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In an earlier Tech Tip, Sam reminded us that simply rebooting your computer will often solve many of the technical problems you may experience.  While that works in a lot of cases, sometimes the problem persists even after a reboot.  What then?

When the easiest solution of rebooting doesn’t do the trick, many of us will turn to some sort of tech support.   That could be Oxy’s ITS Technology Helpdesk at or it might just be a trusted tech-savvy friend or relative.  But if those people aren’t immediately available and you’re hoping to get the problem fixed quickly, you might try your hand at searching for the solution online.  Like any web searching, there’s a wealth of useful information out there, but it can be a challenge finding it.  Here are a few ideas to help you tailor your search to retrieve a narrower set of more relevant results:

1. Before searching the entire web, see if there is a tech support forum from the vendor of the software or hardware that is causing you grief.  For example, you could search for “Microsoft Word tech support forum” and then search within the specific product for answers to your problem.

2. When searching Google, be as specific as possible in your search string about the problem you are experiencing.  Include things like the name of the software, error codes, and/or model numbers of problematic hardware.

3. Use the word “solved” in your search string — many tech support forums flag problems that have been resolved using the word “solved”, so including the word in a Google search may help you to get to the most helpful forum posts faster.

You’ll soon discover online tech support forums are often full of jargon and acronyms. Check out the Sharpened Glossary for simple definitions of computer-related terms.

Have a favorite search tip for solving tech problems?  Post it in the comments section below.