Well there's no
denying it - No matter how new or how
well maintained our computers are, we
all encounter computer problems sooner
or later. The good news is that we don't
have to face them alone. There are a ton
of resources available to walk us
through computer issues but it may take
a little knowledge in knowing how to
access them. This article will show you
1. Remember help files. It's funny, but
people seem to forget that every
computer and every program installed on
a computer comes with its own help file.
Even the operating system of a computer
has a help file and it really should be
the first place to look for answers.
Help files are designed not only to
guide the usage of a computer, they're
also designed to solve problems. Inside
a help file, look for a section called,
"Troubleshooting" (or something similar)
when you need to resolve an issue. This
section is reserved for solving problems
specific to the software or hardware
that you're using.
2. Product websites. If you're having a
problem with a piece of software or with
a hardware part, try the website of that
software's or hardware's manufacturer.
Most (if not all) manufacturer's reserve
a portion of cyberspace and dedicate it
to support the products that they build.
Microsoft's help desk is good example.
3. Fan sites. Fan sites probably isn't a
good name for this resource, but you can
find websites that are dedicated toward
supporting the users of a particular
software program or piece of hardware.
We've called them "fan sites" because
the maintainers of these sites have no
affiliation with the manufacturers that
they support! Call them what you will,
but their free help is immeasurable and
without it, we wouldn't have some of the
wonderful workarounds and unique problem
solving techniques that we have today.
4. Usenet newsgroups. Another underused
resource on the Internet, Usenet
newsgroups have hundreds of discussion
groups dedicated to some of the most
popular computer systems, operating
systems, hardware manufacturers, and
individual software programs. Sometimes,
the representatives of these companies
participate, but most of the time, the
support in this group is user to user,
which is just as valid because you're
working with a team of experienced
5. Support Lines. Another source for
help that we shouldn't forget are the
support systems of various
manufacturers. You can reach these
systems by calling the phone number
associated with the product that you're
having trouble with. Calls may be free
(1-800 or 1-877 number), or they may
cost a small fee (1-900).
6. PC support groups or user groups are
another option for help. These are
groups that meet in libraries, computer
stores, or other local areas and they
discuss all sorts of issues related with
a particular product. Even if you aren't
experiencing a computer or software
problem, user groups are fun to
participate in and they can help you
network into other interests such as job
or teaching opportunities.
7. Surprisingly, you may even get a
helping hand from the salespersons at
your local computer store. We don't
recommend that you make this your first
pit stop when you experience a problem,
but we don't recommend that you rule
this option out altogether either.
Computer salespersons are hired for a
reason - and that's their knowledge.
Often, these kind folks can help you
resolve an issue over the phone and
prevent you form having to buy a costly
As you can see, help is easy to find -
You've just got to know where to look
for it. Most of the contacts within
these resources are extremely friendly
and willing to take the time to walk you
through a problem at little to no cost.
From online discussion groups to the
files on your own computer, help is
often just a click away.
was part seven of the series watch
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