12 of the Best Places on the Internet to Get Free Help with Computer Problems

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Where do you go when you need help with a computer problem? One place to find answers is in one of the numerous technical forums on the Internet. These forums are community sites whose members help one another with technical problems. Some of these are major sites moderated by a group of experienced and knowledgeable experts and are excellent sources of free computer help. Here is a selection from the forums that I find most useful. Some are more specialized than others but all are useful places to know about. They are my personal choices and not official recommendations from Gizmo's Freeware. They are listed in no particular order.

  1. Tom’s Hardware Forum - As the name indicates, this forum is hardware-oriented but there are plenty of posts on other subjects, including the Windows operating system and video games.
  2. Bleeping Computer Forum - Good forum covering many areas of using a PC.
  3. MajorGeeks Support Forums - You may know MajorGeeks as a major freeware download site but it also has an active forum covering a variety of topics.
  4. AnandTech Forums - AnandTech is known for hardware reviews and this forum has a lot of hardware threads but there is plenty of discussion of software and other subjects.
  5. Windows 7 Help Forums - A lot of information about Windows 7 but there are other threads as well.
  6. Windows 8 Forums - This one is about using Windows 8 and 8.1.
  7. Windows Secrets Lounge - Forum of the well-known newsletter. The newsletter is commercial but the forum can be read by anybody and registration is free. Discussion on many subjects here.
  8. TechSpot Forums - General computer topics of all sorts.
  9. CNET Forums - A wide variety of discussion from a major tech publisher
  10. Tech Support Guy Forums - Forum from our top-rated free online technical support service
  11. Wilders Security Forums - One of the best-known sites for security information.
  12. Neowin Forums - Forums on many technical subjects.

In order to submit a question to a forum, you generally have to become a member. However, previous posts are usually available to the general public and you can often find that your problem has already been the subject of a discussion thread that answers your question. One thing to keep in mind when using any forum is that all members do not have equal expertise. However, it is usually pretty easy to pick out who the most knowledgeable members are. Generally, these are the moderators and the senior members with the most posts. Before using any suggestions from a forum, always back up first.

And there you have it - great places to get your computer questions answered. Of course, there are a lot of forums and if you like one not mentioned in this list, please share it with us. And don't forget our own forum.

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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's, guides, and tutorials, including a site for learning about Windows and the Internet and another with Windows 7 tips.

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Comments

Appreciate you listing these valuable resources.

As a Power-User... I have clocked gobs of time searching-out PC and software issues on Google... and the following are the G Page-1 SERP results that most often have provided the education and resolutions (not to take anything away from all the other websites mentioned):

- Tom’s Hardware Forum
- Bleeping Computer Forum
- MajorGeeks Support Forums
- Windows 7 Help Forums
- Wilders Security Forums
- MakeUseOf.com

Happy New Year 2015!

In the days of XP, I would always go to What the Tech (Tom Coyote) forums, esp. with security issues (HijackThis logs, etc.); their advice and guidance provided was top-notch.

Here's a very useful site. Leo explains things in a way almost anyone can understand:

askleo.com

You don't have to be a member to participate in a forum or ask Leo a question, but book purchasers and newsletter subscribers get a higher priority in getting their questions answered.

Very good list Vic--I haven't used CNet or Neowin, but have found good info and discussion in all the others. Others I find good:

How-To Geek
http://www.howtogeek.com/

ExtremeTech
http://www.extremetech.com/category/computing

Tom's Guides [sister of Tom’s Hardware & Tom’s Games]
http://www.tomsguide.com/

For building a PC:

Logical Increments
http://www.logicalincrements.com/

and especially, the excellent
PCPartPicker
http://pcpartpicker.com/

My usual problem solving or info gathering technique is to search for my issue in Bing and scroll the search results, opening new tabs for sites I trust to be useful.

I have used Protonic whenever needed over the years and have always been satisfied. Very friendly, courteous and they provide timely replies to your issue.

I have used many of these sites over the years - both receiving and giving help. One of the truths that all of these sites have in common, is that there are a hardcore group of people, usually with the highest number of "Thanks" or "Kudos"; find these people and seek out their advice. It'll save you a lot of time and frustration.

Make Use Of is a great site with lots of articles on...everything, but heavy on the computer help. You have to search for the Linux stuff, but there's plenty of it.

http://www.makeuseof.com/

Another good site is www.computerhope.com , that site has helped me solve issues many times, great staff as well....

For those with some tech knowledge you can't beat StackOverflow. You have to register to post or comment but there's help on nearly any aspect of coding, often too much. It's easy to get overwhelmed with info unless you really narrow down your search.

I am looking for DotTech by Ashraf. Loving that help.

Their site is DoTech.Org .

dottech.org, actually

All the sites listed above are for Windows, so are mostly useless for me.

I first go to the forum maintained by the Linux distro I'm using, or its derivative (e.g., Mint, Ubuntu). If I have a problem, a thousand others have had it too and a hundred have figured out the answer.

If I can't, there's a lot of small Linux forums but I find the best way of finding the topic is searching for it, making sure I use "linux" as one of the search terms.

A number of the sites given in the article's list have threads for Linux and Macs. Just as one example, Tom's Hardware has a forum, "Linux/Free BSD", with over 33 thousand posts.