June 6, 2012 at 10:32 am
by Christina Tynan-Wood
Though we’re close, my sister Dianne and I can go weeks without contact beyond a friendly text here and there. So when I saw she’d left me three voice mails in quick succession, it could mean only one of two things: a family emergency or—more likely—a tech crisis. When that happens, I am her go-to.
Before I had time to dial her number, she called again and was near tears. “I think I did something stupid,” she blurted out by way of greeting. Long story short, malware had infected her computer and was demanding she input a credit card number to access her hard drive, and she couldn’t get hold of me. Panicked, she Googled frantically on her smartphone and finally connected with a remote tech support pro who assured her he could straighten everything out. Heartened, she gave him permission to control her computer remotely. “I didn’t do any research on this company,” she said, her voice shaking. “I was desperate. Did I screw up?”
I gathered some details and assured her that everything was fine. Relieved, she marveled at how terrific it was to just sit by and watch while someone who knew what they were doing took care of her problem.
Calm now, she told me she planned to buy an annual tech support plan so she could get help 24/7. At first, I felt a little hurt that she would no longer consider me her tech guru. But then I realized that being able to call for assistance with basic maintenance, or get help to set up a new computer, printer, tablet, whatever, would probably have prevented her malware disaster. Bottom line, she worried about putting me out, especially at odd hours. And even if you know how to troubleshoot effectively, it’s never fun or convenient.
In the months since she made her decision, I must admit it’s been very pleasant to pick up the phone when she calls, knowing it’s just to say hello.
Who You Gonna Call?
Recently, I gardened and enjoyed dinner with my family while these companies fixed computers in my household via remote access. Check websites for additional price options.
McAfee TechMaster A third of tech support calls are due to malware infections. That’s something McAfee, maker of one of the most popular anti-virus suites, knows a lot about. Mcafee.com, $179.95 for 1-year Concierge Gold package
Support.com All techs work from the comfort of their own homes in the U.S. or Canada, with sophisticated diagnostic and repair tools. $199.99 for 1-year Personal Plan
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