Troubleshooting computer problems

It does not need not be an expensive affair. How to solve most problems yourself.

There are many tools and aids that guide you in your troubleshooting. They are examined in detail here.

Operating system help

Your operating system provides help from the start menu. It provides step by step guidance on a great number of problems. You can get to help by pressing the start button and selecting help and support.

Next, select fixing a problem

Let’s take a printing problem as an example. Let’s say you can’t print from any program. First select printing problems.

Next, select Printing Trouleshooter.

Select My document doesn’t print at all.

Select I cannot print any files, even in Notepad and Wordpad.

Continue following the instructions and the help will either resolve the problem or tell you what the next steps would be such as contacting the manufacturer or a computer repair professional.

Computer troubleshooting online

There are a number of websites that offer to help troubleshooting for free. I provide this service via my contact form and can respond to most requests in under 12 hours.

Some of these sites allow for submission of questions via email. The response may vary with some not guaranteeing a response before 5 business days. They may offer faster response for a fee.

Others have voluminous, searchable information at their site. This may or may not be better than a pure Google search of your particular question.

Contact your computer vendor

You can contact your computer and/or hardware manufacturer in most cases. Many have 24/7 toll free service as well as chat and they can help you evaluate and solve your problems.

If you have an HP product for example typing HP support contact yields the HP contact page which allows you to speak to an agent or chat over the web.

Dell support contact yields Dell contact

Netgear support contact gets you to Netgear contact

Search for solutions to your problems on the web

Use one of the search engines to post your question. You may need to phrase it in different ways to get the results that you want.

The data may be out of date so use the search engine’s date specification to a date which applies to your equipment. For Google, select the advanced search link that is next to the text box where you enter what you are searching for.

If your computer or operating system is new, select a date within the last 6 months or whatever is appropriate.

Keep clicking on the returned answers that seem the most relevant and that make sense to you. If all the answers are not on target, you can try rephrasing the question.

Expert websites

There are sites that have experts to help you if you have a subscription. Experts Exchange is an excellent source.

Online repair services

These services will analyze your computer for a fee. They may also be able to solve your problem by doing remote computer repair directly on your computer.

One famous and notable service which received a favorable review is the Geek Squad. They allow for remote repair. Here is a recent full review of their service from PC Magazine

However, a review of expert comments reveals some strong reservations about Geek Squad so caveat emptor, let the buyer beware.

Computer repair outlet

If all else fails, you will need to bring it to a repair outlet.

Reviews of major chains that sell computers doing repairs do not paint a pretty picture.

Chain stores are very focused on the bottom line. Therefore, they don’t pay the techs very much and don’t attract quality talent in general.

The large chain stores make the majority of their profit from sales, not from tech services, therefore they can afford to have customers unhappy with their support. If you know someone that had a repair done at one of these places that was happy and can identify a qualified repair agent, it can pay to follow up.

Small shops depend on repeat business and have a vested interest in keeping their customers satisfied. If the small shop has been in business for a while, it is a good sign. If you need more reassurance, ask the owner for references and check them out.

Get your own guru

It goes without saying that you can ask your friend the guru for help. The methods above allow you to get help on your own.

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