Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and this year’s celebrations are bound to look different. Many families have put their travel plans and large gatherings on hold. Fortunately, things like Zoom and FaceTime allow folks to stay in touch. Whether you are hosting family at your home or you’re gathering virtually, you will likely encounter tech questions from your less-than-tech-savvy family members. You don’t have to be a tech whiz to lend a hand — if your grandma can’t connect to the family Zoom or your uncle’s printer is going haywire, these technical support tips can help you step in and save the day!
Basic Technical Support Troubleshooting Steps
With any device, there are a few easy fixes that may solve everyday problems. If your family members have trouble with their phones, computers, printers, cable boxes, or other electronic devices, these basic steps can help get things up and running:
- Check connections –Make sure that all cords are plugged in securely. Pay special attention to power cords, and make sure that cables are plugged into the correct ports.
- Check connectivity and settings –Is the device hooked up to an internet connection? Is that internet connection working for other devices or applications? For mobile devices, check airplane mode. For other devices, check wireless internet and Bluetooth settings.
- Check for updates –The problem may be due to software that is out of date. Check the device for software updates.
- Turn the device off and on again –For many people, this is both their first instinct and their last hope when troubleshooting tech issues. Turn your device off, then turn it on again. Some electronics have a hard reset option that can come in handy when they are not responsive.
Being a Good Zoom Host Can Limit Computer Issues
If your Thanksgiving dinner is being held virtually this year, there are a few things that you can do to ensure that everyone can connect successfully. Whether you use Zoom, FaceTime, Microsoft Teams, or another video call program, a bit of legwork ahead of time can make things run smoothly.
- Talk to family members ahead of time – If you suspect that some of your family members may have trouble navigating your holiday video chat, check in with them ahead of time. Offer technical support one-on-one instead of tackling issues as they come up in a large group setting.
- Take a deep dive into your settings – If you are the host, take a look at the application’s settings. With Zoom, for example, disabling the “mute participants on entry” feature can make things much easier when family members join your call — you won’t have to explain how to unmute to each new caller.
- Make sure your network is up to the task – To prevent poor call quality, check your bandwidth with a tool like speedtest.net. Zoom’s troubleshooting guide recommends upload and download speeds of at least 3 Mbps, but 10 Mbps or higher is preferred. If you’re struggling to reach those speeds or you’re encountering poor call quality, make sure that no one is downloading large files or streaming on your network.
When All Else Fails, Search the ‘Net
Has grandma’s computer question left you stumped? Check in with your old friend Google. Even if you’re not a technology expert, a basic knowledge of internet searches and electronics can make a huge difference. Embrace the holiday spirit and lend your family a hand by searching for answers to their tech questions online. Our Thanksgiving celebrations might look a bit different this year, but these uncertain times can allow us to consider what makes us truly thankful. The team at Howard Tech Advisors would like to wish all of our clients, friends, and neighbors a safe and fun Thanksgiving.
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The team at Howard Tech Advisors is committed to providing managed services and customized IT solutions to our clients in Howard County, Baltimore, Columbia, and Ellicott City. We specialize in managed IT services for small and midsize businesses, particularly those near our office in Elkridge, Maryland. To learn more about our business and our work in the community, contact us at (410) 997-2500 or visit our website. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to stay up-to-date on our service offerings and tech tips.