There are hundreds, if not thousands, of technical support sites on the internet. If you search for various problem-related terms, you’ll stumble across many of them. Some are good, some … not so much.
I recently asked my readers what technical support sites they use in addition to Ask Leo!
Since I regularly get many more questions than I can possibly answer, I thought I’d share the results.
But first, a caveat
Sadly, I must cover my posterior.
With the exception of the folks in the “people I know” category, I can’t truly vouch for the legitimacy, intention, or competency of the sites listed here. I believe most to be legitimate and valuable – otherwise I wouldn’t be listing them here.
It’s critical – as it is with any site you visit, recommendation you read, or information you find on the internet – to keep your guard up. Caveat emptor: “buyer beware”. Even though you’re not a “buyer”, per se, you are accepting advice from folks you don’t know.
Not only have I not explicitly checked each and every site personally, but things change, and what might be a safe and useful site today might be something else in the future.
People I know
These are sites run by individuals I’ve actually met and converse with periodically. As a result, my personal level of trust in them is pretty high.
- AskBobRankin.com – Bob’s a friend who’s been doing this for a long time as well. While we don’t agree on everything (this is the internet, after all 🙂 ), he’s a great resource.
- Excel Tips – Allen Wyatt’s great site, chock full of tips, tricks and answers relating to Microsoft Excel.
- Groovy Post – “Mr. Groove” and his team continue to assemble useful tips, tricks, and answers for a variety of operating systems and platforms.
- MacMost – Not really a Q&A or support site, Gary Rozensweig’s site is full of useful information, tips, and tricks relating to the Apple ecosystem, including a good post on how to get help.
- Word Tips – Another great site of Allen Wyatt’s, this one full of tips, tricks, and answers relating to Microsoft Word.
Companies and organizations
Some of the best (or at least most authoritative) resources are those run by the companies that make our computers and software. The biggest challenge I find is often simply translating the official answer into terms that the average computer user can understand and use.
- Apple Support – Official support from Apple.
- Apple Community – Peer-to-peer support for users of Apple products.
- Firefox Forums – Discussion forums for support of the Firefox browser.
- HP Support Forums – Discussion forums for users of HP equipment.
- Linux Questions – A community forum for questions relating to Linux.
- Microsoft Support – Not always the best written or easiest to follow, or easiest to search, but most definitely the most authoritative.
- Microsoft Community – A peer-to-peer support resource where users of Microsoft software can help each other. Microsoft representatives are also present, but are not guaranteed to respond to every post.
- Thunderbird Support Forums – Support for the Thunderbird email program.
Obviously, I’ve not listed all possible companies here, but in general, most have support forums of some sort, and they’re often a great place to start when you have an issue relating to a specific product.
Reader recommendations and more
While I’ve not visited every one of these, many are quite familiar as sources of useful information. Most are recommendations from readers as well as sites from which I’ve occasionally found useful information myself.
- arstechnica.com – Primarily a respected tech news site, they also have a discussion forum.
- Ask The Computer Lady
- Bleeping Computer – A common go-to source for malware tools and help.
- CNet – Primarily a news and how-to site.
- Computer Help and Discussion
- Computer Hope
- Daves Computer Tips – DCT has been around for nearly a decade at this writing, and has a newsletter and forums.
- Dummies.com – Home of the “… For Dummies” series of books.
- eHow.com – A huge collection of how-to articles of varying degrees of quality.
- Experts Exchange
- Geek Squad
- Gibson Research Corporation – Steve Gibson provides some authoritative information as well as the weekly “Security Now” podcast with “the other Leo”, Leo Laporte.
- Kim Komando – A complement to Kim’s weekly national radio show.
- Lifehacker – More than just tech, but often very helpful tidbits on using tech better.
- Majorgeeks – Known primarily as one of the better download sites, Majorgeeks also includes a discussion forum.
- Make Tech Easier
- Make Use Of
- PC Mag
- PC Pitstop
- PC World
- SchoonePC (Dutch)
- Sharky Forums
- Spybot Safer Networking Forums – From the makers of Spybot Search & Destroy.
- Tech Guy – The “other Leo” – Leo Laporte.
- Tech Support Alert
- techsupportalert.com – Home of “Gizmo’s Freeware” recommendations for free software.
- The Helpful Book Company (UK)
- The Windows Club
- Tom’s Hardware – A well known resource for hardware reviews, news, and information.
- Website Builders
- Windows 10 Forums
- Windows Secrets – The home of several support columnists, including Fred Langa and others.
- ZD Net
In updating this list, it’s been interesting to see what’s changed over time. Sites and resources from a decade ago have disappeared, or changed their focus so as to become unhelpful to the average computer user, while other sites have stepped up to take their place.
If you have a recommendation to add to this list, or a comment on one of the entries, definitely let me know. Just use the ask a question page and submit your suggestion there.