How to Troubleshoot a Digital Answering Machine

by Contributor

You can't stay glued to your phone 24 hours a day. And that's why you own an answering machine. Chances are you have a digital answering machine to go with everything else digital in your life. But what if things aren't working right? It's a headache, for sure, but there are things you can do to troubleshoot a digital answering machine.

Start at the power source if your digital answering machine isn't working at all. Doublecheck that the AC adapter is plugged into the wall correctly. It's best that it not share an outlet with other electronic items. If you experience frequent power surges, invest in a surge protector.

Replace the battery in your cordless telephone if you have a combination unit that suddenly stops working.

Try plugging your digital answering machine into a different outlet if it appears dead or if crackling is a problem. The problem could be with your outlet.

Consider rebooting your telephone. Unplug from the electrical outlet and the telephone. Wait a minute, and then plug both back in.

See if your answering machine allows you to increase message times for callers who regularly run out of room. You can configure some machines to allow callers to leave messages up to five minutes long.

Remember your 4-digit PIN. Often it's the last four numbers of your phone number. You'll need your PIN for those times you want to check messages when you're away from your phone. Models differ, but try to press 0 during your greeting message, then entering your PIN.

Understand that not all answering machines are cable or DSL compatible. If you recently installed DSL broadband or cable and your digital answering machine suddenly quit recording messages, this could be the problem. Try to plug it into a line separate from the one used by your computer or install a DSL filter on the line.


  • check Many manufacturers place user manuals for their products online. Check manufacturer websites if you've lost your manual.