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Check out our Thanksgiving tech support survival guide (2018 edition)


It is that point of 12 months once more…

Thanksgiving is a time of 12 months which sees “the techies” and “the non-techies” come into contact. And chances are high that you just, being the techie, might be noticed an hunted down — The Strolling Lifeless fashion, albeit these zombies are slower and sleepier because of all of the tryptophan — by the non-techies looking for “assist.”

And why not?

Do not medical doctors get requested for recommendation on boils and sores at each get-together they attend? Do not all attorneys assist family and friends members with their newest crop of authorized issues? No… properly, we should be within the fallacious line of labor.

With this in thoughts, I’ve put collectively what I name a “Turkey Day” tech help survival information. I’ve known as it a “Turkey Day” information — although it’s going to work simply as properly at different occasions of 12 months — as a result of this appears to be the time of 12 months when the techie’s superhero abilities are in biggest demand.

The primary rule of Thanksgiving tech help is…

Do not needlessly tackle large initiatives. They are going to find yourself sucking away all of your time, and you will be again at work questioning the place Thanksgiving went.

Solely tackle initiatives which you can end in a brief period of time. Additionally, if you happen to’re not making any headway with a problem, know when to surrender.

Acquire a number of high-capacity USB flash drives

The inspiration of the “Turkey Day” tech help survival equipment is a number of massive USB flash drives. 4GB is nice, however 8GB or extra is healthier. Be sure you have a number of of them available.

Not solely are they essential for storing your “superpowers” (software program instruments) on, however in addition they come in useful if you need to transfer or again up any information.

Obtain updates upfront

You already know that PC that you just labored on final 12 months? The one which hadn’t been up to date in a 12 months? Chances are high it has not seen an replace for the reason that final time you laid fingers on it.

Be ready and obtain updates upfront. You already know higher than I do what working techniques your loved ones (and any close by associates) are working, however listed below are some fast hyperlinks:

Alternatively, if you happen to’re going someplace that has a quick web connection, use the working system’s personal updater to herald the updates (that is normally faster and desires much less hand-holding).

High tip: Thanksgiving is NOT the correct time to be upgrading working techniques — do not forget that first rule? If household and associates begin asking you about Home windows 10 or macOS Mojave, my recommendation is to inform them you will speak about that one other time. Upgrading OSes is the form of timesuck to keep away from if you wish to loosen up.

Different patches and updates needs to be sufficiently small for you to have the ability to obtain them over a poor connection. If not, then impress your loved ones and associates by establishing a Wi-Fi hotspot utilizing your smartphone or pill and obtain them that approach.

Safe your bases

In my expertise, about half of what I’d affectionately name “house customers” do not run any safety software program (until it was pre-installed), and the opposite half are working an outdated package deal.

As for a complete, nag-free antivirus for each Home windows and Mac techniques, I like to recommend you check out Sophos Home, which gives commercial-grade antivirus to shoppers for gratis.

I additionally discover it helpful to have a scanner that I can set up and run to scrub up any contaminated Home windows PCs I stumble throughout. For this I exploit VIPRE Rescue, which is an outstanding device for on-the-fly malware elimination.

Keep in mind to verify that each one put in browsers are up-to-date (together with any add-ons). This can be a good time to be looking out for any random toolbars or dodgy add-ons that want eradicating.

Listed below are just a few different issues value checking: Java | QuickTime (or simply dump it if doable, since it isn’t been up to date in over a 12 months) | Flash.

One other good safety tip is to find out which program is the default PDF reader on the system. If it isn’t an up-to-date model of Adobe Reader then I would advocate uninstalling it and including FoxIt Reader, a transfer that can make the system in query safer.

I used to advocate Flexera Private Software program Inspector scanner for figuring out packages that have been insecure or in want of updating, and it may additionally robotically replace many generally used purposes. Sadly, this product has been discontinued and direct alternate options will not be obtainable. Two of the alternate options that I’ve examined are SUMo and Patch My PC.

Set up this now, and subsequent 12 months you may truly get to observe the sport.

Put together for battle… erm… troubleshooting

My favourite transportable troubleshooting utility is, and has been for years, the Ultimate Boot CD.

Final Boot CD now means that you can run the .ISO disk picture from a USB flash drive, which is extra handy and lots simpler to maintain up to date than a disc (though for older techniques it is nonetheless smart to have a CD in your bag, simply in case it will not boot from a USB drive).

That is doubtless the very best assortment of instruments and utilities obtainable, and has saved my bacon extra occasions than I care to recollect.

Get able to battle crapware

For any kin who might need a brand new PC (that is greater than possible stuffed full of ‘crapware’), then PC Decrapifier is a helpful device to have close by. Operating this on a brand new PC could make it really feel like a good newer PC.

Then there’s all the opposite stuff!

It is not simply PCs as of late. It is also every little thing else: iPhones, iPads, Android gadgets, set-top gadgets, and many others.

That is the place life will get further complicated and it is smart to choose your battles right here.

Be sure you have some primary instruments

It’s essential to be packing in addition to software program. I discover that at minimal it is good to hold the next:

  • A #2 Phillips screwdriver (or an excellent multitool)
  • An anti-static wrist strap
  • A couple of anti-static luggage
  • Some spare screws (drive screws and motherboard screws are particularly helpful)
  • A spare Lightning and micro USB charger cables for smartphones and tablets
  • Spare USB charger

If in case you have an honest on a regular basis carry equipment with you, try to be OK for instruments.

Considering in your ft

Do not waste time (keep in mind, that is your time too). If you do not know one thing, do not hassle making an attempt to reinvent the wheel; as an alternative hit up your favourite search engine to search for solutions. Leaping straight to this stage (versus going by long-winded troubleshooting procedures) can prevent a number of time.

Alternatively… simply say no!

Toss apart the keyboard, frisbee the boot CD into the rubbish can, and simply gorge your self on big slabs of turkey and pumpkin pie.

Do you suppose that this t-shirt from ThinkGeek is a fantastically passive-aggressive strategy to get the message throughout that you just’re not within the temper to repair PCs? It is perhaps the very best $20 you will spend this 12 months.

It is an absolute basic!

Have an excellent Turkey Day, people, and attempt to discover time to have enjoyable!

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About Alejandro Bonaparte

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