Call The Geek Squad? (yes or no)

Category: Hardware , Software

A reader asks: 'My computer is running really slow, and I think it might have a virus. There's also a ticking sound inside the computer. I'm not very technical, so I'm thinking about calling the Geek Squad. Do you think that's a good idea?' Here is my advice...

Computer Tech Support - Who Ya Gonna Call?

When your computer starts acting oddly or breaks down entirely, you have a choice. Common problems such as viruses & spyware, lost or damaged files, flaky hard drives or failing power supplies can sometimes be hard to diagnose. Should you try to fix it yourself, or call a computer tech support service like the Geek Squad? Depending on how adventurous and/or geeky you are, there are several things you can do.

If the computer is still under warranty, call the warranty provider. That may be the manufacturer, or a third-party computer tech support company. Be prepared for finger-pointing ("Sounds like a software problem, your warranty covers only our hardware") and long telephone hold times.

Try to fix it yourself using software manuals, household tools, and - if you can get online - diagnosis and repair guides that you find via Google or Youtube. Of course, the AskBobRankin website offers a wide range of advice about fixing many common computer problems, but not everyone is a do-it-yourself type.

computer tech support

You can call your computer-savvy friend or relative. They may or may not be available, or know what they're doing, or be very motivated to spend hours fixing your problem for free.

Call a local computer repair shop. But what kind of computer repair shop? There's the kind that says, "Bring your computer in and we'll take a look at it" just like a car repair shop. Nationwide computer repair shops, including computer vendors, tell you to "mail it in," which can get rather expensive and time-consuming. (You did save all the original packaging, right? Of course not.) There's also on-site service; a repair person comes to your home or business. Then there's the kind of computer repair shop that never looks at your problem in person; instead, they offer to "talk you through" your own repairs. These guys go by different names, too.

Computer help desk services are for when the problem is you. If your computer is fine but you can't figure out how to increase the font size in Microsoft Word, a computer help desk person will tell you over the phone. Such on-demand tutors are also called "computer support" or "computer technical support" services. Large employers have entire departments providing help desk and tech support to employees all day long. Independent computer support services take calls from anyone who can pay.

Computer Repair Services

Computer repair rates are comparable to car repair rates, although the cost of parts is generally lower for computers. Some computer repair shops charge a "diagnostic fee" of $50 - $100 just to figure out what's wrong and tell you how much more the fix will cost. Hourly labor charges for computer repair can run $30 and up.

The Geek Squad popularized computer repair services with million-dollar marketing campaigns and logo-emblazoned company vehicles. Today, The Geek Squad offers all the types of computer tech support services discussed above, and can assist you with printers, phones and tablets as well.

Basic services like a computer tune-up, initial setup, software installation, printer installation, wifi setup, email setup or password reset start at $39.99. Troubleshooting a virus problem starts at $149.99. Data recovery for lost files or damaged hard drives will run you $250 - $600, depending on the severity of the problem. If you have multiple computers, tablets and other gadgets in your home, you might consider a Total Tech Support membership ($199.99 yearly). Total Tech Support covers all of the above and more, for all of your tech devices.

Office supplier Staples also offers computer repair services. A full range of diagnostic and repair services is available in the store, or at your home/office location. The Total Defense PC Tune Up for $31 includes PC Performance Improvement, Maximize Internet Speed, Junk File Removal, and Memory Optimization. Computer Setup ($103) includes transfer of data from your old computer, installation of up to three peripherals or software titles, removal of preloaded bloat-ware and connecting to your wifi network. In-store Virus & Malware Removal costs $167, and Data Recovery starts at $122. If the assessment shows no hope of recovery, there is no charge.

Other national companies offer computer repair and computer technical support services, too. iYogi offers remote technical assistance including setup, computer optimization, diagnosis and repair, and virus removal. AT&T ConnecTech has a similar range of remote and in-home computer repair services.

All of these well-known services will have computer techs trained to handle the most common computer problems, and should do a good job of fixing your computer. If you're outside the USA, and don't know of a local computer repair store, is an international network of local computer repair techs who make house calls.

Have you used Geek Squad or a similar computer repair service? Tell me about your experience, or post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Call The Geek Squad? (yes or no)"

(See all 22 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

adegoke Ademiluyi
09 Mar 2020

I have been with Geek squad for over three years as a full tech support member. These people provide excellent service and pricing is very transparent. They cover all things technical including home appliances. Initial diagnosis is usually free and you pay for parts if they are eneeded but labor is alwys free for members.
They will even come to your house at a fixed upfront price. Of course , online diagnosis is also free.
The money I have espent on membership is worth every dime!!!

Posted by:

09 Mar 2020

My senior village has a large computer club and a tech group that freely works on all technical problems. The free part sure beats the transparent pricing of the Geek Squad or other pro shop. We estimate our local geeks save our large club over $25,000 a year in service and they also offer free tutorial sessions and other training classes. Try visiting a local computer group or starting you own.

Posted by:

09 Mar 2020

I have a need to take the info from a zip disk. Most places cannot do it and the quote from the one that can is $150. It's only 100MB of data!

Posted by:

Louise Smith
09 Mar 2020

I have mixed feelings about Geek Squad.
I am 74 years old and in a former life, worked in IT. But I no longer enjoy staying up with cutting edge technology.
I live in Sun City Texas which has a huge Computer Club and help desk. I have found that, "you get what you pay for." For simple virus removal they are quite adequate, but usually when I need a machine "cleaned" or "reloaded" it is past that point.
I had a wonderful local computer shop the last place I lived, but have been using Geek Squad since moving to Georgetown.
I have a Dell Precision Laptop that I bought refurbished at least 6 years ago and I use an Asus 32" monitor. Something in that setup goes haywire off and on and the sleep function starts malfunctioning. That is my usual problem that I have Geek Squad try to repair.
I have had only one bad experience - - the technician REMOVED many programs that I use - but infrequently. Things like FreeFileSync which I use to sync with my network drive, Privazer which I find is a good disk clean up . . .
But I learned my lesson and will specifiy when I use them again that they are NOT to remove installed programs without specific approval. And otherwise, I have been very pleased.

Posted by:

Sam Williams
09 Mar 2020

I had a bad experience with the Geek Squad. When I purchased a new laptop, I took my old one to the Geek Squad to have my files copied. They gave me a disk that contained someone else's files. They did then copy mine then but I did not get everything.

Posted by:

Fred Giles
09 Mar 2020

I first purchased a Geek Squad contract when my son moved out of state to college knowing I could not help him remotely. He needed it a couple times a year and they fixed the problem promptly.I have have continued the contract ($99 renewal for up to 3 computers) going on 9 years. It seems my wife, son, and mother all need some time of help on a yearly basis and the contract takes care of all problems. Worth it to me since all of them use it.

Posted by:

09 Mar 2020

Geek Squad got its reputation when it was a local group that could fix anything. They created the attitude and image, then they were bought out by Best Buy and taken national.
Only had one experience with them and it was bad. Computer was bought at Best Buy by a friend (now my wife) and had horrendous issues with the Virus checker that they installed. Massive issues while they mucked things up trying to get it working. Appeared to be just hires off the street going through pre-canned solutions trying to find something that worked.

Posted by:

Jim Martin
09 Mar 2020

Almost all of the 10 computers used at the church I pastor were purchased at Best Buy, and we ALWAYS pay extra for Geek Squad warranties. Yes, it costs more. BUT, we have had all repairs done at no charge. GS updated all the computers to Win 10, at no charge. We have always had outstanding service. Bottom line: when you don't have super-techie friends or church members, having access to super-techie help is worth it.

Posted by:

09 Mar 2020

Sometimes making sure everything is plugged in is good. Turning the computer off and then on has sometimes helped.

Posted by:

gene jacobson
09 Mar 2020

I have just one Windows machine, an HP Win 10 Pro desktop and an HP Officejet printer. Everything else, laptop, iPad, iPhone is Apple.

I've not had much need to do anything with the Windows machine but HP support is pretty good. Mixed success with the Geek Squad, they'll set up a new tv quickly but don't take much time to explain anything. I did buy my first MacBook from them and set up a support session, even then I knew more than the Geek Squad guy. So I don't use them at all.

The Apple devices occasionally give me hiccups, especially the MacBook Pro. But I have to say Apple support is bar none the best I've ever experienced. I wish all support services were as good as they are. I've an app, I click it, call them, they call back instantly, never waited longer than a couple minutes and if the first person can't handle it, they kick it to an advanced specialist who will screen share on multiple devices simultaneously, if need be, and stay with you until it is fixed. Not once has that not happened. Professional, courteous and knowledgeable. I don't "get" the Mac OS as I do Windows but those folks are just perfect. No need for anything else. Which is why I stay Apple but for the desktop machine and printer.

Posted by:

09 Mar 2020

Like Mike - I belong to a Computer Club.
I have belonged to the local computer club for the last 23 years - and the help I have received is incredible.
I also learned there how to take a computer back to just the tower case and build it again - and get it working.
And by the way I'm over 90 - the oldest member of the club.

Posted by:

Brian K. Morris
09 Mar 2020

I've never used The Geek Squad since the last time I bought a laptop at my local Best Buy.

Every time I bought a computer from Best Buy (as in the first one ran on Windows 3.0), I had to spend half a day removing their software that ensured I received their latest ads. I responded to an ad for a laptop and the box had a sticker, saying I should take it to the Geek Squad desk before paying.

The man told me I'd have to remove their ad software and it would ONLY cost me $75 to do so. He added if I tried it myself, I'd probably screw up the computer. I took it home, removed the software easily, and started shopping elsewhere when I needed a new computer.

Posted by:

09 Mar 2020

I work for an independent computer repair store. Our local Geek Squad is joke, they either ship jobs out for a fixed fee or they just say, it's UN-repairable, buy and new computer from us. This may be just the local one, but we even recommend our competitors over them.

We once received a laptop computer that was diagnosed by the local Geek Squad as a bad hard drive. It had been opened with a crow-bar - every screw in the bottom had either been ripped out or the plastic pulled out. And oh-by-the-way, the HD was fine, the problem was Windows was messed up by "potentially unwanted applications" (PUPs).

It's a whole lot more profitable to sell the customer a new computer. Geek Squad was a wonderful and great repair service before Best Buy bought them and turned them into a profit center.

Yes, we charge a diagnostic fee. Our time is not free and we need to pay the rent, heating & AC, electric, and employees; plus social security, health insurance and (no surprise) taxes. Learning how to fix things is a whole lot different than just learning how to work these little boxes of magic.

Ask around a don't be afraid to solicit help from your your local computer store. They are sure to know more than the millennials in the Best Buy.

Posted by:

09 Mar 2020

I have never bought something from Best Buy (owner of 'Geek Squad)that I haven't had to return at least twice. Doesn't make me really anxious to try Geek Squad.

Posted by:

Russell Baldwin
10 Mar 2020

I discovered a local gentlemen in our area that replaced a hard drive in a notebook for us. He works out of his home still, I believe, but seems to have reasonable rates and service fees. He has an online presence for his business of repair and building/selling new machines. I did a local search in our area and decided on him after all the positive reviews. (all 5 star) Thanks to "the PC Smith1". If I find myself in need of a new machine, I want him to build it for me :). Have not used Geek Squad, but after quizzing a person at a best buy in a different state we lived in, I ended up doing the repair myself and ordered what I needed from Newegg... (power supply) I was just not feeling confident at the time that they really new what they were doing, especially for what it would cost for them to diagnose and potentially repair an older tower. I also replaced a cpu and again used Newegg for my part supplier on a different machine... A 266mhz Cyrix. Whew what a speed demon...

Posted by:

10 Mar 2020

Or, y'all could do what we did at our home. About a dozen years ago (when our daughter started college) we went ALL Apple. Laptops, phones, everything is Apple. And, everything works. I was SysOp of a BBS for several years when I was younger so I was pretty literate with tech, but those skills have not been needed for a dozen years now. And the $$$$ saved from not having repairs done has been worth the extra cost of going Apple. I'm typing this on a 10 year old MacBook Pro.

Posted by:

10 Mar 2020

I am in the feeling that never missing to read AskBobRankin automagically keeps my computers in tip-top shape! YMMV

Posted by:

11 Mar 2020

Some years ago someone had taken a computer to a repair shop. When the technician at the shop went through the computer, he discovered child p*rn on the machine. Don't know if the owner is out of the greybar hotel yet. Just sayin'.

Posted by:

12 Mar 2020

FBI Has Been Paying Geek Squad To Spy On Customers For Over A Decade , read the headline after the EFF
(Electronic Frontier Foundation) obtained 200 pages of example spying with paid Best Buy employees .
--Who wants to have their privacy sold ?
--On a personal level seeking customer service on a laptop I bought at Best Buy, they didn't find a record of my purchase, which convinced me they feebly attempted to find my credit card purchase.
After 3 people came back to me with no results , I was convinced I would do better on the used market. Definitely the right choice.

Posted by:

02 Apr 2020

I can do it myself and that is the besy way.

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