Thursday, September 29, 2005

Before Calling Technical Support

Sometimes calling technical support is a bigger hassle then its worth these days. Although, not all technical support people are one step above computer illiterate. I have talked to some really sharp ones over the years, but they're few and far between.

There are some basic troubleshooting steps that you can perform, before or while you waste 30-60 minutes on hold for someone to help you. These techniques can help eliminate the call in the first place.
  • If all else fails, save all your work, close all your applications and reboot your computer. If your computer will not let you reboot it, try pressing the Ctrl-Alt-Del keys. If that still doesn't work, try holding in the power button until the computer turns off. Although, if your computer is still not rebooting unplug it, wait 10 seconds and plug it back in (this is a step of last resort, and it is not recommended).
  • While your computer is turned off, if you have any external hardware devices (i.e.: scanners, hard drives, etc...) that you don't need turn them off and unplug from the computer. If you can't unplug a device or you just don't want too, make sure all the cords are properly connected. Check the Device Manager for unrecognized devices:
    • Check the device manufacturer's web site for updated device drivers and firmware. Also check if the site has a knowledge base of known issues that can help your problem. If you recently updated a device driver and you think its giving you problems try rolling it back.
    • Go to Windows Update and download the latest update for your system and hardware. Check the non-critical updates to see if they can fix your problem.
    • Check to see if you can find a solution to your problem in Google. Also make sure to check out Google Groups.
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