What To Do Before You Call Tech Support

By: Andrea Eldridge, CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call, an on-site computer and laptop repair service company.

I am clueless when it comes to appliances. More than once I have called out a repair person to fix my dishwasher or dryer, only to discover that the power cable is loose, or that the exhaust is clogged with lint. A little basic troubleshooting could have saved me $100 or so (luckily for you, Nerds On Call doesn’t charge for estimates), if only I’d known what easy things to try before having someone out. Over the years at Nerds on Call I have discovered that there are some simple things that fix a surprising number of computer problems, and trying them before you call a computer repair company could save you time, money and frustration.

Shut Down your computer and Restart: Shutting down is a good first step for just about any electronic device that is frozen, has stopped functioning as it should, or has given you a cryptic error. From computers to printers, routers, even personal electronics like MP3 players and cell phones, you’d be surprised how often a random problem just never returns after a system re-boot. If your system is frozen, resist the urge to pull the plug. Pressing and holding the power button for five to seven seconds should cause your system to do a hard shut down. Make sure you restart the tower, not just the monitor.

Having Trouble With Your Internet Connection: When your internet network goes down, there’s a specific order in which you should restart the various parts. If you have a high speed internet connection and more than one computer, you likely have a modem and a router. If one or all of the systems on your network can no longer get online, try a network ‘power cycle’ before you spend the next few hours on hold with your computer repair company.

Run your anti-virus and anti-spyware programs: I know, I know, you hear this from me over and over. If you’re encountering an odd error, pop-up, or slow system, updating and running your protection programs certainly isn’t going to hurt.

If these tips don’t keep you away from tech support, at least there’s a good chance that it’s worth calling a professional. If you (gasp!) are having trouble with your Mac computer, drop me a note for my list of what to try before calling Apple Care.

About The Author: Andrea Andrea Eldridge is CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call, an on-site computer and laptop repair service company for consumers and businesses. Andrea is the writer of two weekly columns: Computer Nerds On Call, a nationally syndicated column for Scripps-Howard News Service, and Nerd Chick Adventures in The Record Searchlight. She regularly appears on ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, The CW, and CNN on shows such as Good Day Sacramento, Good Morning Arizona, and Good Day Portland, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, and gadgets. Andrea recently has begun working with Demand Media to produce content for eHow.com and has written a book for them: Smartphone 101: Integrating Your iPhone Into a Windows World. Andrea is available for Q & A’s, expert tech quotes and will appear on your show. Call today! See Andrea in action at callnerds.com/andrea.

Video Transcription:

Hi everybody. I’m Ryan from Nerds on Call and today we are going to be 
talking about what to do before you call tech support.

So, one of the first things you want to do is turn off the device, whether 
it be a computer, a phone or a tablet. Turn it off and get all the way 
powered down first and then restart it. See if the error or the problem still

The next thing you want to do is check the cables, if it’s a computer and you
r monitor suddenly turns off or for some reason a USB device is no longer
 working, just go into the back of the machine and make sure everything is
 still plugged in, make sure they are nice and tight. One little error every
 now and then isn’t that big of a deal but if Windows consistent errors keep 
coming up, that tells you that something’s wrong.

So, if you get an outlook error or if your hard-drive suddenly gives you
 some beep or noise, you want to see what you can do to try to get that happen
 again. That way when you hire a professional to come look at it, you can 
tell them exactly what’s happening.

Figure out what the error code is and type that in Google. Often times, you 
will figure out really quickly what the problem is. Whether it is hardware 
or software like for example, Photoshop just crashed and you got a blue
screen, then maybe you just have to re-install Photoshop and not have the
 hire a professional to fix it for you.

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