Where do tech geeks get their tech support?

Instead of blind searching, your best course of action is to ask for advice from real people in a community-moderated forum

Some people blame computer crashes or boot failures on gremlins. Or kids installing toolbars and viruses that came with free computer games. Chances are your window registry is corrupted or a computer shutdown or blue screen has caused unknown and unfixable errors.

My Windows 8 PC has 116,218 files and my Mac has 1.3 million files. For dozens of reasons including software or hardware failure (or even cosmic rays penetrating your hard drive and flipping bits on the disk) your files can become randomly corrupted.

If you've read some of my previous TAFE Bytes articles you may now have a data backup plan that will withstand theft, fire or hardware failure. You may now also have strong passwords for most of your online accounts and you feel safe from hackers breaking into your accounts. You may even have been motivated to kick a few new projects into gear. And I'd hazard a guess that you're storing or creating all of this work on your computer.

But beware - your computer may well be plotting to test you.

Unless you're a geek, or married to a geek, or have a geek friend or are willing to pay a minimum of $200 to apply a digital bandage to your computer, you should savvy up and learn how the IT geeks get help when computers fail.

The internet is awash with free advice. If you dig deep enough you can find any opinion to back up any theory. Or talk yourself into any reasonable or unreasonable explanation of a problem. Most people jump straight onto Google and the results are full of buttons that offer a quick fix (usually downloading a fix-it program). IT geeks know that most of these "quick fix" download buttons will only make the problem bigger. Instead of blind searching, your best course of action is to ask for advice from real people in a community-moderated forum.

The best place to start is on the Australian forum Overclockers. They have a newbie lounge forum section where you can ask just about any dumb question and not get laughed at (flamed). More detailed troubleshooting questions can be asked in the troubleshooting section. There are over 10,000 active members in this forum and usually people are there 24/7 to chat and help.

Another good Australian broadband and IT news forum is Whirlpool. This is where I go for help whenever I have a broadband or mobile issue. The tech support staff of most Australian internet service providers (ISPs) respond to customers in dedicated forums for ISPs and mobile carriers. Whirlpool has 518,611 registered members with over 17,000 visiting the site in just the last 24 hours.

Also before posting a tech support question on Overclockers please use the forums search engine to see if the same question has been used before

  • Overclockers Forum Search
  • If the humans working for these sites are still unable to help, you have my permission to use Google.