Top Tech Tips for the Non-Techie

This month, we’re focused on providing direction for less-techie folks on what actions they can employ to potentially save time and money, before calling in their local IT professionals. We also offer a list of scenarios where you absolutely should bring in an IT expert before you cost yourself more time and money than necessary. Here’s a rundown. Save a shortcut to this post for future reference!

To try on your own, before requesting assistance from your IT Pro.

Turn it off and back on. Seriously, more often than you can imagine, this is all the reset your device needs. Whether trouble-shooting an issue with your computer, printer or internet, restarting or rebooting is frequently the answer. And almost always the first thing a tech pro is going to ask you to do anyway. See a great video about the differences here, created by our Operations Manager Jess.

Internet Troubleshooting. While rebooting the PC, modem or router may indeed do the trick, we have a couple other pieces of information you should gather before calling in the pros. First, ascertain whether it is only one machine which is not connected to the internet, or the whole office. If it’s the whole office, reach out first to your ISP (internet service provider) to confirm whether they are experiencing an outage in your area. This call, and remote troubleshooting by your ISP, is free, so always recommended before bringing in your favorite IT provider.

Hacked Email. Advice in this area has shifted a bit over the years, as the bad guys have gotten more polished and more insidious. If your email is hacked, it is important to change your password. Ascertaining whether your email has been hacked may require bringing in a professional, but it’s helpful for you to understand when it’s a potential hack, and when it’s social engineering or spearphishing. You may be sent an email which is trying to get you to click a link, make a call or take an action which will benefit the culprit and harm you or your company. In this case, there is nothing wrong with your computer. You can ignore and delete the email with no repercussions. If you do engage with a link or attachments, and then realize it was fraudulent, shut the PC down and call your IT support immediately, before the attack travels into your network.

Cleanup/Tune-Up. While taking your PC to your IT provider for an annual tune-up/clean-up is advised, there are several such tasks you can do on your own.

  • Physical cleaning with a can of air, inside and out, as well as keyboard.
  • Delete Cookies and Internet Cache
  • Let updates occur! Without them, your PC is at risk. (Don’t interrupt once they start!)
  • Be aware of the age of your equipment, its lifespan and prepare for replacement.


Malware. This belongs on both lists. While you should definitely bring in IT pros to deal with an infection, file corruption or an incidence of account takeover, there are so many things you can do to avoid having these things happen. Be mindful of not opening unexpected links or documents in emails, use multi-factor authentication (MFA) for accounts, and don’t fall into traps while browsing the web. For example, when a window pops up asking you to call Microsoft, an audible alert sounds loudly with a warning, or you receive an unsolicited call or chat from someone purporting to be a trusted source. When in doubt, hit Ctrl/Alt/Delete to bring up the task manager, and shut down the computer. If you find you cannot turn off your machine any other way, hold in the power button until it shuts down, (yes, even if the box and audible alert are telling you not to) and call your local IT provider for advice or service. In many instances, your PC is not actually compromised, but it bears having it looked at to be sure there are no ill effects. When in doubt, call a local company you know as opposed to trusting predatory posers.

When to bring in an IT Professional

Networks and Servers. When there is a full-network issue, you can do much more harm than good in troubleshooting on your own. This is especially true if the problem is related to the server. Unless you have experience or training, leave work within your server to the IT pros.

Issues which may seem easy, but would be a waste of time to troubleshoot on your own.

  • If your email program is not functioning properly, and is not fixed by closing and reopening the program.
  • If you lose access to a software program or files.
  • When PC settings won’t stick.
  • When your computer is not booting (either with lights and sound or without lights and sound)


Back-ups. You can absolutely do backups locally on your own, but should you? The benefits of managed backups include curated setup, to be sure you are always backing up what is most important to you, cloud backup options, and monitoring to be sure your backups are happening regularly and consistently. This is especially important for businesses.

Why Managed Services and a relationship with a local IT company? Speaking of managed backups, it’s well worth your time to speak with a local IT service provider about Managed Services for your business. In addition to managed backups, email and AV, your MSP can provide full network monitoring, assistance with industry-specific regulations, endpoint detection and response (EDR), and much more. Also, a relationship with a local company means help desk and onsite engineers who know your unique business and network.

Want more information on how BTS can support your business? Have a conversation with one of our account managers. Call 207-443-9554 or email

Team BTS

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