This was a question to test your knowledge and understanding of the system. There isn't a right or a wrong answer. It's one where we explore what you've seen, how you've been able to troubleshoot issues, failures and successes you've had in the past when dealing with the server being offline. If I were the one interviewing you, I'd say that the server is down, now what? Your answer, just starting the service doesn't take into account determining any issues, testing connectivity, all sorts of things. For example, it's pretty normal to get a report that a SQL Server instance is offline when, in fact, it's fine and the person reporting it doesn't have the right connection string. So just going straight to the service and trying to start it would be a problematic approach if the server was already started.