Information Technology 6.4. Computer Help Tech Support

When thinking about specific IT issues, computer help technical support should rank as your number one consideration. That’s right. Not Web site, database programming, or developing some cool custom application for your business and your business alone. The bulk of your IT time is going to be spent just figuring out how to make that damn box on your desk do what you want it to do.

Most computer help tech support can be done virtually by email, chat, or over the phone. Considering that most tech support firms charge anywhere from $60 to $100 to come to your location, virtual tech support can represent a profound savings to your business. And if you’re smart, you’ll never need tech help for the same problem twice!

6.4.1. iTOK

iTOK is a remote, Internet-based computer maintenance and trouble-shooting firm. While this seems to border on fantasy, you essentially give iTOK full access to your computer’s hard drives (and peripherals) through the Internet. In a maintenance session, a remote technician essentially scours through your hard drive and uses your system’s diagnostic and repair tools to fix non-hardware problems. It’s an elegant solution―rather than have a techie show up at your house to fix or maintain your computer’s system, that techie sits in Russia or somewhere and does it from there.

You use the iTOK service in two instances: regular maintenance and troubleshooting. Regular maintenance involves and initial full computer system and security overhaul ($150) and monthly maintenance ($20 per month) including

  • Spyware and virus scanning and removal
  • Operating system updates
  • Disk clean-up and defragmentation
  • Start-up audit
  • Firewall check
  • Software licensing (optional)

You can also sign up for on-demand virtual help that involves both a chat service and remote linkage to your computer.

6.4.2. ComputerHelpSOS

ComputerHelpSOS offers cost effective computer help through Internet chat and remote screen sharing. Like iTOK, technicians at ComputerHelpSOS connect directly to your computer and can diagnose and fix the problem remotely. You pay $1.63 per minute of help (about $100 an hour, which is about what an on-site computer tech person would charge―the difference is that an on-site tech person will charge in half-hour or single hour increments, i.e., you pay $100 for two minutes of work for on-site tech help and $3.26 for two minutes of ComputerHelpSOS tech help).

ComputerHelpSOS offers the following services:

  • Autosync
  • BIOS and setup
  • Hardware conflicts
  • Display issues
  • Motherboard – Installation issues
  • Networking – traditional and wireless issues
  • Windows issues
  • Spyware, adware, and virus cleaning
  • Software installation
  • Software troubleshooting and service packs
  • Security software issues
  • Email problems
  • Firewalls
  • Printers issues, networked printer issues
  • Sound card or video driver issues
  • Web: hosting, audio, video
  • Handheld – Palm issues

6.4.3. Plum Choice Online PC Services

Plum Choice is another virtual tech help service that accesses your computer system remotely to diagnose and fix problems with your system and hardware.

  • PC tune-ups
  • Home and small office network setups and maintenance
  • Virus/spyware/adware identification and removal
  • Pop-up blocking
  • Email and software problems
  • Printer, scanner, digital camera and other peripheral problems
  • MP3 players, PDAs, and other mobile devices setup and troubleshooting
  • Standard maintenance
  • Windows updates and patches
  • Installation, troubleshooting, and training on new software and hardware
  • Data back-up processes

Pricing is based on packages, but you can also purchase a pay-as-you-go service for $90 per hour.

  • Unlimited online PC support ($25)―probably one of the best virtual tech deals online, Plum Choice will give you each month a PC Tuneup, security software, and unlimited PC support. The plan does not include network or device support.
  • 60 Smart Minutes ($90)―similar to a phone plan where you buy minutes, you can purchase 60 minutes of support help for $90 and use it up as you need it for PC, network, and device support.
  • PC Tune-Up ($129)―a one-time tune-up including virus/spyware/adware scanning and removal, Windows updates, securities enhancements,
  • Spyware and virus removal ($100)―scan, identify, and remove spyware, adware, and viruses.
  • Wireless network setup ($80)―setting up a home wireless network, setting up each computer on the network, firewalls, file/printer sharing, and security.
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