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Technical Support Central....How May I Help You?


One of my friends (ok, a LOT of my friends) are somewhat technically illiterate.

Wait, let me rephrase that.

One of my friends (ok, a LOT of my friends) are 100% technically illiterate.

One in particular has asked me to come over to their house 2 days in a row now because something was going on with their computer that they couldn't figure out. I politely obliged, being the good little techhie genius I am (shameless self-promotion), and began to "diagnose" the problem.

It was because of one simple little click this person made that the whole system (IE in particular) crash multiple times in a row.

Since I wasn't aware of this, I begin my searches to try to find the exact problem, and I realize after about 45 minutes that one little click (turning off Microsoft Update about 4 months ago) was the culprit. I re-downloaded everything that was needed, and then it seemed to work fine.

Until about 4 hours later, when the same error message popped up. Apparently, the computer isn't that much to this person, so they just decided to restore to factory defaults. AGAIN. I guess this was the 5th time they have had to do it.

I'm at their house right now diagnosing another problem. Their printer won't work after the restore, and I am in the process of getting that to work as I type.

It just seems that when someone needs tech support, they don't call the computer company, Microsoft, or anyone else who might have knowledge about what NOT to do in Windows. They just call me, and voila, it's magically fixed with a few keystrokes (sometimes).

"That's all you had to do????"

"Yeah... somewhat simple!"

"Why didn't it work for me??"

"Because when you hit the wrong key or click in the wrong place, BAD THINGS CAN HAPPEN!"

"Ohhh... Well, thanks for fixing it...I guess." 

Jeez. At least sound a little more thankful. I'm taking the time out of my day to help you and I get a lousy thank you?? Eww.

Entry #16


four4meComment by four4me - October 18, 2005, 1:35 am
Glad to hear you able to fix PC software problems. I have an older PC that worked fine I go out of my way not to change any settings unless absolutely necessary. I cleaned it regularly and by cleaned you know run the clean up programs and defraged the HD and all the little incidentals. Well, on day AOL came out with it's 9.0 security edition which you can get all the latest additions and such. So I downloaded it by modem took all night. It loaded ie6.0 sp1-2 mind you this PC i talking about has windows 98se. About 3 weeks later I wondered why I'm not getting my security update notification. You know the window that opens and says new critical security updates are available for your PC.

So I open the explorer browser and click critical updates and low and behold I get a message that says unable to open security updates. In fact it is unable to view and info on my PC to determine if there are updates to install. It says click this blue link to trouble shoot your problem there is a message code that for all intentional purposes I had hoped would direct me to an easy fix. Not! it opened a page that said do this and do that so I copy and paste it and print it out because I know once I start doing some of the things it asks me to do that the page I'm viewing is going to get buried under a few other pages and well.... lets move on. This pages asks me to perform some simple test like type in some command codes and if it is functioning it will say OK. Did that and one or two commands didn't say OK. so move on to next step. Next step says to remove all components that the explorer had previously installed. In two different cabs. DID That. Open explorer and click critical updates. Same message all over again.

At this point I'm flaming mad I did everything exactly as directed. Rebooted PC tried again. Same message. Called AOL because I figure when I downloaded McAfee's anti virus AOL spy and spam ware that one or more of the components is blocking my PC's ability to communicate with explorer's security up dates because it's not getting through the one step it needs to read the PC's archived updates. AOL says it's not their problem McAfee says it's not their problem Microsoft says it's not their problem. I say oh yea your right it's my problem and I can't fix it because one or more of the new AOL 6.0 security edit. features is to blame.

I did everything I can think of and still unable to fix it. The PC is 6 yrs old but was and is good for using it with excel and some other functions.

About the only thing I can think to do is delete the explorer and try downloading it again. But have a feeling the windows 98 is to old a version to work with most Internet sites. And Microsoft is or has stopped sending security updates for it 98se versions.

Time to junk it and or build a new PC this PC were talking about is about to die.   
truecriticComment by truecritic - October 18, 2005, 6:55 am
Get your friends to visit the forums for advice. If they are diligent, they will know more than you do. If they are like my friends, they will remain technically illiterate. I refuse to help friends that don't help themselves. At least most of the time.

Here are a couple of forums - there are others, Google is your friend.

I guess this is mainly for comments by four4me....

Internet Explorer 6 works just fine without any updates whatsoever. I have IE6 Windows 98se and refuse updates. If you have Windows 98, you can only update to SP1 - not SP2. SP2 is for Windows XP or Windows 2000. And both are mainly security updates.

Updates change many settings. So if something worked without it, there is a good chance it has to be reset to work again.

Depending on specific problems, Norton and McAfee both can cause problems. Windows 98 with IE6 is able to handle any websites Windows XP can handle. It is IE6 in both cases.

I don't like PMs...but PM me if you feel like it. We can use emails from there.
Comment by Rip Snorter - October 18, 2005, 7:42 am
One of the cool things about not knowing anything much about computers is that nobody calls to ask you to fix theirs. One of the cool things about believing you can do anything, figure anything out by yourself is that you don't call friends to fix things... computers, toasters, you name it.

One of the less cool results is that my comp does what you described is happening to the comp of your friend, that I don't have a clue what you're talking about doing to fix it, though I do know how to do a system restore and the other thing, rebuild or some such thing where you wipe everything and begin again with a new computer, which I've done a number of times.

Tough gig being a techie. But if a lousy thank you wasn't what yo had in mind you could pass that perception on to the friend(s). I've occasionally done work of other kinds for friends that needed paying for and found they don't need my services as badly as they thought under those terms.

ToddComment by Todd - October 18, 2005, 10:41 am
In the next version of Windows ("Vista"), Microsoft will be debuting a better version of Windows Update, in which any application can hook into it for automatic updates. That functionality has been around on the Mac since version 10, and is one of the reasons Mac software is so easy to update. Basically, running one update program will update all the software on your PC, assuming that you upgrade to the versions of software that supports that feature. Hopefully, when Windows Vista is installed, the default settings of that feature will be to process the updates automatically (without user intervention) at least once per week.

I sympathize with your troubleshooting woes. I experience some of that myself.

four4meComment by four4me - October 18, 2005, 11:33 am
truecritic I could swear that after I downloaded the new version of aol's 9.0se with the new ie browser that AOL's spy ware is blocking the PC's ability to use active x controls that allow ie to scan the pc for available updates be them critical or otherwise. The reason I suspect this is because when I had the previous version of AOL software I didn't have this problem. AOL says it's not their software that to blame. I turned off the spyware and antivirus tried to download the critical updates and still had no success.

Somewhere at some time something happened to active x controls I manually went in the pc and used default settings and manually turned them on and off no success. So I fear it's time to turn the old clunker over to the professionals to fix or scrap out the old hardware and build or buy a new pc.

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