Finding Answers to IT Questions

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While perusing Quora, Reddit, and IT Forums, I often see people asking “Which website is best for finding IT solutions?”. This is a particularly difficult question to answer as it will be dependent on the type of computer problem that is occurring (e.g., software vs hardware vs cloud service; type of device; type of OS, etc.) as well as the technical expertise of the person working on the issue. With that said, as an IT professional, I’ve had great luck using the following resources while troubleshooting:

Google Search 

It sounds silly and I know that “let me google that for you’ has become the ultimate diss, but truth be told, Google is still going to be your number 1 tool when it comes to finding quick solutions and answers. There’s really no reason to limit yourself to a specific site when Google allows you to search multiple sites at once. My advice would be to get comfortable optimizing your search terms, familiarize yourself with the search tools/options Google provides, and don’t give up if an answer isn’t on the first page of your first search. Personally, I’ve found that if you put enough time into your search, you WILL find the answer. It’s just a matter of time, effort, and selecting the correct search phrase. Another tip is to search for the answer that will help you REACH the answer. For example, if I’m not having any luck finding results on how to install a new M.2 SSD in a laptop, I might actually search for ‘how to remove SSD from laptop’ instead. If I can find the steps to do that, I would then be able to use them in reverse to install the SSD. It really is worthwhile to commit to improving your skills with Google if you haven’t already… You can check out sites/articles like this one for more info: The Tiny, Essential Google Tricks for Way Better Search Results

Reddit (reddit.com)

Honestly, simply appending ‘reddit’ to the end of your search string in the search engine of your choice will work wonders! Reddit has a huge community of tech savvy individuals, many of which have encountered the exact issue you may need assistance with. For example, if I was looking for assistance creating an imaging solution for MacOS, I’d use ‘imaging macos reddit’ for my search string and get the following results:

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Furthermore, Reddit has a countless number of subreddits dedicated to computer/IT issues. Some notable entries include /r/techsupport, /r/sysadmin, /r/computertechs and many more!

Vendor specific sites and forums

This includes using the provided documentation and support forums from the vendor of the device/application/service you need assistance with. While their level of quality will vary, reaching out to the vendor is a great first step… It’s always frustrating to research and troubleshoot for hours only to have the vendor fix it for you in 5 minutes. Examples of vendors with great support/training content include: Salesforce (Trailhead | The fun way to learn); Microsoft (Microsoft Virtual Academy); Google (Google Help); and Dell (Support | Dell US).

4sysops.com (For SysAdmins and DevOps)

Now, I know that I said it’s best NOT to limit yourself to a specific site, but if you are dealing with a server related issue, this has to be one of your go-to sites. 4sysops holds a special place in my heart as it has been incredibly useful throughout my career. They offer literally thousands of posts on everything server/devops related. Even better is the quality of their posts. Often, you can literally follow their blog posts step-by-step as a learning tool, while also coming out of it with a beautifully working solution. I cannot recommend them enough.

Those are generally my go-to spots to get started whenever I’m troubleshooting a pesky computer issue… Please share your go-to tech help sites in the comments!

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