Yes, technology has come a long way in the last 15 years. But things still go wrong, and will probably continue to do so for all eternity.
Here at MakeUseOf, we try our best to fix all your problems., including inaccessible boot devices, critical processed that died, or unmountable boot volumes. But unfortunately, we can’t cover everything. There’s just too much stuff.
If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for on our site, you should a) let us know so we can write about it, then b) turn to other troubleshooting and tech support sites for the answer.
But which ones should be your first port of call? Here are the top 10 troubleshooting sites on the web.
Bleeping Computer isn’t just a tech support site; it publishes plenty of tech news articles as well. However, if you’re looking for some serious advice from knowledgeable tech geeks, head to the forums section.
The forums excel in supporting Windows and Mac, fixing hardware issues, providing security advice, and helping with software. There are also less-extensive sections for Linux, gaming, and mobile devices.
Computer Hope has been at the forefront of tech troubleshooting for years. I remember using its forums back in the pre-YouTube, pre-social media days.
The forums are Windows-centric. Mac and Linux issues are crammed into one board; Windows has several sub-categories. There are also some boards about tech skills. For instance, you can find people who are willing to help you with coding or web design.
The site also provides an excellent FAQ section. You’ll find it under Other. It’s the first place you should check out before making a new post.
Linux.com is a one-stop shop for everything about Linux. It’s packed with news, it provides newsletters, and has plenty of tutorials. It’s also the best place to go if you’re struggling with any Linux-based issues.
The forums are suitable for both new users and long-time Linux lovers. Many of the most common distros have their own section, and there’s an entire space specifically for beginners. It covers many the issues they’ll probably encounter.
Be sure to check out the Q&A section too; you might be able to troubleshoot your problem without making a lengthy post.
Similarly, one of the best ways to get help for your Apple device is to head to the company’s official site.
Called Support Communities, you’ll find people chatting about every piece of hardware Apple has released. There are also dedicated spaces for iTunes and other Mac software that you might have issues with.
And remember, if you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, click Contact Support at the bottom of the page. You can have a live text chat with an Apple technician.
With more than 85 percent of the world’s population using Windows, and countless more using other Microsoft apps and services like Office, Skype, and OneDrive, it should be no surprise to learn the official Microsoft Community is a busy place.
To use the communities, you can browse by section or enter your search term in the box at the top. If you can’t find the help you need, make a new post – the community is full of Microsoft-accredited experts and knowledgeable Microsoft users. They’ll be quick to assist you.
If you’re using Windows 10, you can also access this service using the Feedback Hub app.
6. Official App/Manufacturer Sites
Some of the best places to find troubleshooting tips are the manufacturers’ websites themselves. Depending on the app or device you’re using, you might be able to find official wikis, support forums, or even telephone numbers so you can contact technical support.
Listing all the individual sites is beyond the scope this article, but here are some of the best examples. Check them out to see the type of support that’s are available:
7. Google Groups and Yahoo Answers
Google Groups and Yahoo Answers have their detractors. It’s understandable; there’s a lot of problems on the two sites. Thankfully, quality tech support isn’t one of them.
The Yahoo content can be found in the Consumer Electronics sub-section. The section is further divided into Camcorders, Games, Music Players, TVs, Cameras, Home Theater, DVRs, Cell Phones, Land Phones, and PDAs.
Google Groups is a sprawling behemoth of a site. It grew out of an old Usenet archive in 2001. To find the group you need, use the Search bar. It supports Boolean terms so you can be more precise.
Reddit needs no introduction. From a tech troubleshooting standpoint, it offers a subreddit for just about every device, app, and manufacturer you can think of.
If you can’t find the answers you need in text form, why not see if you can find the solution on YouTube? Given there are roughly 85 million videos on the site, there’s a good chance you’ll find someone else who’s experienced the same issues.
There are a few different ways to find the videos you need. You could try subscribing to one of the many independent tech-dedicated channels, you could check out the official channel for the manufacturer of the device you’re struggling with, or you could use the advanced search features to pinpoint the exact video you require.
10. Social Media
Rather than listing Facebook et al. individually, it’s better to consider all the social media avenues as one singular avenue of support.
And remember, Twitter is now one of the most effective ways to contact companies; you’ll often get a much faster and friendly response than you would on the phone. Companies have a PR image to uphold, you know.
How Do You Find Tech Support?
These sites and forums should provide you with the answer to almost any tech-based question you have.
But, there are a lot more excellent sites we didn’t include in this list. So now it’s your turn to offer some input. Where do you turn to when you need to get help or troubleshoot problems? Which communities offer the best advice?
As always, you can leave all your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below.
Originally written by Jack Cola on Dec 14, 2009