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When troubleshooting application or networking software, check out the README file before you try any of the other manufacturers’ resources. It is usually found on the first installation disk or CD.

Telephone Support

Many people prefer telephone support over other forms of support. You actually get to talk to a human being from the software manufacturer about

the problem. Most, if not all, software manufacturers have toll-free support numbers. The people on their end of the line can provide anything from basic how-to answers to complex, technical answers.

Unfortunately, because of their popularity, technical support phone lines are often busy. When the line is finally free, you might, however, find yourself in “voicemail hell.” We’ve all been through it: Press 1 for support for products A, B, and C. Press 2 for Products D, E, and F, and so on and so on. Most people don’t want this and hang up. They prefer to speak with a human being as soon as the call is answered. Today, phone support is often not free (the number to reach support might be, but the support itself is not), but must be purchased via either a time-limited contract or on an incident-by-incident basis. This is particularly true for network operating system software support. To solve this problem, companies have devised other methods, such as the technical support CD-ROM and website, which we will discuss next.

The Technical Support CD-ROM

With the development of CD-ROM technology, it became possible to put volumes of textual information on a readily accessible medium. The CD-ROM was, thus, a logical distribution vehicle for technical support information. In addition, the CD was portable and searchable. Introduced in the early 1990s, Novell’s Network Support Encyclopedia (NSE) CD-ROM was one of the first products of this kind. Microsoft’s TechNet came soon after. Both companies charge a nominal fee for a yearly subscription to these CDs (anywhere from $100-$500).

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