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I'm one of today's best-selling computer book writers, with more than 15 million books in print.

This website keeps you up-to-date on my books, and your computers. Each week, I answer a reader's question on-line.

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Is there an answer somewhere?

Thanks to silgeo!

Photo by Silgeo on Flickr

Q: I am 84 years of age and hooked on computers which I find indispensable in daily life.

I often come across problems for which no answer seems available, even with advice from younger ones. Am I expecting too much from this wonderful machine, or is there an answer somewhere?

A: Yes, there is an answer out there to your computing problems. Unfortunately, finding just the right answer can be quite difficult and time-consuming.

The problem is that many people buy computers from many different manufacturers, who build their computers from many different sets of parts. As a result, nearly everybody’s computer runs a slightly different set of parts, as well as software.

Almost everybody’s computer is unique, with its own set of incompatibilities and problems. And that’s why you’re seeing problems not found by others. Rejoice in your uniqueness!

Seriously, though, I have three pieces of advice:

  • Write down the exact wording of any error messages you see.
  • Search for that exact error message on Google.
  • Visit the search results until you find somebody who’s stumbled upon an answer and kindly posted that answer on the web.

There are billions of people out there on the Internet. You just might find somebody with your exact computer’s configuration who’s posted an answer.

This Help page on Google searching might help you pluck your particular needle from the haystack. Mastering the art of pinpoint Google searching will go a long way in solving computer problems.

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