don't need to know a lot about computers to effectively
research topics online.
many computing problems because I know where to
find solutions and experts online.
It's rare that
your problem hasn't been addressed on a web page,
on a discussion board.
with the Manufacturer
manufacturer of computers or computer parts has
a site with a technical support area, and that should
be your first stop. Check for the specific item
that's causing problems. Look for Downloads or Support
for "patch". You might find something
to download and install that's specifically designed
to fix your problem.
To find a company's
website, head to Yahoo.
Type the company's name into the Search box and
click the Search button. The search engine will
then list sites pertaining to that company or its
manufacturers, like Dell and Gateway, create a customized
Web page for every computer they sell. Go to their
site, type in your computer's system tag numbers
(they are printed on a sticker attached to your
computer's case), and a web page lists your computer's
purchase date, parts, warranty information, spare
parts availability, and other personalized information.
Best yet, the page usually lists updated drivers
and fixes for you to download. If you're having
problems with a video card, for instance, download
and install the latest video card drivers.
the Microsoft Knowledge Base
Go to Microsoft's
Knowledge Base: An extensive database containing
information about faults and fixes for all of Microsoft's
for software questions, especially if you suspect
a Microsoft program or Windows might be causing
Base has two search boxes -- one for choosing a
Microsoft product, and the other to type in some
key words. If you don't know which product is causing
the problem, leave the first search box set to "-
All Microsoft Products -". Beneath it, type
in a few key words to describe your problem: words
from an error message, for instance, or some symptoms.
The more specific you are, the better your results
Google To Search the Web
is a wealth of information and chances are good
that there is a page out there with information
to help you. Many users have not only suffered from
the same problem, but they've fixed it. When you
load Yahoo, or Google,
type in a few words describing your problem, again
the more specific, the better results you will get.
Click the Search
button, and the search engine brings up the first
few Web sites relating to your topic. Check them
out, looking for possible solutions.
One more tip:
To find answers to frequently asked questions about
your problematic computer model, part, or software,
type in its name and the word "FAQ". Standing
for Frequently Asked Questions, a FAQ is a file
containing answers to the most commonly asked questions
about that subject.
Google To Search Newsgroups
One huge part
of the Internet overlooked by many users is called
the Usenet. Part of the "old-school" style
of computing, it's a vast collection of topics where
people discuss all aspects of life - especially
computing problems. Chances are, somebody has already
asked your question on Usenet. Even better, somebody
has probably already answered that question.
To search through
Usenet instead of Web sites, head to Google's
Groups area, and type in a few key words about
your problem. Click the Google Search button, and
Google searches through its database and lists any
messages mentioning your problem. Look at the messages
starting with the word "Re:". These are
the ones that have been answered.
As a web developer and strategic
content consultant in the Chicago area, Dan Speziale
helps others manage technology and get more out
of the internet.