The Computer Diagnostic
Many people have experienced the moment when you walk into a service center (automotive, computer, phone, etc.), and the technician may or may not explain what will happen in the initial diagnostic. Will the estimate cost money? What exactly are you testing? What is a diagnostic???
This happens to me every time I take my car in for service. I have no idea what they are talking about, but I still shell out the money for the repair. Did I get a fair deal….I have no idea.
So, in this blog, I would like to try to prepare you for your next computer diagnostic. There are certain steps and varying repair times to each situation. It doesn’t always go the same way, but I will include some basic knowledge and questions you may want to ask before your next computer repair.
To begin: how much does it cost to perform diagnostics on my system?
The answer to this varies from company to company. Computer Depot Inc. diagnostics are completely free and there is no commitment. This is often not the case. If you do pay for diagnostics, you run the risk of finding that your computer is un-repairable, or more likely, that the fix will cost more than you can spend. Who wants to pay a company $50.00, so that they can tell you the computer can’t be repaired. I do this enough at the doctor’s office, thank you.
What will be tested in the diagnostic?
This is a difficult question to answer, as there are hundreds of steps that could go into a diagnostic, mostly depending on the particular problem that your system is having. Basic diagnostics include duplicating the problem, scanning the Hard Drive, and scanning for viruses if applicable. From there on, it all depends on what the initial problem is. Diagnostics (in Computer Depot’s case) take 6-8 hours. On a side note: working on a computer first hand is always better than over the phone or remote-in services. There are only so many things an online tech can check.
How long will the repair take?
Again, we arrive at a question that can vary. The main thing to keep in mind is whether it is a hardware repair (physical parts of your system), or a software repair. Software repairs typically have a 12-24 hour turn-around. If your system requires a hardware repair, the turn-around time can increase, and as a general rule, you may want to factor in 2-3 business days for shipping of parts.
What do I need to do before a repair?
BACK UP, BACK UP, BACK UP! Make sure that you have all of your data saved, so that when you get your system back, you haven’t lost everything. General rule of thumb is to keep your data stored in three different places like: an external hard drive, flash drive, and DVDs or CDs. PROGRAMS CANNOT BE BACKED UP, so make sure you hold on to those Office, Quicken, or Family Tree Maker CDs. If you do not know how to perform a back-up, google it. Google has answers to so many questions…you just have to know how to ask them.
Do I really need this repair?
Finally, feel free to ask your technician why he/she is performing a certain task. Why choose a Format and Reinstall over a Virus Removal. Why upgrade memory, and what the heck does memory do? Do a little research, and find out what a Hard-drive is, and what it does. These things can’t be learned overnight, but a little knowledge might at least put you on the same page as someone who does it for a living.
Ask your technician questions. Not only will this possibly save you money, but you can learn how to prevent future problems from occurring.
Caleb -Store Manager Sevierville