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The Computer Buzz June 4th, 2009

Nome and Paul Van Middlesworth - owners - The Computer Fact


When You Bring Your PC In

We plug it in and boot it up. While it boots up we fill out a work order with your name and telephone number and ask you what the problem is. We also make a record of your PCs configuration and check to make sure you have enough hard drive space to breathe and enough RAM to negotiate in today's software environment. We also check things out to make sure that your PC is really worth repairing.

About 20% of the time the PC boots up perfectly right in front of the flabbergasted customer. Perhaps something in the home or work environment was the problem. Something wasn't plugged in properly or the cat was sleeping on the keyboard. It can be any one of dozens of scenarios.

When the PC won't turn on or boot to any screen, the problem is generally hardware. We put a work order number on it and stage it for the techs to troubleshoot. Hardware problems are generally easier to fix than software problems. We stock parts to replace nearly all components in all makes or models of desktop PCs.

While we can solve software problems on notebook PCs and we can replace hardware items like memory and hard drives, notebooks have some components that are extremely proprietary, among them motherboards, keyboards, power circuitry and screens. For these replacements we send our customers to either the manufacturer or a laptop specialist.

More than half the problems that cause folks to bring their PCs to us involve software related issues. Corrupt Windows and/or mal-ware (virus and spy-ware) infections are the most common. PCs with software problems are sent to one of our eight "scan benches."

At the scan bench the PC's hard drive is removed and "slaved" to the scanning workstation. Here we run a series of scans using commercial versions of anti-virus and anti-spyware programs. These semi-automated scans usually take 4 to 8 hours to clean an infected hard drive. Sometimes it becomes necessary to manually intervene in order to untangle a mal-ware program that has become deeply embedded.

Once the malware has been removed, the hard drive is put back in the PC and more scans are run. The PC is then function tested. If we find that there are still problems we will run Windows repair. If we find that windows cannot be repaired we will reload the Windows operating system.

We can install the Windows operating system while preserving the customer's files (documents, pictures and music) but the programs in which the files were written must be reinstalled. We try to maintain a repair turnaround time of one or two days. Over 90% of our labor charges are between $30 and $105.

We encourage anyone who needs his or her PC repaired to check with Best Buy's "Geek Squad" before coming to us. We enjoy hearing your stories about what they think is wrong with your PC and what they want to charge you to fix it. It really makes our day.





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