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Article Title:
==============
How To Find Tech Support For Your Computer Printers

Article Description:
====================
Computers are becoming commonplace in homes and offices around 
the world. The problem is that most people know so very little 
about their computers, that when something goes wrong, they do 
not know how to begin the troubleshooting process.


Additional Article Information:
===============================
1210 Words; formatted to 65 Characters per Line
Distribution Date and Time: Mon Jan 30 18:15:09 EST 2006

Written By:     Alec Boyer
Copyright:      2006
Contact Email:  mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]

Article URL: 
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How To Find Tech Support For Your Computer Printers
Copyright © 2006 Alec Boyer
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Computers are becoming commonplace in homes and offices around 
the world. The problem is that most people know so very little 
about their computers, that when something goes wrong, they do 
not know how to begin the troubleshooting process.

The ugly truth is that we could opt to call the technical support 
phone number that came with the computer, but you never really 
know what you are going to get at the other end of the phone. You 
could literally spend several hours just waiting to get to a 
technician, and then once you have the human on the line, there 
is just as good of a chance that they will not have a clue, as 
there is that they will find your solution.

I know this because I used to work in a computer technical 
support call center. You would be amazed who can pass as a 
technician! For most new hires, the only pre-qualifying knowledge 
that is necessary is being able to navigate the current Windows 
Operating System.

Management feels that if you can navigate Windows, then you can 
navigate the database to dig up a solution. The problem with this 
kind of thinking is that the person at the call center is often 
lost to find a solution that is not yet in the database.

Of course, all front line technicians have a help desk to call, 
but in my own experience, help desk posts were assigned based on 
politics and not technical knowledge. We ended up with some real 
idiots at our help desk. Call those people once or twice, and you 
will eventually decide that you stand a stronger chance to 
succeed on your own, than you would be able to accomplish going 
upstream in the support systems.


<B>The Business of Printing Support</B>

Fortunately, computer printers do not break that often. But when 
they do, troubleshooting can be a painful process.

There are some basics that you can cover to streamline the 
troubleshooting process.

Be forewarned that if you ever crack the case of your printer, 
you should make darn sure to disconnect the power source before 
you do so. Printers that are connected to a power supply can 
actually charge you up with enough current to kill you. Don't 
take chances with your life.

Long before you get to the point of trying to crack the case to 
reach the internals, there are several troubleshooting steps you 
can take.

 * Always check your power supply to see that you have a good, 
   solid connection. I know that it seems the most logical step 
   to take, but you might be surprised how often a powerless 
   machine is discovered to be an unplugged machine.

 * If the printer has power going to it, then turn off the 
   machine and then turn it back on. Each printer has an internal 
   brain in it. Removing power temporarily from the machine will 
   force the computer chip inside of the printer to reset. Often 
   times, this will solve any issues.

 * Make sure that your printer cartridge is properly seated. 
   Make sure the cartridge is in the printer the way that the 
   manufacturer intended.

 * Use the printer's "self-test" feature. The manufacturer has 
   included this to help you to eliminate common printing 
   problems.


These four steps will help you to overcome the problems most 
commonly associated with printers.

For a complete breakdown of generic troubleshooting steps, the 
following URL points to the most comprehensive and easy-to-follow 
checklist I have seen: 
http://www.5starsupport.com/info/printer.htm


<B>Drivers Are the Software Applications That Power Printers</B>

A driver is the software package that enables your printer to 
communicate with your computer's operating system, and vise 
versa.

The manufacturer of your printer sent out a software disc with 
the printer. On this disk, you can find the default driver for 
that printer.

As computing evolves, printer manufacturers upgrade their drivers 
to either improve the printer's performance or to keep up with 
changing Operating Systems.

Of course, you could go to a website that has been established to 
give you a one-stop shop for finding hardware drivers online. A 
couple of the most common sites of this type are:

 * http://www.windrivers.com
 * http://www.driverguide.com

While these global sites are good, they don't always deliver the 
most up-to-date drivers that are available from the manufacturer.


Here is an assortment of the Support / Driver Download URL's for 
most of the major manufacturers:

Brother - http://www.brother.com/E-ftp/info/index.html

Canon - 
http://consumer.usa.canon.com/ir/controller?act=SiteMapAct&keycode=model&functionid=2&fcategoryid=205

Compaq - 
http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/Product.jsp?taskId=110&prodTypeId=18972&prodCatId=236252

Dell - 
http://forums.us.dell.com/supportforums?category.id=printers

Epson - 
http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/support/SupportIndex.jsp?expansion=1000000

Hewlett Packard - 
http://h20180.www2.hp.com/apps/Nav?h_pagetype=s-001&h_product=236252

IBM - 
http://www.printers.ibm.com/internet/wwsites.nsf/vwwebpublished/supportoverview_ww

Konica Minolta - 
http://printer.konicaminolta.com/support/index.html

Lexmark - 
http://support.lexmark.com/cgi-perl/selections.cgi?target=http://support.lexmark.com/cgi-perl/support.cgi

Okidata - 
http://my.okidata.com/home.nsf/solutions%26support?openframeset

Panasonic - 
http://www.panasonic.com/business/office/support/downl_drivers_printers.asp

Pitney Bowes - 
http://www.pb.com/cgi-bin/pb.dll/jsp/GlobalNavigation.do?moduleName=CustomerSupport

Samsung - http://samsungdp.com/eng/

Sharp - 
http://www.sharpusa.com/products/TypeWizard1/1,2230,18,00.html

Xerox / Tektronix - 
http://www.support.xerox.com/go/prodselect.asp?Xcntry=USA&metrics=HDR


<B>The Unseen Printing Industry</B>

Printers are cheap to replace as a general rule. If you have a 
printer whose transport motor failed, it might actually be 
cheaper to throw the printer in the trash and replace it with a 
new one. Sure, it might seem logical to buy a new motor and to 
replace the dead motor, but do compare pricing options first.

What most people fail to realize is that the printer companies 
are not making their money on manufacturing and selling printers. 
Sure, they do still make a profit when you buy your printer, but 
that is not the activity that keeps their stockholders happy.

When buying a printer, it really does make a lot of sense to 
compare the prices of replacement cartridges before you buy the 
printer. I bought a laser printer one time and was really excited 
about my new tool that is until I priced a replacement cartridge 
for it. $180 a pop for a remanufactured laser printer cartridge. 
Egad! That was more than I paid for the printer. I even bought a 
replacement printer for less money.

Sometimes, there is a challenge to find your printer toner 
cartridge at your local shopping center. With so many varieties 
of printers out there, most supply stores will not keep all of 
the various replacements on hand.

While it might make sense to go to the manufacturer website to 
buy replacement toner kits and cartridges, they generally charge 
a premium for those replacements. The manufacturer premiums can 
sometimes be as much as three times more expensive than what you 
can buy from a good third-party provider --- even when that 
third-party provider bought the replacement from a middleman. It 
is just like the airline industry. It is often cheaper to buy 
your plane tickets from a travel company than from the airline 
itself.

With the printer currently sitting on my desk, I save $14-$17 
on my color cartridge by buying my printer supplies from 
Toner-R Printing Supplies. By using this third-party provider, I 
save $14 against the manufacturer's website, and I can save $17 
against Wal-Mart's prices. On the black toner cartridge, I still 
save money buying from http://www.tonerr.com. I can save $5 
against buying the replacement from the manufacturer, and I can 
save $6 against buying from Wal-Mart. And, we have been trained 
to believe that Wal-Mart always has the best prices. Imagine 
that.

When it is time to buy a printer, never think that the 
manufacturer has your best interests at heart. They are in 
this business to make the most money they can, period.




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