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How to get free tech support for your computer and your phone


Tech support is a major business. Because computers have become so important in the past thirty years, companies always have tech support. And that means having someone (yes, a real live person) be there to fix things on the computer when they go wrong. And it also means giving basic support for people who aren't all that "technical" - such as showing how a computer is turned on or off, basic stuff like that.

Decades ago, tech support people had quite a job keeping computers running. If you're old enough to remember the 90s, or the 80s, you know. Computers were wonderful things when they worked, but they broke down (crashed) like crazy. And nothing worked right away, such as printing, or stuff like that. It usually required someone who would show up with their glasses taped in the middle, and a pocket protector on, to say stuff like "In order for the file to print, it first needs to Raster Image Process..." or some other type of gibberish.

Luckily, computers have gotten much better. But the part that tends to go wrong the most, people, still need tech support. It's isn't so much old school tech support, as showing someone which button to push. Still vitally important, but most people don't need the old-time geeks to help keep their computers running, or printing, or whatever.

If you would like to get free tech support, this is how you do it:

• Find someone who has a computer, or a phone, like yours. If they're all the same to you, show it to someone. If they look at it with a puzzled expression, then leave them alone. If they have the same one you do, you're in luck.

• Set aside the complaining. Most people are happy to help, to show you how to do stuff, to share what they know. But people don't like having to listen to a rant. So, if you don't know how to shut up, you're out of luck. If you can take a deep breath, and then shut up, you'll be OK. Let's review here: No ranting. No. No.

• Manage the person helping you. Most people can't stay focused when they explain things, it's just human nature. If you want to know how to do something, it's typical for people to go off on tangents, to talk about things that have nothing to do with what you need, to just babble on and on. If you can interrupt them, and get them on track, you can get help. If they're offended by that, you need to keep looking for someone else.

• Show appreciation. No, you don't need to shower them with gold. But a thank you would be nice. Telling them how awesome they are doesn't cost you any money, and is something that everyone loves to hear.

So there you go. Free tech support!