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Friday, May 30 12:00 AM ET

The Five People You Don't Want to Ask for Computer Help

By Brian Briggs

When your computer is broken and you're at your wits end, you may want to turn for someone else for help. That's a good strategy if you choose the right people, otherwise you could end up in worse shape than when you began. Here's some helpful advice on who to avoid when seeking computer help.

The Neighbor Boy - You may think you've done a great job hiding your porn collection on your hard drive, but teenage boys could find porn if it were locked in a vault deep in the bowels of the NSA.  Your clever renaming of folders and hiding of files is no match for them.  They'll find it, make a copy of it, and then blame you when they get busted by their parents.  That's not a conversation you want to have.

Random People on an Internet Forum - You may be tempted to post your question on a popular Internet message board looking for help, but don't do that.  By the time you get some real help you'll have formatted your hard drive or destroyed your registry file. People on the Internet can't be trusted.  Most are probably dumber than you, and have no idea what you're talking about

The Geek Squad - No matter what your problem is, you'll need a new piece of hardware.  Can't get on the Internet?  You need a new hard drive.  Can't install Quicken on the machine? Your keyboard is broken.  Certain FTP sites transfer files slower than others? It's probably because your monitor is busted.  Sure, you'll end up with some new stuff, but your problem won't be solved.

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Mom or Dad - If they're young enough that they could actually help they'll blame you for breaking it.  If they're older, then you'll spend all your time explaining the problem before you slam the phone down in frustration. Either way, it’s still not fixed.

David Hasselhoff - Unless you're running OpenBSD, he won't be able to help. Security, security, security is his mantra.

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