By Jimmy Burns July 6, 2021
Summary: When your devices aren’t working like they should be, things can get frustrating — quickly. If your technical know-how starts and ends with “Kick it” or “Restart it,” this article is for you. We’ve got the top steps to troubleshoot your own tech and how you know when it’s time to call in the experts.
For many of us, our technical know-how is mostly, “Turn it off and turn it back on again.” And, to be fair, that is how many problems are solved. But if that doesn’t solve the issue, should you continue to troubleshoot your own tech? How do you know when it’s time to call in the experts?
We’ve got our top suggestions for basic problem-solving plus who to call with a more complex problem.
We’ll preface this by saying that a lot of DIY fixes come down to how comfortable you are with technology. If you prefer to phone a friend, we totally get it. If you’re confident in tackling the basics, here are our top troubleshooting tips — just know your limits, and the limits of your home network.
Whether your high-speed internet connection is on the fritz or your phone is frozen, try restarting your tech (in the case of your internet, that would be your router or gateway). It’s a simple solution but solves many minor problems. Reboots force software to refresh, update, or relaunch sessions that have timed out. Even if your equipment was working yesterday (or this morning!), this is still a great place to start.
So you’ve restarted your tech and things still aren’t working correctly. Make sure you’ve got the proper username and password for your account. If you’ve recently changed your login credentials, some apps may force you to log back in. Or, if you’ve changed your WiFi password, you may need to reconnect to the network.
This may be most relevant with accounts you use less often or accounts that require regular password updates. Pro tip: if you have trouble keeping track of all the login information needed to have a life on the web, opt for a password manager. Password managers take the pressure off of you and keep you safer online. That’s a win-win.
Trying to load a website or app from an additional device (like a different laptop or phone) or another browser (like Firefox instead of Chrome) can help isolate the issue. If it works on the second attempt, it’s probably a device- or browser-specific problem. If it’s not working on anything, well, the issue is likely more widespread.
How do you know when it’s time to call an expert? If you’re no longer making educated guesses, and you’re just guessing or pulling at random wires, it’s time to hand the problem off. (Or, if you’ve tried each of our tips to no avail, call in the professionals.) It’s possible to make things worse or to cause problems for more of your network. This goes double for equipment that has actual wires with it, like a smart doorbell.
There are a few ways to find support for your device. You could do a quick internet search, but that won’t always give you the right answer. Or one that feels safe to test out on your expensive tech. You could also contact the device manufacturer or software maker, either online or on the phone, and ask them for help. If you’re still within your warranty, you might even get your device replaced.
But guessing at the right fix can cause a lot of headaches along the way.
If figuring out exactly what to do next when tech you reply on breaks, sounds complicated or feels overwhelming, we’ve got a simple solution. EarthLink EasyTech offers on-demand expert support for an unlimited number of devices. Anything from your smart fridge to your TV to your voice-enabled speakers is covered. EasyTech is different from other technical support because it covers more than a glitch in your high-speed internet — and it’s unlimited. You’ll connect with our agents through the EasyTech app, and allow them to see into the device you’re working with so they can remotely solve issues (or talk you through how to fix them on your end). It’s tech support without the headaches. Easy, right?
As the internet continues to evolve — and we connect more and more devices to our home networks — technical issues are going to come up. The more you feel comfortable with how your current devices work, the better you’ll be able to keep up with future changes. But when you’re stuck, EarthLink EasyTech can help.
Jimmy has worked for EarthLink since 1999 in many roles, ranging from Customer Support Operations to Product Management.
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