The Complete Guide to Giving Better Family Tech Support

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It’s that vacation time of yr once more, and meaning it’s over the river and thru the woods to…effectively, repair your loved ones’s Wi-Fi and different tech issues.

For those who’re studying this, there’s a very good probability that you simply’re the “tech particular person” in your loved ones. Meaning your loved ones is continually asking you for assist, then blaming you at any time when one thing goes unsuitable. (“Steven, you know the way you mounted my printer again in July? Properly now my web doesn’t work. Do you suppose you broke the web?”)

In that means, being the tech help for your loved ones will be enormously irritating. However, on the identical time, thanks to the rising position of expertise in individuals’s lives, you’ve acquired a very essential job to do. In lots of circumstances, should you’re not there a number of instances a yr ensuring the computer systems are up to date, the pictures are backed up, and the tech is buzzing alongside prefer it ought to, then your family members are ready to have individuals exploit their computer systems, lose their pictures to a tough drive crash, or in any other case be depressing as a result of they only don’t know any higher. In contrast to you and I, they aren’t on the market maintaining on all of the tech information and studying how-to guides.

So with that in thoughts, we’re going to run by a crash course—with copious hyperlinks to tutorials we’ve written prior to now—that may enable you to whip your loved ones’s tech life into form so their networks are safe, their computer systems are backed up, and the whole lot is linked so you may simply assist them sooner or later. The information is split into sections that, primarily based on years of expertise because the household tech help staff, are the areas which can be the most typical (and urgent).

Replace, Replace, Replace

Tech-savvy individuals have a tendency to replace often as a result of they need new options and safety patches. Non-techie individuals have a tendency to put updates off…generally for very, very lengthy instances. As soon as, whereas serving to a relative with their pc, I found they hadn’t even up to date Home windows 7 to Service Pack 1 as a result of anyone had informed them that Service Pack 1 was unhealthy and would crash their pc. Oh, and this was six years after the service pack was launched and Home windows 10 was already out.

With that in thoughts, one of many first stops in your tech help tour needs to be to try your member of the family’s computer systems and units to guarantee they’re up to date. Not simply that, however discuss to them earlier than updating their stuff, and clearly clarify to them why you’re doing it. Many instances individuals are upset when issues look totally different or behave otherwise on account of an replace, however should you clearly clarify to them that the replace is to guarantee their units are safe and so no person can steal their id, infect their computer systems, or in any other case make their life depressing, they’ll be rather more accepting of any modifications.

In the event that they haven’t up to date Home windows in ages, there’s a very good probability that it’ll be a prolonged course of, and the updates would possibly get caught or in any other case fail—however don’t fear, we’ve acquired a information to troubleshooting the Home windows replace course of.

Whilst you’re at it, you’ll additionally need to be certain the remainder of their purposes are up to date. Replace their browser, their cellphone, and verify on different units round their residence together with sensible TVs, set prime units, routers, and different that additionally wants updating.  The place potential, set the units to routinely obtain the updates and replace themselves.

De-Junk Their Computer systems



On prime of making certain their computer systems are up to date, you want to de-junk them. We don’t understand how or why, nevertheless it’s virtually a legislation of the universe that each one units owned by non-tech savvy people should slowly accumulate rubbish apps, malware, toolbars, and all method of crap that brings computer systems to their knees. Your in-laws might imagine they want a brand new pc, however they most likely simply want anyone to undo the mess they made after they tried to win an iPad by clicking on that “Punch the monkey!” banner advert.

You’ll be able to examine eradicating malware from a PC right here and a Mac right here. (And in the event that they don’t have a very good antivirus put in, listed here are our suggestions.) Even when their PC is malware-free, there’s a very good probability there are a bunch of startup apps that don’t want to be there, “helper” apps for issues (like their printer) that they don’t even want, and basic laborious drive muddle. You’ll be able to learn extra about purging this muddle and rushing up your PC right here.

Set Up Consumer Accounts for Everybody

The huge variety of pc issues we’ve helped associates, neighbors, and family members with through the years has resulted from them (or their kids) utilizing the administrator account on their pc. If this isn’t a difficulty you’ve considered earlier than, right here’s the crash course in why it issues: directors have complete energy over the pc and restricted customers don’t. If a restricted person downloads a virus (say, masquerading as a Minecraft mod they really need to play) they can’t run it with out the administrator password.

Even when there are not any children in the home, it’s nonetheless very helpful to arrange the pc in order that the common day-to-day use is finished on a restricted account. This fashion you may’t be caught off guard by one thing putting in itself in your pc since you’ll want to cease, acknowledge that one thing is occurring, and authorize it with the administrator password. For non-tech savvy family members, this can be a good, because it provides them an opportunity to say “Wait. Why is factor attempting to change my pc?” You’ll be able to learn extra about establishing restricted person accounts right here with further particular details about Home windows 10 right here.

Enhance and Safe Their Wi-Fi

Subsequent, it’s time to transfer on to the bane of each tech person’s existence: flaky Wi-Fi. We will’t even inform you what number of instances we’ve visited a relative and had them inform us one thing to the impact of “Oh the Wi-Fi solely works should you’re in the identical room because the field” or “the Wi-Fi is simply works for an hour or two after which you will have to unplug the router and modem”. We wouldn’t want that scenario on our enemies, not to mention our family members—so check their Wi-Fi and ask them how its working.

The very first thing you need to do is guarantee their router is secured correctly. This implies up to date firmware, altering the administrator password from the default, and so forth. In our information to the six steps you need to do instantly after getting a brand new router, you’ll discover a good run down (whether or not the router is new or not) to safe a router.

As well as to updating their router and correctly securing it, you may also repair lots of sign points just by transferring the router and making certain its channel isn’t overlapping with the neighbor’s Wi-Fi. In a single occasion, we solved a household’s Wi-Fi points just by transferring the router from the house workplace (situated within the far nook of their basement) to room situated within the heart of their residence. If routers and residential networking aren’t precisely your specialty, don’t fear—we’ve acquired a step-by-step information to troubleshooting community issues. (If all else fails, a mesh Wi-Fi system just like the Eero could assist that Wi-Fi attain locations you would solely dream of earlier than.)

Lastly, learn the way a lot they’re paying for his or her web plan, and how much speeds they’re paying for. Then, run a pace check to guarantee they’re getting these speeds—if not, a name to their web supplier could also be so as.

Backup Every part (and Automate Future Backups)

Backups are, palms down, the primary factor that no person thinks about till its too late. There’s an excellent probability that your family members don’t frequently again up their computer systems or their telephones, which suggests it’s solely a matter of time earlier than they lose private paperwork, household pictures, and different knowledge…then come crying to you asking how to get them again.

For those who do nothing else throughout your vacation go to, don’t go away with out establishing a backup system to your family members. They may survive with out present Home windows updates, they could endure crappy Wi-Fi protection, however there’s no getting again all of the pictures of their kids that vanish into the ether when a tough drive crashes or a cellphone is stolen.

We’ve written extensively on this subject through the years, so we’ll simply direct you to our information to greatest backup strategies. Get them a BackBlaze subscription, set it up on all their computer systems, and automate it in order that they by no means have to give it some thought once more. And, whilst you’re at it, try our information to bulletproof photograph backups—sure, their regular backup plan ought to deal with pictures superb, however pictures are the one factor you may by no means get again, so it’s good to have some additional photo-specific backup instruments in place. With a bit of luck, they’ll by no means have to fear about dropping information once more.

Set Up Distant Entry

Even with the entire above fixes, you already know this gained’t be the final time your loved ones enlists your assist. So, earlier than you go, arrange a distant entry device on their pc—that means, the following time they’ve issues (and also you aren’t round), you may join to their machine from afar and assist them out. There’s no higher frustration than somebody who isn’t acquainted with computer systems attempting to clarify an issue over the cellphone, particularly when only a look by a educated eye would remedy the issue.

In the event that they use Home windows, you don’t really need any instruments—Home windows has its personal inbuilt. In any other case, there are lots of good distant desktop apps on the market, however for serving to family members with tech help, we use and advocate TeamViewer—so long as you take a number of additional steps to set it up securely. Armed with a correct distant entry device, you may troubleshoot almost something (in need of bodily altering the toner of their printer) with a lot much less frustration.

Educate Them on Malware and Scams


There’s a very good probability that you simply’re far more acquainted with the ins and ours of retaining your pc (and your self) secure on-line than your family and friends are. As well as to serving to safe their Wi-Fi community and updating their computer systems, you may also save your family and friends lots of complications by making certain they’re acquainted with widespread scams and sources of malware.

There are a number of huge matters price speaking about. Ensure to educate individuals about phishing emails—don’t give your private info to anybody through unsolicited electronic mail, take a look at electronic mail headers to be certain that electronic mail out of your financial institution is basically out of your financial institution, when it doubt go to the web site itself and login (don’t click on the hyperlinks within the electronic mail).

Be certain that your family members, particularly the older ones who may be extra inclined to trusting individuals and used to a extra in-person means of doing enterprise, perceive that Microsoft is rarely going to name them about their pc (not to mention demand cash over the cellphone to repair it). Lastly, if you’d like to break the cycle of visiting each vacation and uninstalling piles of crapware, then present them how to keep away from putting in three rubbish apps together with the free software program they set up.

Whereas all these items may be widespread sense to you, the truth is that hundreds of thousands of individuals get tricked by scams yearly as a result of they didn’t understand it was a rip-off—assist shield your family and friends from id theft and malware by taking a number of additional minutes to discuss it with them.

Search How-To Geek for Additional Assist


Whereas we’ve highlighted among the commonest conditions you’ll run into right here and a few precautions you need to take to assist your family members, there’ll all the time been additions questions primarily based on their particular circumstances. Fortunately for you, we’ve been at this for a very long time and we have now a bunch of associates, household, and neighbors all the time in want of assist—so our archive of articles is huge, and covers many of the conditions you’ll run into. You need to use a deal with little Google trick to drill by our archives in search of precisely what you want. By trying to find web adopted by no matter you need assistance with, you may simply discover all of the articles we’ve written on a topic.

Let’s say, for instance, your brother needs to understand how to keep away from buying a number of copies of iOS apps for all his children. You’ll be able to pull out your cellphone, search web share iOS purchases, after which present him how to arrange Apple Family Sharing so he should buy the app as soon as and share it with all his children. For those who don’t know the answer to an issue your family members are having there’s a very good probability that we’ve written about it (and it’s a assure that even when we haven’t, anyone someplace on the web has had the identical drawback and figured it out already). So hearth up Google and seem like the tech genius you’re.

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