A reader has a question after checking out our  Tips For Contacting Microsoft Customer Support tip: “This article was helpful, but doesn’t this cost?”

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Microsoft operating systems are supported for free for 5 years after they are released. So, if you have a question about Windows 10 or Windows 8.1, there should be no charge. Also if you’re subscribing to Office 365 or using OneDrive or Outlook.com, there should be no attempt to charge you for assistance.

Sometimes when the techs can’t figure it out, they will try to sell you a support package. I’d advise you not to fall for that one. In every case where they’ve tried that trick on me, a virus protection package with their support would not have helped the issue.

Even if they offer you paid support, you certainly don’t have to take it. This is usually the point where I ask them to kick the problem up to an engineer and schedule a callback.

~ Cynthia