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Support comes in all shapes and sizes What's Fake Tech Support & Why You Shouldn't Trust Everything You See on Google What's Fake Tech Support & Why You Shouldn't Trust Everything You See on Google You’re sitting at home, minding your own business. Suddenly, the phone rings. You pick up, and it’s Microsoft (or Norton, or Dell, or …). Specifically, it’s a support engineer, and he’s concerned – concerned for... Read More , but it’s best when it’s free! A great number of tech communities are on-hand to assist with your Windows questions.

It’s frustrating when you’re stuck with a technical issue that you don’t know how to resolve. Thanks to the connected nature of the Internet, there’s a vast number of people out there who are willing to spend their free time assisting you.

We’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite support communities, but be sure to jump into the comments below if you think we’ve missed any.

Microsoft

Answer Desk

Whereas in the past Microsoft haven’t been very generous in the support they hand out, that’s all changed providing you can prove you own their products. All you need to do is select the area you need help with, sign in to your Microsoft account and you can then receive help through live chat or phone.

One of the neat things is that you can actually choose who you want to chat with. Next to the answer tech’s smiling face is their rating, letting you know the overall consensus on how useful past visitors have found their support.

windows answer desk

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The live chat is available every day and every hour, while the phone support is limited to specific times. If you think the best support available is to go direct to the horse’s mouth, head on over to Microsoft’s Answer Desk.

Community

If the official support doesn’t cut it, you can jump onto the Microsoft forums. You can first search the Wiki, containing guides written by users that help with some of the more common problems. If that doesn’t do the trick, switch to the forum view and post your own thread.

Microsoft Community

Other users can vote on questions, for example if they have the same issue, or vote on responses they found helpful. Some users have badges to signify that they’re respected members in the community, meaning they’ve had a lot of helpful answers or have been singled out as a moderator.

Reddit

/r/windows

The Windows subreddit tackles everything about the brand, including the desktop and mobile operating systems Why You Should Consider Switching To Windows Phone [Opinion] Why You Should Consider Switching To Windows Phone [Opinion] I want Windows Phone to succeed. The problem is persuading you Apple fanboys and Google droids to give Windows Phone a chance. Read More . With over 37,000 users subscribed, this is a great place to go if you want to be surrounded by people who have an active interest in Windows.

Reddit Windows

Creating a reddit account is incredibly simple (it doesn’t even require an email – and you’ll probably find yourself lost in subreddits for days 6 Awesome Subreddits That Deserve More Than 20,000 Subscribers 6 Awesome Subreddits That Deserve More Than 20,000 Subscribers There's a subreddit for just about anything, but the hard part is finding them. Here are six awesome subreddits that lie under the radar, but deserve the bragging rights to 20,000 subscribers. Read More ) and you’ll be able to post your question in no time. If your question is likely to be a quick one to solve then this subreddit is the place to head.

/r/techsupport

This subreddit does what it says on the tin, offering technical support for a whole host of different problems. With close to 59,000 users subscribed, you’re bound to find someone who is able to assist you.

reddit tech support

The subreddit has a scheme called trusted techs, where contributors that have credentials in the IT world gain a badge next to their username. This way you know that the support you’re receiving is coming from someone who knows what they’re talking about (hopefully!).

On top of this, there’s also a live chat that you can join to get support around the clock. If your issue is urgent and requires immediate assistance, it’s best to pop into the chat and see if anyone is on hand with the knowledge to help.

Super User

Super User is a bit different to some of the other sites on this list. It’s a site that is run by enthusiasts and is all about question and answer. Whereas forums can sometimes get bogged down in excess discussion Internet Forums Reimagined: The Future Of Online Discussions Internet Forums Reimagined: The Future Of Online Discussions The latest iteration of online communication may indeed be social media, but it seems that the most popular avenue is still the old-fashioned forum. It remains today as an excellent way to structure a community... Read More that isn’t helpful, only answers are beneficial here.

super user

The most helpful answers are then voted on and raised to the top of the pile. The site’s aim is to build a repository for every single question under the sun, with the goal being that one day maybe there won’t be any more questions to be asked – they’ll all be answered!

The site is completely free and doesn’t even require registration, so if you’re looking to get your query answered by a power user then be sure to check out Super User.

Tech Support Guy

Tech Support Guy has been around since 1996. It started off as a simple list of common computer questions that 14 year-old Mike Cermak was fielding from family and friends, but the site soon became popular and turned into a forum to allow anyone to jump on and help out.

tech support guy

Since then the membership count has exceeded three quarters of a million and continues to grow. A huge team of volunteers (of which you can become one simply by signing up) are always on hand to answer questions from around the globe.

The forum is split up into various sections, like software, hardware, and all the various Windows operating systems. Tech Support Guy is very popular, so you should never be waiting too long to get a response to your query.

PC Advisor Windows Help Forum

While not one of the most popular help forums out there, the PC Advisor forum has a good core team of users who are keen to offer their support within the Windows forum. It’s free to sign up and post your question and you should receive a response relatively quickly.

Windows Help Forum

Everything is in public view, which is great as you can perform a search of the forums and check out past questions. Quite often you’ll be able to find someone in the same sticky situation as yourself and grab a resolution from an old thread.

The Windows Club Forum

The Windows Club Forum will help you out with… well, the clue is in the name! If you have a problem with pretty much any aspect of Windows then the generous members of this forum will dedicate their time to your aid.

The Windows Club

Along with supporting all modern Windows operating systems Upgrade From Windows XP to a Modern OS in 7 Simple Steps Upgrade From Windows XP to a Modern OS in 7 Simple Steps It's time to say goodbye! Microsoft is ending official support for Windows XP on April 8 2014. Are you at risk? If you are still running this ancient operating system, it's time to upgrade. Read More , you can also get support for aspects such as customisation, drivers, hardware and browsers. With over 175,000 members and a large number always online, this is a great resource.

Not only can you post your own question, but you can also search the forum archives – you might find that someone has had the same problem as you in the past, allowing you to get an instant resolution.

MakeUseOf Answers

We might be biased, but we think we have a pretty awesome community here at MakeUseOf. You guys are always posting great comments on our articles and voting in our polls Should Coding Be Taught In Schools? [MakeUseOf Poll] Should Coding Be Taught In Schools? [MakeUseOf Poll] Should coding and all the various elements that go with it be a part of the school curriculum? We want to know your thoughts on the teaching of programming in schools. Read More , but a lot of you take it one step further and assist others in our Answers section.

MakeUseOf Answers

Although not limited to Windows questions, posting here will ensure that a friendly, knowledgeable and helpful person will pop along to try and help with your query. Quite often our own writers will help out too. If you’re looking for support amongst like-minded people, you’ve found it.

Ask And You Shall Receive

Free technical support for all your Windows is only a click away. While you might be tempted to pay a professional outlet to try and resolve your problem, you might find that someone will helpfully assist you online for the price of nothing.

Have you ever received technical support from any of these communities? Do you have any recommendations to add to the list?

Image Credits: crowd of people Via Shutterstock

  1. Jimmy
    December 30, 2014 at 12:25 am

    can I keep using my Windows XP? because I am retired and don't want to spend more money on my PC

    • Tina
      January 6, 2015 at 8:40 pm

      Jimmy, it's not a good idea to keep using Windows XP, at least not if it's connected to the Internet and contains your personal information.

      Windows XP no longer receives updates and numerous vulnerabilities have been revealed that are not being patched. I recommend you to look into the unofficial Windows XP SP4, which addresses some unpatched issues.

      You can also try to dual boot Windows 10 TP, which is free, easy to set up, and much safer than Windows XP because it receives security updates. It might also be available for very cheap once it's released officially end of this year. We'll let you know... :)

  2. PatL
    December 26, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    Has anyone found a book that translates Windows 7 actions to Windows 8.1? The books that I've seen act like you've never used Windows before.

    • Tina
      January 6, 2015 at 8:35 pm

      That's a great idea, Pat!

      Many things are the same in Windows 8.1, some have obviously changed.

      Are you using Windows 8.1 right now? What are some of the things you struggled with?

  3. suzybel
    December 25, 2014 at 2:12 am

    Make Use Of and How To Geek are the ones I use.s

    • Joe
      December 26, 2014 at 3:08 pm

      Glad to hear you find our site useful, suzybel! :)

  4. Kade
    December 24, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    The number one I use is ask leo (https://askleo.com/) and 2nd is you guys.

    • Tina
      January 6, 2015 at 8:34 pm

      Ask Leo is great resource. We're honored that we're up there with him :)

  5. brkkab@gmail.com
    December 24, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    Windows Forums http://windowsforum.com/
    Windows Central Forums http://forums.windowscentral.com/
    Both are free and very useful.

    • Joe
      December 26, 2014 at 3:09 pm

      Great suggestions! It's great to hear that there's lots of different communities out there all helping people.

  6. DonGateley
    December 24, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Awesome article! Typical for MakeUseOf. I think I've found more useful information I didn't know about here than any other of the numerous web sites I visit for that.

    • Joe
      December 26, 2014 at 3:10 pm

      Thank you! It's great to hear that the article was useful - we aim to stand out here at MakeUseOf.

  7. Eileen Souza
    December 24, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    I have used Microsoft support in the past but found it less than impressive--maybe it has improved. I had better luck with the Microsoft community. They were very responsive. I had not heard about the others you've mentioned but I am happy you did. It gives me some new alternatives to try.

    • Joe
      December 26, 2014 at 3:10 pm

      When did you last use it, Eileen? I'm glad to hear that you had luck with the community, though. Sometimes posting your question publicly can be useful as you'll get lots of different feedback.

  8. Stelios Dasos (DASOS)
    December 24, 2014 at 3:57 pm

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