How to describe a technical problem

You are facing a technical problem and want to resolve it. That’s why you went on /r/techsupport in the first place. Maybe you stumbled upon this site because you researched a bit first. Or you are here because someone on the subreddit has redirected you here. That would mean your post lacks significant information a tech needs to know. Follow the four steps shown here for a successful /r/techsupport post:

1. Think about your problem

You know best what your problem is. But you may need to think about it a bit more. These questions will help you:

  • Where does the problem occur?
  • When does the problem occur?
  • For how long has it been that way?
  • What has changed?
  • What is the problem?

Maybe these questions will even help you solve it yourself.

2. Gather information

Write the information from Step 1. down. Then go about gather general information about your system or device. These are extremely important for a tech to know. Some may not apply to your problem but adding them to your post won’t hurt:

  • Operating System (Windows 10, Android, MacOS)
  • Device (Smartphone, Computer, Laptop, … AND what Model is it?)
  • Application (if the problem refers to an application – also state which version you have)
  • Specs (System specs like RAM, CPU, GPU, …)

You can also refer to our System Dossier KB:

In this step, also write down what you have tried. There’s no “I’ve tried everything” (and please do not post that phrase we’re sick and tired of it). If you’ve tried “everything” the problem would be gone by now. Instead, post links to sites you’ve followed advice from. Also summarize what else you did.

3. Choose a title

Your title should be descriptive. Here are some examples of really bad titles: “I have a problem”, “help”, “I’ve been trying for hours and my dog just barfed on the floor and this problem here oh I’m running out of characte”

Examples of good titles are: “Windows 10 shows ‘unable to boot from harddrive'”, “Android has red icon on top left corner”, “Outlook doesn’t sync anymore”.

The title should be a tiny summary of your post. Just enough that a tech will know what it is roughly about.

4. Final Step

Read through our Guidelines: That’s the most important part!

Then if you understood them, go ahead and start writing your post. It should include your problem (with all the information from step 1), Your specs from Step 2 and what you have done so far.

Understand that the techs are here because they like to. And if you piss them off, they’re gone. None of the techs gets paid by anone and they have no obligation to you. Please be nice to them and always answer all questions. These steps will make it easier for a tech to help you (and they are more willing to). Describe your problem precisely and you’ll get a good answer.

And if your post doesn’t get the attention you’d like it to have, do not repost imediately. Wait a day or so for that.

If your problem is really important and time sensitive, call up your local computer repair shop.

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