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The Computer Buzz July 28, 2006

Nome and Paul Van Middlesworth - owners - The Computer Fact


When Your PC Acts Up

Today we focus on what to do when your PC has a problem. We began by making a list of the most common PC problems, their symptoms and corrective action alternatives. It quickly became obvious that there were just too many variables so we decided that it would be more constructive to critique the different options users have in dealing with PC problems.

First there is the option of using the office or neighborhood "computer genius." The "genius" builds his own PCs and will build you one if you'll let him. He loves investigating problems but solutions bore him. He volunteers to "Beta" test all Microsoft's new software and salivates when he sees the "blue screen of death." He spent his entire vacation fine-tuning his video card. He will always volunteer to help you with your PC problem. When he does, run like a deer.

If you have a name brand PC (Dell, Compaq, Gateway etc) and you still have free telephone tech services you might as well give them a call (it is never worth calling if you have to pay). After waiting for an hour you'll get to converse with an East Indian Fakir named Ted. He'll eventually refer you to his boss Tom who will escalate your problem to"Bubba" who will tell you that your PC is fine but you must erase your hard drive and start over. If you leave your number "Bubba" will call you back on his lunch break (1:00 AM your time) to see how you're doing.

Then there are the "in home" computer service specialists that seem to be popping up all over the place. Home service comes with a steep price tag. Outfits like Best Buy's "Geek Squad" will charge several times what you would pay to have the work done at your neighborhood PC repair shop. In-shop labor charges are far less than on site because, in the shop, the technician can work on several systems at once. Much PC repair work involves scanning, troubleshooting and repair programs that don't require constant attention. The on-site "Geek" must charge enough to cover travel time and gas in addition to about $2 a minute even while he idly watches the automated programs do all the work. The only PC work that really must be done on site is broadband network set-up.

If you have an issue with a peripheral (printer, scanner, monitor, camera or special video and audio card etc), your ISP or some newly installed software you should first call the responsible party's 24/7 customer service number or access the FAQ section on his web site.

Your final and best resource is the neighborhood PC store that specializes in building, repairing and upgrading PCs They won't repair your PC over the phone but they will ask the right questions and give you an opinion and a repair estimate. Many local PC shops will diagnose your problem in house and estimate repair costs as a free service.





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