Technical Support is Hard

It’s fashionable to criticize the technical support offered by many companies.

And it’s not without good reason. I’ve run into too many instances myself of completely incompetent, incomprehensible, or seemingly robotic technical support.

And yet, after doing Ask Leo! for over a decade, I’ve also developed a lot of sympathy for the folks who are trying to do it right. Ask Leo! affords me a small window onto their world.

There are days where (to put it bluntly) it ain’t pretty.

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Why Do So Many Tech Support Solutions Start with “Reboot” or “Turn It Off”?


It seems like every time I call the tech support line for my software, operating system, or even my broadband connection, the first thing out of the technicians mouth is “reboot”. Or worse yet, “Turn the power off for a while.” What does that have to do anything? And why does it work?

It does seem like a bit of magic, doesn’t it? The computer’s acting up, you reboot it, and – poof – things are better again. At least for a while.

It gets even weirder when you achieve the same effect just by shutting it all down and pulling the power cord for a while.

A friend of mine provided a nice explanation for the power scenario, and I can speak a little bit to the magical mess that is software.

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