10 Facts

Before you throw the computer out the window, here are 10 things you should know.

  • 1. Your computer is actually a series of elements: the screen, the CPU (main box), the keyboard, the mouse, and the software. Added elements you could have are a DSL / Cable Modem, the printer, or a scanner. A problem with any one of them might make the whole system inoperative.

  • 2. A computer can quit functioning, or do weird things, for many possible reasons. "Viruses" have become quite common, and frequently result in very long and expensive repairs. If you use the Internet at all -- ever -- it's very important to have virus protection software installed, and updated regularly.

  • 3. Computers can require over 30,000 different files just to reach that first screen that says, "I'm on now, and ready to do what you want". If only one of those files stops working (often without giving a hint of what's wrong), it can make you want to pull your hair out.

  • 4. If your system is more than a few years old, and not under warranty, it may be more costly to have it repaired than to get a new one.

  • 5. No matter what they claim, no technician has all the answers. Depending on training and experience, the good ones are familiar with more of the common problems and can handle them quickly, but there can be other "computer glitches" that even experts need time to diagnose and correct.

  • 6. Unless you really know what is going on inside that metal box, call a professional before you open it. If you have a simple software problem, a friend who works with computers may be able to help you. But you should realize that repairing one wrong "fix" could require many hours of a technician's time.

  • 7. Newer computers usually come with technical support available directly from the manufacturer, so look at your owners' manual to see what options you have. A simple phone call may be all that's necessary.

  • 8. Before you call, write down the problems you're having. If you run into "Wait Time" on the phone that stretches into next month, talk to an industry-certified local technician who may be able to solve the problem quickly and inexpensively.

  • 9. Your computer is an important investment. If it needs fixing, make sure a professional does that repair.

  • 10. All repairs should come with a warranty. You should never have to pay to fix the same problem a second time.