Ever wonder where you can get your computer questions answered without calling tech support and waiting on hold for hours.
Entrepreneurs and small business owners are turning to Help Desk forums to get answers from entire communities of experts willing to share their knowledge for free.
Advances in technology, have given users computing power and reliability unseen or unheard of in decades past.
Today, users enjoy generous data storage space, fast processing time, connectivity everywhere, portability, and multi-media features. Happily, most computers are less likely to breakdown in the middle of important tasks-- a common complaint of older-model computers.
But, when the inevitable glitch occurs -- missing files, slowed performance, virus invasion, hard-drive crash -- that's when users realize the interruption is far more costly to their personal life and business than they ever imagined.
Thankfully, answers and solutions to a plethora of computer problems are only a click away, if you know where to look. Hours are wasted and frustration is high when the computer is on the fritz.
Start With Computer Self-Diagnosis and Help
The computer's local operating system (OS) -- be it Windows, Mac OS X or Linux -- provide handy tools to diagnose and even offer solutions to the problem.
Begin the diagnosis with these few basic steps:
1. F1 Key or its equivalent Help Key. The Help key displays different help windows depending on where you are in your application or software. If you are using your Word processing application, the Help key will bring up the Word Help window. If you are in your Internet browser, it does the same. The Help window is searchable by keyword, to narrow down help topics related to your problem.
2. The ? Image Icon. An increasing number of applications now display a question mark icon (?) in the upper right corner of the pop-up window or text box. These icons offer contextual help in the topic you are currently browsing, such as a specific explanation of different Excel cell formatting styles.
3. Event Viewer at the Administrative Tools of the Control Panel. If you have administrator privileges to the computer, the Event Viewer displays the logs containing any warnings or errors detected by the computer system at the application, security, and system-level. This is helpful in diagnosing the cause of the problem.
4. Diagnostics Tools and Anti-virus Software. OS tools or third-party software can help diagnose and fix problems. Locate the Accessories folder in Windows to access the System Tools folder to cleanup or defragment disks, and backup or restore systems. Anti-virus or anti-malware software can help eliminate any virus or malware that invaded your computer.
But, sometimes you do all that and it's still not enough to answer your computer question. That's when you tap into the collective community of online experts and resources as your next stop.
Next Stop, World Wide Help is on the Way
An online question and answer site maybe the simplest and most quick solution to your computer question.
Online communities and specifically help desks offer a wealth of answers to common computer questions. And the answers often come from experts on the topic, or from fellow users who have encountered and solved the same problem hands-on.
Here are typical computer questions you can find answers to:
- Why is my computer so slow and how do I fix it?
- Why can't I connect to the internet – is it a wireless or Ethernet issue?
- Why can't I view certain sites?
- Why can't I send email – is my ISP blocking my outgoing email?
There are a number of paid and free sites from which to choose. Begin your help desk experience by following these simple guidelines:
1. Ask an expert a question. Chances are you will receive several answers immediately. Review the answers and select what works for you.
2. Visit the forum often. Overtime, you will begin to notice members that answer questions frequently and with accuracy. No doubt you will develop a few favorites.
3. Participate or Engage. Contribute your knowledge, expertise and experience and answer questions for fellow members too. Odds are you know something that will help others solve their problem of the day. Some forums offer payment for members that answer questions.
Company Websites and FAQs
The Internet is a great source of computer-related solutions. Software vendors provide FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) and help pages. Most have 24x7 computer help desk support where users can ask for help. However, some may require payment for live tech support.
Search engines are a must-have in your computer help arsenal to locate webpages that deal with specific computer-related problems. Simply key in the computer issue you are experiencing, for example:
How do I defragment my computer?
Help. My hard drive crashed?
and find a list of help desk communities that describe solutions.
The answer to your computer problem is no more than a click away from resolution. Start with a simple self-diagnosis using the tools available on your computer. Time is money to business owners large and small, and none of us can afford to waste it sifting through thick computer manuals or waiting on hold. Tap into the online community of people willing to help – all you have to do is ask.