The Five Most Costly Misconceptions About Computer Maintenance and Repair
#1: If your computer is working fine right now, it does not need any maintenance.
This is probably one of the biggest and most deadly misconceptions that most computer users fall victim to. Computers are just like cars. If you don’t change the oil, change the filter, rotate the tires, flush the transmission, and perform other regular maintenance on your car, it will eventually break down and cost you FAR MORE to repair than the cost of the basic maintenance.
There are certain maintenance checks that need to be done daily (like virus updates and spam filtering), weekly (like system backups), and monthly or quarterly (like checking for and installing security patches and updates, disk defrag, spyware detection and removal, checking the surge suppressor and the integrity of the hard drive, and so on). Your computer repair technician should be adamant that you have regular maintenance done on your machine and should offer to set up automatic virus definition updates, spam filtering (to avoid viruses), and automatic system backups OFF-SITE.
If your technician does not press you to let him do this for you, then RUN – don’t walk – out of their office. Lack of system maintenance is the NUMBER ONE reason most people end up losing valuable files and incurring heavy computer repair bills. If your technician isn’t offering you these services, you need to find someone else to support your computer or network for two reasons:
- Either they don’t know enough to make this recommendation, which is a sure sign they are horribly inexperienced, OR
- They recognize that they are profiting from your computer problems and don’t want to recommend steps towards preventing you from needing their help on an ongoing basis.
Either reason is a good one to get as far away from that person as possible!
#2: The maintenance tools provided in the Microsoft Operating System and software are all the maintenance you need.
Again, this is a terrible misconception. Microsoft does NOT include ALL of the security features to protect your data from viruses, hackers, and data loss or prevent your PC from running slowly.
Additionally, Microsoft (and other software vendors for that matter) are constantly providing critical patches and updates to their software to protect you from viruses and hackers. However, if you don’t know to look for them, or if you don’t know how to install them properly, you could easily end up getting burned.
#3: My nephew/neighbor’s kid/brother-in-law knows this computer stuff and can help me solve my problems.
If only this were true. Obviously, not all technicians are created equal. Just because a person is good with computer applications (what we call a power user) does NOT mean they know how to install a critical security patch, detect and extract a deadly virus, or upgrade your machine.
Most people look for a part-time “guru” to help them save money, but this often comes back to haunt them. Every day we get new customers who walk into our shop needing us to clean up a mess that was caused by an inexperienced neighbor, friend, or relative who was just trying to help. If the person you have working on your machine does not do computer repair and support for a living, there is a good chance they won’t have the knowledge or experience to truly help you. Technology advances at lightning speed and it takes constant learning and practice to master it. If your part-time technician is not working on PCs and networks every day, they probably only know enough to be dangerous.
#4: You can always get a better deal on computer software, equipment, or services by shopping online.
The keyword here is “deal”. Sure you can always find a cheaper price if you shop online, but you might actually end up getting the short end of the stick. As with anything in life, you get what you pay for. Companies simply cannot give you dirt-cheap prices AND champagne service.
If you are getting a cheap bargain, chances are you will get very little if NO service after the sale. If something goes wrong, or if you just have a question, you might find out that the customer service line only goes to a voice mailbox that never gets checked, or that you have to submit questions via e-mail that takes DAYS to return.
Before you buy ANY computer equipment, make sure you know the answers to these questions:
- How long have they been in business? The last thing you want to do is buy a lemon of a computer from a fly-by-night organization. Thanks to the Internet, ANYONE can set up a website and start selling computer equipment, parts, and software. That is why you want to look for a company that has been in business for [NUMBER] years or more.
- What is their guarantee or warranty on the equipment or services you are buying? As a standard rule, they should offer one-year replacement warranty on all parts at a minimum.
- How do they handle returns and exchanges? Do you have to ship the defective item back to them on your dime or do they arrange to have it picked up? Do they send the replacement first? What is the guaranteed turnaround time for an item? This is why many people prefer to buy all equipment from a local vendor. If something goes wrong, you can drive to the store, speak to a real person, and get an instant replacement in most cases.
- What type of help desk support do you offer? If you are like me, you want to speak directly to a knowledgeable technician when you need help. However, many companies only offer e-mail and web-based support, and charge a hefty fee for anything outside of that. Which brings me to the next question…
- Is your support free or charged by the minute? Make sure you are very clear on what support is free and what is fee-based.
- Where is their help desk and customer service office located? Many of the big vendors are shipping their help desk support overseas to save money. While this works out great for them, it can be incredibly frustrating when you are trying to communicate with their customer support representatives.
- Do YOU really know how to install, configure, and troubleshoot this new device? If not, you may want to consider hiring a qualified technician to install it. Quite often, drivers and software can conflict and cause problems and unless YOU have installed this device before, it might be worth the small fee to get someone else to do it for you.
#5: All computer repair shops are created equal. Your best option will be the one who offers the lowest price.
As we stated a moment ago, you get what you pay for. A cheap price usually means a cheap job. Really good technicians do NOT work cheap because they are in high demand. The only technicians that will work cheap are those that are just starting and they are grossly inexperienced. With your valuable data, precious family photos, favorite music files, and other irreplaceable documents at stake do you REALLY want the cheapest technician working on your machine?
We take the view that most people want value for money and simply want the job done right. You will find that we are not the cheapest and we do not apologize for that. You will also find that we are not the most expensive. We simply feel that we should offer a good service at a fair price. That’s why we have been able to stay in business for over 10 solid years.
If you need computer advice or repair we are here to help.
Until Next Time,
This post was written by Megabite