No one likes talking to tech support. Use our tips to help get your problem fixed - and maybe receive a little something extra, as well.
Like us, you probably find your PC, internet connection and mobile phone invaluable. They may save you tremendous amounts of time, but it's easy to forget that when you're spending hours on the line with tech support.
Your PC is having issues. Maybe it's randomly crashing or devouring your data. Maybe it just won't start up.
Depending on your level of expertise, calling tech support could be either a really good way to fix a problem you would have never solved yourself, or a really good way to waste your afternoon.
Research and test
If you can, start by figuring out for yourself exactly what isn't working.
The more details you can put together about what part of your computer isn't working, the better - especially if you have a smartphone or an extra computer handy that you can use to plug those details into Google.
Chances are, any problem you have with a piece of technology is one that someone else has had as well, and if you're lucky, they've posted extensively about it on a forum or company's support site. Also, don't forget to keep your stress level low while you're troubleshooting.
You should also perform a few basic tests yourself: reboot into Safe Mode (press F8 while your PC starts up) and see if the problems persist, and try booting from a recovery disc and run Windows' included diagnostic tools to check the state of your hard drives, RAM and system install.
Also, make sure that all connected devices are firmly seated in their ports; if you've been fiddling with the insides of your PC you'll want to make sure a RAM chip or video card hasn't come unseated.
Ideally, you'll be able to figure out which component of your PC is acting up; this would make the call process much easier because the phone tech won't be able to refer you to another company because it's a problem with that third party's product, not with theirs.
Generally speaking, if you weren't able to fix the problem with Windows' built-in diagnostic tools, the first-level techs aren't going to be able to fix it by asking you to reboot or reinstall Windows, and you're probably calling tech support because your problem is so bad that you need someone to authorize a warranty replacement part.