Technical Help

This page is dedicated to IT help and news. If you're having problems with your PC, hopefully some of the information on this page will point you in the right direction to get a fix. There are also some IT news and tech review sites that you may, or may not, find of interest.

While I've tried to include what I consider some of the most useful sites out there, I'm quite aware I'm not even scratching the surface. The internet is full of helpful resources, most of which are just a click away using your favourite search engine.

We'll start with Microsoft Windows. If you're using Windows (and most of you probably are), you can guarantee that at some point in time you're going to have a problem that you don't know how to fix. I'm not saying that Windows is bad. It's easier than ever to use and there are lots of places you can find help if you are unfortunate enough to run into a problem.

Right out of the box is Microsoft Support, Microsoft's own help site. This is the main Microsoft portal site that has links to individual help sites. There's (not a real surprise) a lot of info on their pages to get you started.

Following straight up is TechNet. This one's main focus is the I.T. person, but there's still lots of really interesting stuff on there if you're troubleshooting or trying to learn new things.

Moving on to non Microsoft sites, Windows Forum is next. This site has changed names a few times over the years to keep up with the current Operating System name, but they've settled on a name that means they don't have to register a new domain every three years or so. There's lots of helpful advice to be had here. Have a browse through the forum and if you can't find your question answered, create an account and ask away.

Moving on, there is just a ton of info out there about Linux. There's also a million different distro's out there, all with their own idiosyncrasies and functions. You've got tiny installs that are used for things like switches, routers and media devices, to fully fledged desktop and server Operating Systems like Debian, openSuse, Red Hat and Arch Linux. On top of that you've got variations based on these, the most notable probably being Ubuntu and all its many derivatives.

The problem with Linux is, because of its open source nature, the help you get from other users varies. If you're running a Linux OS, the expectation is that you know a lot more than if you run Windows. Depending on where you look, if you ask what the 'community' thinks is a stupid question, or you don't appear to have put a bit of effort in to find an answer before you ask the question, you may not get the support you need. I'm not saying this happens everywhere, but there is still, in some areas, an 'elitism' around Linux users.

On to the help sites. Ubuntu is probably the most popular Linux flavour at the moment, and Caconical have put a lot of effort in to make it easy to use. This is a good thing because it means if you run into a problem, there's a large community willing to help. Like Microsoft, Caconical have a suport portal with links to the official documentation and community support sites.

Next is Ask Ubuntu. It's an independent site run by StackExchange. As it says on the main page, anyone can ask a question and anyone can answer, with the best answers being upvoted. They also run Super User and Stack Overflow (and probably many others) which work exactly the same but with a greater variety of support topics.

As mentioned, there's just so many sites out there with useful resources, so if none of the above apply, just type your query into your favourite search engine and you'll almost always find something that gives you a starting point, whether it's a forum where someone else has had the same problem, or an article with the information you need to accomplish whatever it is you're trying to do.

In the same way there's a ton of support sites, there's also a seemingly endless amount of news and review sites. I tend to stick to the same two or three for my regular updates, but if I'm looking for a review of something specific, I'll just go searching and see what people are saying.

So, starting with tech news, you can't go wrong with The Register. Sometimes funny, always entertaining, and quite informative on a variety of subjects, El Reg is part of my daily routine.

I first came across Ars Technica a couple of years ago while looking for a new IT project to pass some time with. I found the articles well written and extremely helpful. As with The Register, there's a decent amount of tech news as well as guides and reviews.

Next up, Tom's Hardware. Plenty of reviews and news to be had here. Worth a look if you're planning an upgrade.

Last on my list is Betanews. As the name suggests it's more of a news site. I personally only really use the site for its Fileforum section, so I can keep up to date on the latest software and updates available.

So there you go. The above is only a very basic and utterly miniscule list of resources available. If you need more, head to your search engine and start typing.

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