition

PC Troubleshooting is an individual event.


Friday, April 5, 2024 1:00 - 5:00 PM

Skills and Resources

The PC Troubleshooting competition will focus on a wide range of skills a PC Technicians might encounter including hardware, software, networking and security on Microsoft Windows, Apple, Linux and Android platforms. The qualifying exam will consist of 60-100 questions and will require a computer with a web browser capable of viewing standard HTML, ASP and JavaScript pages. Competitors will have up to one hour to complete the exam, which will be automatically graded in real time. No reference materials of any kind (books, notes, CDs, etc) nor Internet access will be allowed during the written test.

The top 10 scores (displayed on the leaderboard outside the contest lab) will move onto the final hands on round.

For the final hands on round (top 10 scores on the qualifying exam), competitors will connect to a remote workstation using Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol. Finalists will troubleshoot the machine for any software or operating system related problems. These problems will be related to operating system corruption, and network, Internet, and hardware configuration issues, and other related problems that keep the machine from working properly. The contest will be timed with a one hour limit. In the case of a tie, the contestant that finishes first will be the winner.

Statement Regarding use of Generative AI

We—the USITCC Conference Committee and the Foundation for Information Technology Education (FITE)—recognize the impressive growth, application, and overall utility of AI in shortening the time to completion of projects both professionally and academically. The use of Generative has increased dramatically in recent years. Students, employees, and organizations are leveraging tools such as ChatGPT, Bard, DALL-E, Midjourney, and DeepMind to supplement their own skillsets and produce greater volumes of work.

With that said, we and our cooperative organizations jointly decided to prohibit/ban the use of Generative AI from the 2024 USITCC competition.

The competitions at USITCC are primarily focused on and tailored to the knowledge bases and skillsets of undergraduate students from 2 & 4-year schools. The purpose of these competitions is to gauge, test, and present appropriate challenges for this level of student understanding and the competitions also allow students to detect their own deficiencies and strengths. Students will need to possess a solid understanding of the fields they are competing in on their own merits to truly discover where their strengths and weaknesses lie, such that they may better develop themselves for the professional world in which they are seeking careers.

Therefore, usage of Generative AI to assist in the answering, production, and development of student submissions is prohibited from the competition overall. Violation of this ban may result in the forfeiture of the competitor in that competition. We reserve the right to examine competition related network traffic data during this event. Certain web domain access may be blocked as well.


Return to the competitions overview page.