4. If all that fails to solve the problem, check with your PC vendor and see about upgrading your warranty. Often, a better warranty can involve a trouble-shooting house-call, and guarantees of resolution, even if the company has to replace the entire system.
5. And if that doesn't work, you might want to think about replacing the PC. How about an Apple iPad? First, it's cheaper than most full-fledged laptops. Second, it has a solid-state drive, which eliminates some hard-disk-related issues. Third, it's very buttoned down and user-proofed. Unlike a Windows PC, it doesn't continuously become fouled up by use. And fourth, it can be easily carried to an Apple Store, where a real-person at the Genius Bar can give both help and feedback.
If you need full-fledged PC, make sure you get a laptop with a solid-state drive and the maximum warranty and support package. Since youre frustrated by tech support issues, you need to emphasize reliability and support for the next purchase.
If you've got only one PC in the house, think about getting a laptop with mobile broadband. It's more expensive, but there are advantages. First, you can go anywhere and you'll always have a connection. From a tech support perspective, everything relating to the connection is inside the device. That means it's supported either by the cell phone company or by the same people who support your device.
And finally, have you thought about buying an iPad? They have a version with mobile broadband, which means you don't need a wireless router at all. If it doesnt connect, for some reason, you can take it to either the AT&T or Apple stores.
So there you have it: My holiday family tech support survival guide. Good luck, and happy holidays!