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Using Automated Technical Support Systems
Compared to several years ago, there is now an absolute wealth of free, automated technical support available for thousands of different hardware and software products. This is a boon to every computer user, as these services allow everyone to access a wide variety of technical information easily, where before, every problem meant a phone call to a technical support queue.
Automated technical support options have many advantages over conventional phone-based technical support, which is why I usually recommend to most people that they try them before resorting to a phone call (especially if it is a toll call). Automated systems are usually free; they are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (barring technical difficulties), they are usually more consistent and precise than help from a technical support person, and they are usually faster than waiting for tech support. On the downside, they tend to be more simplistic, and don't cover the more esoteric problems that can strike. But they are usually worth at least a look.