👍 #772 – Why Can’t I Talk to a Real Person?

Customer support is hard. Good customer support is rare. Unfortunately all customer support that involves talking to real people is expensive. That's probably the single biggest reason you can't reach a real person, especially for that free service or software you use.

Also this week:

Yes, some services still use security questions. Make sure you choose good ones.

Your hard disk may die without warning, but sometimes it gives clues.

Changing an email address. It seems so simple. It's not.

In other news:

If you're in the Mt. Vernon, Washington and surrounding areas, watch for bicyclists next weekend. Once again I'll be volunteering to support the annual Bike MS: Deception Pass Classic. I'll be in my SUV "stalking" the riders on over 100 miles of course to aid any that run into trouble along the way. If you see "N7LEO" on the road, be sure to wave. Smile

Have a great week!


Featured Item

Why Can't I Talk to a Real Person?

It's a common frustration. You have a problem, concern, or complaint, and you want to reach out to the company or service involved. Try as you might, you can't find a phone number. If you do, you find an endless phone tree of automated assistance options — or worse, a scam.

As far as you can tell, there's no way to locate a real person.

There probably isn't, and the reason is simple.

People are expensive. Incredibly expensive. Even when they're overseas, compared to automated or self-service alternatives, people are still costly and often unreliable.

Let's explore the alternatives.

Continue Reading: Why Can't I Talk to a Real Person?

No big ad

Buy me coffee...

Small suggestion: help Ask Leo! grow by forwarding this to a friend!

This Weeks Other Stories

How to Choose Good Security Questions

What does it mean when a job application requests a “Password Recovery Question” as well as “Password Recovery Answer”? (in addition to the other password)? What should I enter?

Password recovery questions, more commonly called security questions (or secret questions and answers), are used to verify you as the legitimate owner of an online account when you've forgotten your password or are otherwise trying to recover an online account.

Apparently, in filling out your online job application, you created such an account. More commonly, security questions are associated with email, banking, and social media accounts.

I'll look at how they work, when they're needed, how they fail, when you can make up your own, and what to do if you can't.

And perhaps most importantly, why you shouldn't use them at all, if you have a choice.

Continue Reading: How to Choose Good Security Questions

Is My Hard Disk About to Die?

Hello, I have a HP notebook and lately I have faced some problems with it:

  1. has been so sluggish
  2. can't move or read some files (error: can't read this file or disk ) despite file size
  3. disk usage is mostly %100
  4. boot menu check disk fails
  5. l can't reinstall Windows 10 (error: windows can't be installed in this drive it may fail soon )
  6. every time the notebook starts up this error appears on the screen: The smart hard disk check has detected an imminent failure…


  1. in disk management window all partitions are marked as healthy
  2. drive error check finds no error
  3. all drives can be defragmented successfully
  4. more than 50% of disk is free
  5. hard disk sound is normal

Based on what I said above, what can be the problem? a malware or hard disk is going to fail?

If you're not backed up … back up NOW!

It's almost certainly not malware; it's very likely your hard disk is close to failure. There's one thing I want you to try first, but then you should plan on replacing it.

I'll run through your list and tell you what's worth paying attention to, what's not, and why.

Continue Reading: Is My Hard Disk About to Die?

How Do I Change My Email Address?

This question and its variants are incredibly common.

Unfortunately, the answer is rarely simple. Changing an email address often means one thing to the person asking and something very different to the services that provide email.

Some services make the change easy(ish).

Others? Not so much.

Continue Reading: How Do I Change My Email Address?

Features for Ask Leo! Patrons

The Ask Leo! Tip of the Day

A feature exclusively available to Ask Leo! Patrons Bronze level & above.

More Ask Leo!

Tech Enthusiast Hour: I'm one of the regular hosts of the weekly Tech Enthusiast Hour podcast! Join us as we discuss the latest news & tech goings on. More information at tehpodcast.com!

Become a Patron
Ask Leo! Books
Facebook - YouTube - More..
Buy me coffee...

My Other Projects....

HeroicStories Since 1999, HeroicStories brings diverse, international voices to the world ' reminding us that people are good, that individuals and individual action matter. Stories - new and old - are published twice a week.

Not All News Is Bad - Each day I look for one story in the current news of the day with a positive bent. Just one. And I share it.

leo.notenboom.org - My personal blog. Part writing exercise, part ranting platform, it's where I write about anything and everything and nothing at all.

Help Ask Leo! Just forward this message, in its entirety (but without your unsubscribe link below) to your friends. Or, just point them at https://newsletter.askleo.com for their own FREE subscription!

Newsletter contents Copyright © 2019,
Leo A. Notenboom & Puget Sound Software, LLC.
Ask Leo! is a registered trademark ® of Puget Sound Software, LLC

Posted: September 3, 2019 in: 2019
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/8188
« Previous post:
Next post: »

New Here?

Let me suggest my collection of best and most important articles to get you started.

Of course I strongly recommend you search the site -- there's a ton of information just waiting for you.

Finally, if you just can't find what you're looking for, ask me!

Confident Computing

Confident Computing is the weekly newsletter from Ask Leo!. Each week I give you tools, tips, tricks, answers, and solutions to help you navigate today’s complex world of technology and do so in a way that protects your privacy, your time, and your money, and even help you better connect with the people around you.

The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet – FREE Edition

Subscribe for FREE today and claim your copy of The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet – FREE Edition. Culled from the articles published on Ask Leo! this FREE downloadable PDF will help you identify the most important steps you can take to keep your computer, and yourself, safe as you navigate today’s digital landscape.

My Privacy Pledge

Leo Who?

I'm Leo Notenboom and I've been playing with computers since I took a required programming class in 1976. I spent over 18 years as a software engineer at Microsoft, and after "retiring" in 2001 I started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place to help you find answers and become more confident using this amazing technology at our fingertips. More about Leo.