IT Help Desk Jobs: Online Resources for Windows Operating Systems - dummies

IT Help Desk Jobs: Online Resources for Windows Operating Systems

By Tyler Regas

To work an IT help desk job, you will definitely need to be familiar with Windows operating systems. Microsoft’s Windows is the most commonly used operating system in the entire world and is used in both consumer and business settings by millions and millions of people.

  • The first place to look when requiring help with Windows in a business environment is Microsoft’s own TechNet, a massive repository of IT information for all of its enterprise software and services. All the information is available free of charge, but there are no longer any TechNet subscriptions. Instead, Microsoft is moving all subscribers to Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscriptions.

    TechNet still offers a range of free evaluation software, and the awesome TechNet Virtual Labs, which are free testing environments that save you from having to go through lengthy installation processes.

  • When troubleshooting issues with Windows desktop and server systems, one of the most common tools help desk people use is Event Viewer. The problem is that it generates Event ID codes that don’t mean anything to humans. is a user-curated collection of information about specific event IDs and what people have done to solve the issues related to them.

    You may find it annoying that you cannot access all the helpful information without paying for an annual subscription, but it is well worth every penny of the $29. That’s a mere $2.42 a month for something that will save you time and time again. Corporate accounts that allow for multiple users in a single location cost a very reasonable $49 a year. Just do it. You won’t regret it.

  • is a member of the StackExchange site network and is specifically designed to provide a user-curated Q&A system for power users and advanced users. The most common use of is to solve problems. People post new questions that describe their problem, and other users answer it.

    Even more, users then vote on the answers, pushing the most popular, and likely the most accurate, answers to the top. The site is organized using tags, so make sure to include enough information in your search string to find answers to the questions you need answered. Of course, you’re free to ask questions that are not already accounted for. is entirely free.

  • is another member of StackExchange, but it’s focused on providing answers to questions about server systems and systems administration. It, too, is entirely free, as are all sites in the StackExchange network.

  • is an interesting blend of community support forums and professionally penned editorial, how-to, and informational content aimed directly at the IT community. Since the site has been around for more than 15 years, you can find a massive amount of helpful information on almost all subjects related to Windows IT environments.

    It also offers a lot more information about related technologies, such as virtualization, networking, security, and cloud services, that are commonly used in conjunction with Microsoft server environments. There is no cost to use the site.

  • Experts Exchange is a commercial community assistance website that has a wide range of information and helpful articles about most systems in common use. It used to be a for-pay only site, but in recent years, Experts Exchange has adjusted its subscriber model to offer free accounts. Free access allows you to access its library of articles and select access to how-to’s and video training.

    For access to all features and to eliminate advertising, you can upgrade to a Premium member account for $20 a month or $150 a year. A free 30-day trial is also available.