It has been a stigma for many people that calling tech support is a big pain in the neck. Though some companies strive to provide much better customer service than others, getting a correct and reliable answer in a timely manner is never guaranteed. So how do you get the best possible tech support, without spending years and years on the phone? Below are some tips to help you make the most of this often-challenging situation.

Make sure your computer/laptop is still under warranty

This is actually more of a requirement than a tip. Most manufacturers won’t provide you with phone or live-chat support if your computer isn’t under the warranty. In the case of Apple, you only get 90 days of support, unless you pay for more. If your computer is out of warranty, you can still take advantage of web resources.

  1. 1.    Identify the type of problem

It is a wise step to know what type of problem your laptop is having before you start searching for answers, so that you’ll know where exactly to look. Here’s how:

OS-Related Problem

Are you having trouble with features that are clearly part of Windows, macOS, or Chrome OS? If you lost your taskbar, Cortana isn’t responding properly, or need assistance on how to set up parental controls, then those are definitely operating system issues. Your first stop for these kinds of concern should be a web resource, such as

Hardware-Related Problem

If some parts of the physical laptop is defective or malfunctioning — for example, your screen has dead pixels, your computer won’t turn on, or one of the USB ports is dead, then that’s a hardware problem. Your laptop vendor should be your first and best source of help.

Software-Related Problem

Most manufacturers preload at least a few first-party apps on their laptops. If you’re having trouble with the vendor app that helps you control your keyboard lighting or the audio app that has your equalizer, for instance, then those are matters you should take to the vendor.

Major Stability Problem

If your laptop won’t boot at all or it crashes frequently, the problem could be a hardware, software, or OS problem. If you have a system backup, you can restore it or reset your PC. Otherwise, you should reach out for immediate support.
  1. 2.    Use web resources first and the phone last

If you are not in a great hurry for your computer to get fixed or you’re not sure yet whether you have a defective hardware or not, you should start seeking help from your computer’s manufacturer’s support site (or on a Windows site if it’s an OS problem) first. You are more likely to find accurate answers to your questions on your own instead of calling a technical support rep.

When you visit a manufacturer’s support site, locate the specific product page for your exact make and model of laptop. If the site has a registration feature, sign up and log in, because in most cases, it will remember the product that you have.

On most product pages, you will find the instruction manual, driver downloads, links to FAQs or support articles and, possibly, a service manual. If you are unable to find the answer to your query on the product page, try the search function; your answer may be on a page about a similar product.


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  1. 3.    Consult online forums

If you can’t find an answer by looking at the manufacturer’s website, try visiting the company’s support forums, if there’s one. There’s a possibility that another user has already encountered and have asked your question and that another user or forum admin has posted an answer for it.

Use the search function to see if anyone else has had the same problem. Also, try browsing through the forum category for your particular laptop model (ex: Lenovo Yoga or Dell Inspiron). If in case you’re unable to find a relevant thread, post your own.

Unfortunately, not all laptop vendors maintain active user forums. But you can always search online for third-party sites that have support threads.

  1. 4.    Ask if that change is necessary

Beware of agents who want to make all kinds of unrelated and unnecessary changes to your settings during a troubleshooting session. If you’re not sure why a company rep wants to tweak a setting or even run an update, ask if it’s really needed.

  1. 5.    Write down your serial number

Whether you’re calling phone support, engaging in a live web chat or even searching for information on the company website, you will probably be asked for your laptop’s serial number several times. On some phone calls, you’ll get transferred a few times, and every single agent will ask for your serial number. That’s because they’re usually not allowed to help you if your product is not under warranty and because they want to know exactly which model you have.

You can usually find your laptop’s serial number written in tiny lettering on the bottom of your laptop. Make sure you have it written down, like on a piece of paper or on your phone, so you can access it easily without having to turn your laptop upside down and start looking for it, which can be time consuming.


This entry was posted by Staff Writer on Friday, April 7, 2017 at 6:00:50 AM and is filed under Tech Tips & Tricks.

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