Each manufacturer had its own help desk service, each stocked with people familiar with its products and issues surrounding them.
A helpful-sounding someone would answer the phone, listen to your problem, and then offer a solution. If the first fix did not work, the person would keep trying until your issue was resolved, or at least as close to a resolution as you could come without ripping all the wires out and hurling your computer and related gadgets out the window.
Even if the help desk helper was unable to fix your problem, the call was usually worth your while. At least you knew you had been supported by someone who knew what you were talking about and what was going on.
All that has changed.