So you need help. Well join the club! Come to think of it I guess you already did. Everyone here at Experts-Exchange is, has, does, or wants to help you. We live off of our solutions. Literally! Most of us make our living providing solutions to someone for need of a paycheck in one form or another. We come to EE to relax, share, get rewarded, and to take in knowledge from others. Mostly we are here to help. SO RELAX!
The hardest part about helping those who need it is often understanding what it is that they are experiencing. Common needs range from "none of my programs work" to "I can't start my computer." Both complaints may be true but they are too general to help me help you. Let me help you help me so that I can Help You!
First: Relax. There is probably not a problem that you are having with your computer that someone here has not seen and/or fixed before. So relax and know that there is a good chance we can get you going.
Second: Be as descriptive as you can without being just verbose. Little things on your screen that mean nothing to you may be exactly what I need to know. Think about your question and put it to the Experts in the best words you can. In case of nervousness, remember number 1 above. Relax.
Do not take shortcuts in your description. Years ago, when I was a newbie I used to think questions about What OS (Operating System, Version, Distribution, Kernel) were a waste and wanted to get past them. Don't. We need to know what Windows Version, Linux, or MAC OS you are using. We do need to know if you recently had a virus, installed anything, dropped it or poured water on it. And IMPORTANTLY: We need that message on the screen -- no matter how long and boring it is for you to write down and type in for us. Sorry. The devil IS in the details.
Third: While often we can tell by the question what level a user is but sometimes it helps to know you are a beginner. I can tell you to type "cmd /k ipconfig /all" from a run line or I can say "Click Start, Click run, type in ...." Okay so you get it. And Relax! Remember we were all where you are at some time. We get it and we want to help and we would LOVE it if we could do it with one suggestion but we are prepared to continue with you for the long haul. So tell us that you are new, have been around a while, know something or are completely lost. We will find you.
Fourth: Check your replies in as timely a fashion as possible and answer back even if it is to say "I can't try this solution 'til Wednesday." Relax, but remember that we are committed to you and need to feel that we have made that connection that tells us you are part of the solution.
Last: If we give you a link, we believe it has significant information regarding your problem. Click the link and read the page. Look at it as soon as possible and let us know if it helps. If it is not the solution, that can be nearly as helpful as finding out that it is (although nowhere near as rewarding).
The Experts here are truly some of the most talented people in the industry. Moreover they are a very caring and patient team. They want you helped; not because you paid a fee or have helped others but because they care. There is more satisfaction is solving a problem and putting a user back in business than most things in out day. Help us have a good day and you have a great day.