WOF: Do you provide tech support to friends and family?

By Jos ยท 99 replies
Jul 16, 2010
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  1. Being the tech-savvy guys in our families, we're always willing to give a helping hand when needed -- that is until you find yourself constantly spending weekends or spare time away from doing computer-related work as part of your job to, well, do more computer-related work only for free. They know you're the expert and they need help, so it's only natural that they'll pick up the phone hoping for a quick and easy solution to their woes.

    Read the whole story
  2. JMMD

    JMMD TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 854

    All the time.
  3. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    Yep, happens to me all the time too. If its friends of family I usually make a few bucks, if its family though they don't pay :(
  4. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,972   +2,527

    "A friend in need, is a friend indeed". What did Ben Franklin even mean by that nonsense? I'll bet he never had friends and relatives with broken computers. He'd be singing a different tune! Probably something more like, "a friend in need is a pain in the a**"! I suggest using caller ID in case of, "friends in need". Or maybe setting your answering machine to "announce only".
  5. But a friend with weed is better...

    A typical payment and always welcome. :)
  6. princeton

    princeton TS Addict Posts: 1,676

    You best be trollin.

    Yah I do. Just had to build my parent's pc today. Turns out the mobo has a ****ing dead ram slot that causes it to not post. Even funnier is I tried not using that slot 2 hours ago and it still didn't post. tried it now and POOF now it posts every time. FML
  7. mccartercar

    mccartercar TS Booster Posts: 140   +26

    So I was trying to help a friend in another state try to figure out what was wrong. He called me from his cell phone and told me the pc would not come on at all. I asked him if he heard anything when he tried to power it up and he said no. I asked him if the pc was plugged in and everything was connected ok, and he said yes. I told him to look at the power supply and check the voltage switch and make sure its set correctly. He responded and said he tried to look but couldnt see because it was too dark under the desk where the pc was so I told him to get a flashlight but he didnt have one so I suggested a lamp. He told me he plugged in the lamp but he still couldnt see because the power was out.
  8. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TS Evangelist Posts: 2,922   +630

    I'm studying IT at university, and in our dorm orientation I was pointed out as the person to see about any computer problems... (everyone else at dorms is doing a musical theatre type course..) I have two funny stories from this year.

    My friend plays quite a lot of games on his laptop, and is studying multimedia. His knowledge of IT isn't anywhere near mine, but I have seen a little and assumed he knew how to look after his laptop. After complaining for a whole day about apps that wont open fast etc, I decided to look. Windows 7, 80 processes running at once.. :( Cleaned that, then proceeded to clean with CCleaner. 6500 registry issues, 16GB of crap removed. Poor laptop.

    Recently a girl came to me saying her LAN adapter won't work. It was confirmed faulty, and she had to find a wireless connection to use internet. A couple of days later, she comes to my room, saying "I went to electronics store to buy an adapter so my LAN would work, but I can't take off the back of my laptop." I had no idea what she meant, but I went to investigate. I first asked to look at what she actually bought - it was a PCI expansion card! Her reply was "oh no I'm such a noob!!" :D
  9. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TS Evangelist Posts: 2,922   +630

    There's also a funny vertical-comic-strip titled somethign along the lines of 'Why you should never let anyone know you have IT skills'. Maybe someone knows of it and can link?
  10. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    I was going to ask if family seems to be the most ungrateful even when they dont pay a thin dime, but that answers it nicely.:wave:
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,972   +2,527

    Wow, if you're a straight male, and it's a coed dorm, you're in for four years of pure heaven. This of course is predicated on whether or not the ladies are, "experimenting in college", as it were!
  12. HaMsTeYr

    HaMsTeYr TS Guru Posts: 379   +6

    All the time, most of the times for free. Infact i'm helping a pensioner with setting up his computer and upgrades so that he can chat with his family overseas using skype and the lot.

    To me the satisfaction comes not from the payment (i usually don't ask for any) but a job well done and a smile on the other's face. :D Call me simple and naive, but maybe thats what i am then.
  13. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    If asked, I do, of if they are close friends.
    Mostly, I try to pretend to be clueless that way I get off easy and don't have to screw around with *****ic mistakes, especially through the phone or IM where people lack good description.
    Oh and no payment.
  14. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,714   +855

    Does a cat have an ***? Hell yeah I provide tech support to family and friends. If it wasn't for me, they'd still be on 10 year old machines, loaded down with 493 trojans wondering what the heck was going on. In my group of family and (older) friends, I'm the only one with any IT experience whatsoever. I'm glad to help out, but it does keep me busy.

    BTW - that's a killer dogbert cartoon. :D
  15. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,972   +2,527

    As long as they don't have your personal information on said 10 year old, trojan infested "computurds", I really don't see the down side.
  16. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    Do I mind ?
    I have no choice in the matter...
    Wife/life partner: "Hey, hon, mom can't get photo's onto that (massively overpriced) digital picture frame we got her last Christmas...oh, and she tried to plug the cable in and now the computer doesn't work...can you drive over and fix it....pleeeeeeaase"
    Me: "Yeah right !, You do know the game starts in an hour, right?"
    Wife/life partner: " Please, for me...."
    Me (answer #1) : "Sure, ok "
    Me (answer #2): "No way, they break stuff all the time, and you know she'll get me to wire the Satellite TV into the guest bathroom or something equally ridiculous"

    Answer #1 ...a modicum of domestic bliss......Answer #2...frostbite

    And of course, if you're helping out the in-laws, how do you justify not helping people you care about ?
  17. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,010   +18

    Yes, since age 10. And considering all of them use computers in their work, its very frustrating. So while my mom can design things on various CAD programs, I need to burn a music CD for her. Anything outside of the comfort zone of those programs I need to write down the formula on what to click and in what order to accomplish other tasks.

    Not too many funny stories, but I did discover my magic ability to fix a computer just by being near it. I get a call that so and so doesn't work, I drive over, duplicate their actions, and accomplish whatever they were trying to do. Then I hear " it didn't do that when I tried it ". I guess its funny now.
  18. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Posts: 1,835

    my friends and family make sure to take full advantage of my tech skills... but no more free reformats :)
  19. Recently i sold my grandmother my old desktop. reformatted fresh with xp cause its the only workin os i had layin around.. 2 days later she calls me saying she forgot her password, and i couldnt log into the admin account to do net user, so i had to reinstall again.. the next morning, she calls me saying she once again, forgot her password... which is why i set it to 123456 that time. :p

    I enjoy tech work mostly when its with a tech friend, and its something advanced that i havent learned yet, i enjoy learning new abilities, tricks, tweaks, and programs all the time, but i dont mind helping friends and family here and there :) they know they can rely on me.
  20. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,972   +2,527

    Did I just hear you correctly? You said you >>SOLD<< your grandmother your old computer...! Wow, that's cold.
  21. Doesn't bother me anymore...since I installed a free remote desktop program. As long as their computers can boot & get on the web, I can fix, or see what the problem is remotely.
    And since I set up all of my family members computers, they are locked down in regular user mode and can't screw them up too bad ;)
  22. elroacho72

    elroacho72 TS Rookie Posts: 116

    Hell yes, but its always the same thing right click to cut and right click to paste...lol The comic in this is great it really is a clip of my life.Thanks Techspot your my home page
  23. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,182   +469

    I help out some family members and a few friends and always for free (except parts). My brother-in-law works for a microchip company so he takes care of his own family and, besides, he's more into Macs anyway, something I don't know much about. I've built two new budget PCs for family members which I gave to them as gifts and I built one for a friend who only paid for the parts that I chose and assembled. These are the ones I support the most techwise.

    I also repair cars and trucks as my main hobby and that takes up a big chunk of my time on the weekends, especially since I only charge for parts, just like with PCs.
  24. mrtraver

    mrtraver TS Guru Posts: 381   +86

    I do it all the time for fun. I've even been considering doing it part-time for pay. I keep XP running on a separate partition on my PC mainly so I can try things on there then tell my dad what to do on his machine. I am not crazy about helping people over the phone; if they don't know a folder from a file the language barrier gets pretty steep! I also hate working on gateway laptops. I have had to reinstall windows twice on a friend's gateway (i don't know what she is doing to pick up some nasty malware; the internet history is always cleared when she gives it to me), as their driver support and installation is the most convoluted I have seen. But I love building new PCs and upgrading old ones.
  25. jakeshjo1953

    jakeshjo1953 TS Member Posts: 26

    I'm with you. I never charge family and friends and I just enjoy helping. But I have to say this. If they start to get like I have to come over right then and think their life is the only one that counts then I start telling them to call a tech and see what they can do. I have only had to do that once. Most people I have helped are very greatful and appreciative.

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