I often hear from readers how much they hate having to contact “Tech Support” when an issue arises with their computer or one of their other gadgets.
As you probably know, calling Tech Support is usually about as much fun as having a tooth pulled without an injection of Novocain.
Well, truth be told, the Tech Support experience is intentionally designed to be frustrating because most companies would rather have you resolve the issue on your own instead of contacting their Support personnel.
Luckily, there are a few things you can try that just might help you resolve your issue without having to call Tech Support at all:
1 – Is your computer running slowly? Are pop-up windows popping up all over the place? Does your web browser have one or more toolbars that you don’t remember installing?
If any of the above apply to your situation, the culprit is almost certain to be malware. Follow the steps listed in this post to get rid of it.
2 – If your computer started “acting up” all at once, some action that you just took might be causing it.
For example, did you install a new program or app right before the issue reared its ugly head? If so, try deleting that program or app. If the problem goes away, you’ve found the culprit.
By the way, I recommend using a free utility called Geek Uninstaller to remove programs from your system instead of Windows’ native “Add or remove programs” utility. Unlike the Windows utility, Geek Uninstaller will remove every last trace of the program and not leave any residual “junk” behind.
If the problem started right after you clicked a link in an email or on a website, the page that you were taken to most likely downloaded malware onto your computer. If so, click the link in step 1 above and give your PC a thorough malware scan.
3 – If your PC started “acting up” right after a power outage, chances are the abrupt shutdown caused one or more files in your Windows file system to become corrupted. If so, try using the System Restore utility to restore your Windows installation back to the state it was in before the power outage occurred.
If System Restore doesn’t resolve the issue you can always reset your Windows installation (just be sure to make a backup first and select the option to keep your files).
By the way, power outages can wreak all kinds of havoc with your computer’s hardware and/or software. That’s why I strongly recommend keeping it plugged into a battery backup device at all times.
4 – If you’re having problems getting a new piece of hardware working (i.e. a new printer, scanner, router, etc.), check the “Support” section of the manufacturer’s website.
In all likelihood other users have already had the same problem that you’re having right now. If so, you’ll probably find the solution right there on the manufacturer’s website. Places to look are in the Support section’s FAQs, Blog, Knowledge Base and User Forums.
5 – If nothing above worked (or even applies to your situation), try doing a Google search for the problem at hand. Simply search for the device’s name, manufacturer, model number and a short description of the problem.
For example, lets say you bought a Netgear R6700 router and you can’t figure out how to set up a wireless network with it.
Typing the green text at the end of this sentence into Google just might suggest one or more resources that could possibly help: can’t set up wireless network with Netgear R6700 router.
6 – If all else fails and you simply must call Tech Support, this post explains how to make that task as easy and painless as possible.
Well, that’s all there is to it. Now you know the basics of performing your own Tech Support!