The Complete Guide to Giving Better Family Tech Support

It’s that holiday season again, which means it’s within the river and thru the forest to…well, fix your Wi-Fi along with other tech problems.

If you are studying this, there’s a strong possibility that you’re the “tech person” inside your family. Which means your folks are constantly asking for help, then blaming you whenever something goes completely wrong. (“Steven, you are aware how you fixed my printer in This summer? Well, now my internet doesn’t work. Do you consider you broke the web?”)


By doing so, to be the technical support for the family could be enormously frustrating. But, simultaneously, because of the growing role of technology in people’s lives, you have a very important job to complete. Oftentimes, if you are not there a couple of occasions annually ensuring the computers are current, the photos are supported, and also the tech is humming along because it should, then all your family members are capable of have people exploit their computers, lose their photos to some hard disk crash, or else be miserable simply because they just have no idea much better. Unlike me and you, they aren’t available maintaining on all of the tech news and studying how-to guides.

So knowing that, we’re likely to tell you a quick studies-with copious links to tutorials we’ve written previously-that may help you whip your tech existence fit, so their systems feel at ease, their computers are supported, and things are connected so that you can easily enable them to later on. The guide is split into sections that, according to experience because the family tech support, would be the areas which are the most typical (and pressing).

Tech-savvy people have a tendency to update frequently simply because they want additional features and security patches. Non-technical people have a tendency to put updates off-sometimes for very, very lengthy occasions. Once, while helping a family member using their computer, I came across they hadn’t even updated Home windows 7 to Service Pack 1 because somebody had said excitedly that Service Pack 1 was bad and would crash their computer. Oh, which was six years following the service pack was launched and Home windows 10 had been out.

Knowing that, among the first stops in your technical support tour ought to be to take a look at your loved ones member’s computers and devices to be current. Not only that, but speak with them before updating their stuff, and clearly show them why you’re doing the work. Many occasions individuals are upset when things look different or behave differently because of an update, however if you simply clearly show them the update would be to ensure their products are secure and thus nobody can steal their identity, infect their computers, or else make their existence miserable, they’ll be more open to any changes.

The good thing is that Home windows 10 now forces updates (unless of course you’re running the professional or Enterprise editions, which allow you to pause updates). So, in case your family’s PC is running Home windows 10 and it has a good web connection, the probability is they’re pretty current.

Still, problems can happen that prevent updates from happening. Just lately, my wife’s laptop was acting slow and flaky, and that i recognized Home windows 10 hadn’t updated in a long time. Because it switched out, the Wi-Fi would be a little iffy where we’d her laptop setup more often than not. Home windows had attempted installing updates and setting them up, unsuccessful, attempted again, and so forth. Each time she used her computer, it had been slow since the update process was attempting to get caught up. I hooked up to Ethernet, downloaded and installed everything, and problem solved.


A Step-By-Step Guide to Getting Better Tech Support

When you need help fixing your computer, the last thing you want is a communication problem. Before you call tech support or file a bug report, there are a few things you should do to make sure you get the best help possible.

Step 1: Try Some Basic Solutions First

The person on the other end of the tech support line has to deal with tons of people every day who don’t know much about computers. Some support lines even run off scripts they’re required to go through no matter who’s calling in. Either way, they’re going to suggest you try some simple things that fix most problems. You can make the phone call go a lot quicker (or skip it entirely) by doing a few simple things first:

For browser problems:

  • Restart the browser: Your browser is probably the most-used app on your computer. If multiple separate websites aren’t loading (or not loading correctly), try restarting your browser first. It’s quick, easy, and solves a lot of problems. On the other hand, if it’s just one site that’s having a problem, check services like Down For Everyone Or Just Me to see if the site itself might be the one with the problem.
  • Disable extensions: As great as extensions are, they can also introduce problems. If your browser starts behaving oddly after you install or update an extension, disable them to see if the problem stops. If it does, re-enable them one at a time to figure out which one it is. You can also check a website in incognito mode to quickly rule out any extensions or cookies that might cause a problem.
  • Clear your cache and cookies: One of the first things tech support will suggest you do if you’re having browser problems is clear your cache and cookies. May as well get this step out of the way. Like restarting your browser, clearing your cache can fix a lot of under the hood problems without the need for a lengthy diagnostics phone call.

For internet problems:

  • Unplug your router for 10 seconds: When your internet goes out, it’s not always your ISP’s fault. Sometimes your router can be the problem. Restarting your router is one of the first solutions tech support will suggest.
  • Perform a speed test: Assuming you have any internet access at all, a speed test can tell you whether it’s your connection that’s the problem or someone in the house. If you’re paying for one speed but getting another, you might need to call your ISP. If you’re getting the right connection speed, but things are still slow, there may be a bandwidth hog on your Wi-Fi. Speaking of…
  • Turn off extra downloads: Steam users are used to the periodic slowdown that comes from a game update downloading in the background. Avid torrent users, regardless of skill with tech, can forget to turn off torrents when their downloads are slow. Before you call your ISP, make sure your computer isn’t downloading something in the background.

For general PC problems:

  • Restart your computer: When your computer does something weird, this is always the first, best step to fixing it. It’s also extremely important when it comes to the next phase we’ll get to in a bit: ensuring a problem is reproducible.
  • Close other applications: If your machine is running slower than normal, you may have too many applications running, hogging your RAM. Close background apps until you’ve freed up some space (of course, you shouldn’t go overboard, either). This is also a good way to isolate any problem applications that may be causing trouble.
  • Free up disk space: When your RAM gets full of data, your PC can offload some of that data to your hard drive. If your hard drive is already pretty full to start with, this can cause your system to grind to a halt during regular use. Make life easier on yourself by clearing out a few gigabytes of data before you call support and see if that fixes things. This may also help you identify whether you have a faulty hard drive that’s causing the issue.

These things won’t fix all of your problems all the time, but if you check these before you call someone, you can dramatically reduce the number of calls you have to make in the first place. More importantly, with the possible exception of turning off your torrents, tech support will probably ask you to do some or all of these things anyway. That frustrating phone call will go a lot smoother when you’ve got this out of the way first.