Getting Technical Support Help Online
Sometimes your PC will start acting strange for no apparent reason or a program
which you use regularly will all of a sudden stop working as it should. This
can be a frustrating experience especially if you have no idea where to go for
help. If this happens to you, don't panic! Here are some simple tips which may
turn your frown upside down.
1. Don't assume that your problem is unique. The chances are that someone else
has had that problem and it has already been solved. Google is a great place
for getting technical support help believe it or not. You may have to
experiment with wording your problem and refining your search, but it's worth a
try. For example my Outlook email client stopped showing me the 'Subject' field
when I was composing new email. As a result all of my email was going out
without a subject. After a bit of experimenting with wording the problem I
found the answer by searching on the phrase "Outlook subject field missing".
Someone in an online discussion group had the same problem and the answer was
provided. When you find good discussions groups bookmark them for future use. I
have a bookmark I call Technical Support Help and it's full of great web sites.
2. The Google trick is good for lots of software but you should always try the
web site of the program's manufacturer as well. Sometimes your problem is
really a bug and there may be a new release or work around available. Many
software web sites have FAQs, discussion lists, and help desks available that
provide free support. Sometimes there is a telephone number that you can call
but you may have to pay for live help.
3. There are companies that offer free general help for simple questions and
then charge a sliding scale for more complicated ones. Support Freaks (www.supportfreaks.com) is a good one to try. Even if you have to pay, the rates are reasonable. Click on the "Freebies" link, under the "Quick Links" menu to see if your question is eligible for free help.
4. There are probably any number of local PC support groups that meet in
libraries and other locations near your home. Some of these groups are very
specific in nature and some are general. Try searching Google for "PC Support
Group" or "PC User group" and the name of your town. Also check with your local
librarian and computer stores. They often know of these groups.
5. Speaking of computer stores, you can often pick the brains of the more
knowledgeable salespeople if you are lucky enough to find any. Many times these
employees love computers so much that they will act as your big brother or
sister if you need some quick help. Sometimes they moonlight as consultants at
a good rate.
This ought to be enough information to get you started on the road to solving
your next PC or software problem. If you are having Internet connectivity
problems then your ISP is the first place to start. If you can't get online at
all, and you don't think you know their phone number, think again. I'll bet
that it's printed on every bill that they send you. You'll also need your
account number and you can bet that it's printed on the bill as well.
Remember -- When it comes to getting technical support help, the first rule is:
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