5 Software Products a Desktop Support Specialist Needs to Know

“Tech support” is really just a junk drawer term for any area of information technology that crosses paths with customer service. Nowhere is this truer than in the area of desktop support.

It’s perhaps one of the most basic fields of IT, but it’s a typical role that many technology professionals find themselves filling in their company, even if their actual job description is more (or less) advanced than that.
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As a desktop support specialist, you’re basically the person who fields calls from end users who are running into all manner of technical trouble and difficulty. It’s a tough place to be in, because it doesn’t really matter if you know the software or hardware specifically. You’re just the “tech person” so anything tech related automatically gets differed to you.

So if you’re in this position, what should you know?

We should look at some of the most important knowledge bases that a jack-of-all-trades desktop support specialist should be familiar with, right from the start.

1. Windows Server 2011 – A lot of businesses still use Windows Server 2003, but 2011 is the most recent release. Whatever flavor your business uses is what you’ll want to be familiar with. Even if your business doesn’t use a server, it’s probably only a matter of time until they do, and the Windows Server or Small Business Server operating systems are the two most likely solutions.

You’ll need to know how to manage these operating systems in terms of using Active Directory, setting up file shares and adding/managing user accounts. Familiarity with Internet Information Systems, remote desktop and remote web access would all be helpful as well.

You can get as in depth as you want, but knowing the basics is a good place to start.

2. Symantec Endpoint Protection and Backup Exec – After Windows Servers, Symantec anti-virus and backup solutions are probably the most typically utilized software in just about every area of business.

While backup exec is far more complex and involved than Endpoint Protection, it’s easy to get familiar with the basic usage and maintenance of both pieces of software.

If you’re wondering what kind of software you need to be familiar with in today’s world of IT, these are two great places to start.

3. Microsoft Office 2010 – If there’s one thing that end users seem to have more trouble with than just about anything else, it would have to be Microsoft Word and Microsoft Outlook. I’m not so sure that this isn’t simply due to the fact that they are more heavily used than any other program in an office environment. By that token alone, they’re bound to cause problems.

For an already experienced IT professional, there probably isn’t much ground to make up here. Just know the basics and all of the most typical troubleshooting approaches involved with the Microsoft Office Suite.

4. Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 – Microsoft’s latest version of Exchange is pretty self-sufficient and doesn’t require a great deal of work after the initial configuration. However it’s the only real in-house mail server solution, so you’ll want to at least have a passing familiarity with the interface.

5. Windows XP and Windows 7 – We might have saved the best for last, as Windows’ two most popular operating systems are going to be a huge part of any IT professional’s workload.

Like many of these programs, someone who is computer-savvy will already have a firm hold on the basic approaches involved with maintenance, troubleshooting and everyday usage. To apply that knowledge to customer support, you really just need to be able to stay familiar with the Windows GUI, processes and the basic problems areas that Windows users typically encounter.

Make sure to stay cozy with TechNet and the Microsoft Support Site in case you run into problems that you can’t fix without a little extra help.

It’s OK to Not Know it All

Good companies don’t expect their IT people to know everything off the top of their heads. If you’re working for a company that thinks that way, now would be a good time to look for a job somewhere else.

In the real world, the IT environment is one of constant learning and research, and as long as you’re a willing participant in that, you’re doing your job well.

Know these products as much as you can ahead of time, then count on your experience to do most of the work for you.

A little info about author :

Jared Jones is a professional blogger that provides technical support advice and information. He writes for Techvedic, a provider of Microsoft 8 Windows Support and computer technical support services.