User Support

When things go wrong, IT support professionals get the call. Here are the resources to help them improve their troubleshooting skills, their people skills, and their technical knowledge.

  • William Jones // February 19, 2009, 3:13 AM PST

    Best Buy's recycling program does not accept storage media

    Before the company will recycle an old computer, Best Buy's policy says that the hard drive has to be removed. While it is prudent to make sure that there is no data on a machine destined for a recycler, there are ways to accomplish this without removing the drive completely.


  • Jeff Dray // February 23, 2009, 3:34 AM PST

    Age before beauty?

    Jeff Dray considers the age divide in the workplace. Youth and vigour, as well as age and experience, have their place in support roles, and the combination of the two benefits everyone.


  • Selena Frye // February 25, 2009, 5:20 AM PST

    What's on your go-to equipment list?

    When replacing or upgrading hardware components, do you have a ready list of vendors and manufacturers that you go to or are you constantly on the lookout for a better product (or just a better deal)? What's on your "best-of-kit" list?


  • Joe Rosberg // February 25, 2009, 9:30 AM PST

    Customer support intentions (take the poll) and some comments on providing excellent customer support

    Some readers are wondering about the motives and intentions of a customer support incident I've been writing about. Considering the history of what happened, what do you think? Take the poll - and in this case, since there's no way to get into the mind of another, it's merely an opinion poll.


  • William Jones // February 26, 2009, 4:08 PM PST

    Support pros vs. social engineering attacks

    Developers should always work to make software secure, but it is up to support techs and trainers to inform users how they can keep themselves safe online.


  • Jeff Dray // March 2, 2009, 3:29 AM PST

    Spring-cleaning your working life

    Jeff Dray's thoughts have turned to spring and renewal, and thus, the cleaning out and reorganization of his work life. It's time to delete files, throw out the rubbish, and order new supplies. How often do you inventory and clean out your work area?


  • Joe Rosberg // March 4, 2009, 9:12 AM PST

    Explaining concepts can be a challenge with some users.

    Have you ever explained something to users only to have that glassy-eyed look tell you that they had no idea what you just said? What do you do? What are some of the things you've tried to explain that fly above the understanding of some users?


  • William Jones // March 5, 2009, 11:43 AM PST

    Do employers offer professional development for techs? Take the poll

    Support techs and all other IT pros remain relevant by acquiring new skills. Can employers be counted on to help their people grow?


  • Jeff Dray // March 9, 2009, 6:14 AM PST

    How well do your customers understand what you tell them?

    Jeff Dray finds that his relationships with customers often allow him to find out things about them that hadn't been noticed by their own colleagues. As he has pointed out before, the people are a lot harder to fix than the equipment.


  • Joe Rosberg // March 11, 2009, 9:41 AM PST

    Supporting DOS machines

    I have a couple of DOS computers that I might consider, out of sight, out of mind. When one of them failed, however, its function was quick to remind me of its presence and importance. Here's my tale. And perhaps you'll take the poll: Do you still support any DOS machines?


  • William Jones // March 12, 2009, 8:49 AM PST

    Mine your HD for space hogs with cross-platform JDiskReport

    Storage may be cheap, but right now every penny matters. That is why it is vital to have a good disk auditing utility in your toolbox. Just in time for spring-cleaning, William Jones offers his favorite.


  • Jeff Dray // March 16, 2009, 7:51 AM PST

    Can your help desk understand you?

    When his PDA phone starts dying on him, Jeff Dray finds that the ease of world-wide customer service is overkill for simple help desk requests.


  • Joe Rosberg // March 18, 2009, 5:44 AM PST

    Smartphones: Do you use one or support them? Take the poll and share your experience

    With the recent popularity of Smartphones, they're bound to make their way into user support functions, either by having to support them or actually using them. Take the poll and share your experiences.


  • William Jones // March 19, 2009, 4:46 PM PST

    Customer service means being timely

    Paperwork stinks. Bookkeeping stinks. Nobody gets into a business because either of those tasks are fun. They have to be done, though, and in a prompt manner. Procrastinating makes you look unprofessional, and does a disservice to your customers.


  • Jeff Dray // March 23, 2009, 6:07 AM PST

    Freelance training, a good source of extra income

    Have you ever thought about making a little extra cash by helping out neighbours with their computer problems? It is not only a good way of helping others but will help you reinforce your own people and training skills.