As I was working on a recent Monday morning, I got a text from a friend.
"My Amazon Fire TV Stick went out over the weekend. The on/off button works and the volume works. What does not work are any of the other buttons that allow me to move among the tiles. I'm having to use the voice function. Do I need a new remote? I tried resetting/unplugging the Fire TV Stick from the TV but continue to have the same issues."
I haven't had a ton of experience with Fire TV Sticks, but I did own an early model, and I've reviewed them.
I do remember that the remotes come paired from the factory, but a quick internet search shows that pairing can break.
To fix it, you need to follow a few steps to manually reset the remote and the Fire TV Stick and then pair them again.
Amazon says to do the following steps to pair the remote.
1. Press and hold the voice control key until the light blinks three times.
2. Remove the batteries from the remote.
3. Unplug the Fire TV Stick and plug it back in.
4. Reinsert the batteries into the remote.
5. Once the Fire TV home screen is showing on the TV, press and hold the Home button on the remote for 10 seconds.
This procedure unpairs the remote, resets the Fire TV Stick and pairs them again.
My friend was happy to report that the procedure worked and she was back to normal operation with her Fire TV Stick and remote.
I recounted this exchange to help others who may have had this issue, but also to mention the best way to troubleshoot an issue like this is to search for a solution on the internet.
I realize that sounds really generic, but in the instance above, I didn't have that procedure stored in my brain.
I searched the internet for the term "Fire TV remote stopped working," and the reset procedure from Amazon's support page was the first item on the list of results.
I sometimes tell people the key to being a good IT person is being able to remember solutions to problems you've worked on in the past, and the ability to quickly search for solutions to new problems.
Be as specific as you can in your search, but try to keep it brief. Chances are you are not the first person to have the problem, and someone has likely documented the fix online.
When you evaluate the possible answers, be selective. In this instance, I looked for a solution from Amazon first.
The answers are out there. You just have to get good at finding them.
Jim Rossman writes for The Dallas Morning News. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.