How do I get help with a hardware or software problem?

Getting and giving help with hardware or software problems is one of the purposes of our forums. When you have a technical problem the following tips can help you get advice or find a solution:

  1. Search. Your question may have already been answered. Search the forums, perhaps limiting your search to specific forums or to words in thread titles.
  2. Post. If you don't find what you need by searching, post your question in the most appropriate or most specific forum. (Posting in multiple forums is not permitted.) If you can't decide which forum is best, post in the Mac Basics and Help forum or, for a topic specific to an iPhone or iPad, post in the iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting or iPad Tips, Help and Troubleshooting forum.
  3. Thread title. Use a thread title that indicates the subject of the thread, not a generic title such as "Need help", so that people who might know the answer will read your thread.
  4. Details. Give specific details about your problem and the software, computer, or device you are using. What version? What configuration? Did it used to work? What changed? How did you try to fix it? The more relevant information you can provide, the more likely it is that someone can help you.
  5. Patience. Answers don't always appear quickly. Sometimes nobody knows the answer so you'll get no replies. You may need to answer questions from users who are trying to help you. "Bumping" a thread by posting again just to attract attention is not permitted but you can post again if you have new information to provide.
  6. Common sense. Answers come from other forum members, usually strangers to you. It's free assistance but may not always be on-target. Even well-meaning users may misunderstand or misdiagnose what's wrong. Work with the people who are trying to help you and you may find a solution.
  7. Return the favor. If you get help from the forum community, pay it back by helping someone else when you know an answer.
  8. FAQ and Rules. Read the help pages. Look around the forums and read some threads. You'll soon learn how things work and how to maximize the usefulness of the forums.
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