Ever wonder how to get help for your home computer, especially after the warranty has run out? Unless you are a technology professional, experienced with hardware, software, and the Windows operating system, you will, at some point, need some help with your desktop, laptop, or any other type of PC you may use. Computer problems you may need help with are: software troubleshooting, computer repair, and malware removal. Some of this help can be found from a friend or someone else who knows how to perform the task you require, many times for free. While other problems like computer repair and malware removal will probably require you to spend some money with a reputable professional.
Software Troubleshooting–Depending on your comfort level with the computer, you probably know how to install software from a CD. But sometimes the installed software stops performing properly and will require some advanced configuration (settings), the drivers on a computer may not be compatible with the software…and a host of other possibilities.
Computer Repair—Most home computer users are not comfortable with opening the computer or laptops’ case to add memory, or a video card…let alone changing out a motherboard or CPU. For computer upgrades or repairs I suggest you obtain the services of a professional computer repair technician.
Malware Removal—After you get over the panic of finding out your computer has been infected, you should run a full scan with your anti-virus software (you DO have anti-virus software…right?). If that didn’t remove the malware, or more likely the symptoms, I’d contact a professional computer support technician to remove it and recover the damage to your computer.
How do you find help to fix your problem? Well…it depends on the severity and category of the problem. For minor software troubleshooting such as a configuration adjustment or even a call to the product’s technical support for you, you could use someone who is very comfortable with computers and has successful experience with this problem. You can find such a person among your family members, friends, or even a technical support person at work who’s willing to do some outside work. However, for more advanced software problems…those that cause your family or friend to break out in a cold sweat or suddenly have something else to do–you will probably need a computer technician to fix the problem.
For computer repair I recommend you always opt for a professional…period. It will cost you some money, but your problem will be fixed properly without any damage to your PC. I suggest you only use a technician who’s certified in computer repair. Look for the CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association) A+ certification when you contract for the service. Ask how long your technician has been repairing computers and insist they have at least two or more years experience.
Malware Removal can be done by most professional computer repair technicians nowadays so I’d recommend following the same criteria as for the computer repair service. However, I’d make sure the technician doing your service has experience in removal of malware and recovering your computer.
Some other tips are:
1. get an estimate of repair cost–and unless you don’t care how much money you have to spend, don’t allow the technician to work without an estimated price…unless you trust that he or she won’t charge you more than necessary—most won’t, but the opportunity is there, especially for a tough problem.
2. make an effort to find out if it’s a reasonable price;
3. if the repair estimate is close to or more than it would cost to buy a new computer, consider buying a new one.
Remember, don’t panic, get someone to help who has experience solving your problem, and be careful about what you’re being charged.
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Home computing is a blast…keep it safe, productive and enjoyable.