Is it Time to Call The Geek Squad?

Category: Tech-News

A concerned AskBob reader says: “My computer is very sluggish, 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's my advice...

Computer Tech Support - Who Ya Gonna Call?

When your computer starts acting oddly, running slower than usual, or breaks down entirely, you have a choice. Common problems such as viruses and 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 (Lenovo, HP, Dell, Apple, Asus and Acer are some of the most popular) 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.

You can try to fix it yourself using software manuals and household tools. (I'm talking screwdriver, not sledgehammer or chainsaw.) If you can get online, you may find diagnosis and repair guides via Google or Youtube. And of course, this website offers a wide range of advice about fixing many common computer problems, but not everyone is a do-it-yourself type.

call the geek squad - computer tech support

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

Or, call a 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.

And of course, there are AI chatbots ready to take an educated guess at solving your computer problem. ChatGPT, for example, may be helpful in this regard. I asked ChatGPT: “My pc is making a ticking sound. What should I do?” The reply that came back included a step-by-step guide to troubleshoot the problem, with advice such as "Check to see if the fans inside your PC are clean and functioning properly"; "A ticking sound from the hard drive could be a sign of a impending failure"; "Use temperature monitoring software to check for overheating components which may cause unusual noises"; and "Consider taking your PC to a professional technician for diagnosis and repair."

That leads me back to the original question. Will the Geek Squad (or a similar computer repair service) be a good choice to help with a comptuer problem?

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 or so 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, including some pretty trivial ones. It will cost you $40 for remote services such as "Operating System Tune-Up and Upgrade", or a basic "Software Setup or Troubleshooting". In-Store Services include "PC or Tablet Setup" ($39.99), "Virus Removal and Operating System Repair" ($149.99) and "Data Backup or Transfer" ($99.99). If you want a Geek to come to your home, options such as "New Computer or Tablet Setup", "Home Wi-Fi Setup", and "Home Modem Setup" eash go for $149.99.

Other national companies offer computer repair and computer technical support services, too. Office supplier Staples offers "Easy Tech" computer repair services. A full range of diagnostic and repair services is available in the store, or at your home/office location. offers one-time fixes ($80), as well as monthly and annual support plans. They promise "A better tech support experience, Any device, Any issue, Any time".

Each 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...

Ask Your Computer or Internet Question

  (Enter your question in the box above.)

It's Guaranteed to Make You Smarter...

AskBob Updates: Boost your Internet IQ & solve computer problems.
Get your FREE Subscription!


Check out other articles in this category:

Link to this article from your site or blog. Just copy and paste from this box:

This article was posted by on 13 May 2024

For Fun: Buy Bob a Snickers.

Prev Article:
Geekly Update - 08 May 2024

The Top Twenty
Next Article:
Geekly Update - 16 May 2024

Most recent comments on "Is it Time to Call The Geek Squad?"

Posted by:

13 May 2024

Good thing this person doesn't work at the company the IT CROWD supported. First episode and he's already playing the recording of "Did you turn it off and on?"
Anyway, I'd suggest the LW ask their tech support family member or friend for help, and offer a home-cooked meal of the support person's choosing or some sort of food option (I always tell my friends feed me and I'll help [computers or other stuff {except any sort of painting}] them out. And the better they fed me, the more likely I'd respond the next time.
And if the support can't help for whatever reason, ask if they can recommend a local repair place.
I wish them luck.

Posted by:

13 May 2024

I know of a couple of fixes I have used when my desktop went stupid.
1) Depending on your / computers environment, one cause might be a very dirty processor heat sync. The processor chip gets too hot, and can't compute very well. The fan can not keep the processor cool, due to heat sync fins blocked with dust. Remove the fan, and brush / vacuum out the dust.

Another possibility, is the bios battery on the mother board needs replacing. The round nickel size battery.

Posted by:

13 May 2024

GS is never on my list for repair solutions. I have 50+ years in engineering / computers / IT and prefer to solve issues myself with online resources. (That holds for my computers as well of those of several elderly friends / clients and their businesses.) I also rebuild donated computers for a charity, which means there's never a dull moment in fixing their odd issues.

The usual BestBuy non-warranty response is to put in a new drive or at least reload everything and start fresh. I consider this to be the lazy action of someone who can't be bothered to investigate the root problems. Anyone remember Bob Pease's continual calls for "clear thinking"? I very seldom encounter a difficulty that can't be solved in a reason timeframe with some disciplined and thoughtful troubleshooting.

As for warranty work, be warned that GS will NOT guarantee that the computer you get back is the same one you turned in - just some "equivalent" model which may not have the specs (or added hardware) you really need. And their cautions to "back up the data first" won't help with the painful process of getting all the programs reinstalled and configured correctly.

Posted by:

13 May 2024

Used the "geek squad" for blue screen,they did the same test I did already with same results before sending off for further testing for $80 deposit, to I suppose the "super geeks" in Atlanta and it was the motherboard gone bad on an 18 month old HP deskstop. Cost $400 to repair out of manuf. warranty but luckily had coverage through credit card extended warranty. Took about 3 weeks but was satisfied with work.

Posted by:

James Horn
14 May 2024

My decade+ old DELL Inpiron 15 laptop started 'clicking' and I took it to a (now out of business) place where a 'dying hard drive' was the diagnosis. A $45 solid state drive was installed and everything transferred over for $250 resulted in a faster, stable laptop that's still serving me well.

Posted by:

14 May 2024

The Geek Squad (now just a profit center for Best Buy) and Staples (ditto) are my last choice. Almost any local computer repair store will be better and less expensive.

When in doubt, ask an expert. And the Geek Squad and Staples are not experts, they are just trying to earn money for their corporate overseers.

They guy with a stack of miscellaneous stuff in the window will be better than the GD or S. We had good expectations for the Circuit Center guys, but RIP. It's a tough business to be in.

Posted by:

14 May 2024

I am in complete agreement with Dan and BB regarding Geek Squad and Staples. I stopped by the Geek Squad desk in one of the Best Buy stores and asked a technical question. I am very skilled in computer hardware and IT work, and I was very appalled at their answer, which was an indication that they knew little. To "mask" their lack of technical knowledge, they steered the conversation to some talk, which involved me signing up for some plan. With that, I didn't only walk out of the store - I ran out of the store. Forget about what they call customer service.They were just a bunch of clowns! I would have greater confidence with having the chickens be protected from the foxes, instead of having Geek Squad perform any work on my computers. When Windows 11 came out, I replaced the motherboard myself for my desktop. As my original questions pertained to the operating system, I upgraded to Windows 11 by consulting online resources. [I also installed Linux and configured a dual boot system.] Everything works nicely! Thank you for an informative article, which explains the various options!

Posted by:

14 May 2024

A new MicroCenter store has just opened up about a half-hour away from my house. I have already had a verbal consultation with their service counter guys about the intricacies of printing from iPads to a Windows network; I appreciated their answers, and I would likely trust them for must-have repairs that I can't handle.

Sometimes the reality is that a repair just isn't worth it. It seems silly to sink two hour's worth of troubleshooting and repair plus parts into a cheap keyboard with a few dead keys.

Or sometimes there is another way around it. I diagnosed an inoperative FireWire laptop port as having been torn from the motherboard somehow. I showed the owner how badly it was damaged, and said the repair would be tedious and expensive - and that I would not guarantee I wouldn't break something else in the process. However, I showed them an ad for a USB-to-FireWire adapter and said we could work around the problem for $18 using a different working port. Customer was happy and appreciated the outside-the-box thinking.

Posted by:

J. Gordon
14 May 2024

We are fortunate to have a computer repair shop in Duncan BC. "Seaside Computer" who have helped me. First I took it into the shop. And next day it was ready. I have also been able to phone if I had a problem and they gave me a quick solution.
Whenever i have asked friends for help they have either not shown up or have misunderstood what my problem was and messed it up. Guess what was my best choice?

Posted by:

14 May 2024

Scammrs often use the Geek Squad and other companies to send you a bogus company invoice which will be deducted from your PayPal account. Do not respond or call these scammers. Just send the message to if you never signed up.

Posted by:

14 May 2024

I have decent experience with the Geek Squad. I have the yearly subscription and have 5 laptops in the house. A couple of laptops would not boot up and they fixed the problem. They mostly work on my laptops by taking over them I keep an eye on what they are doing to keep them from doing anything with my data (I close all programs that access data).

Posted by:

Lee Dalzell
15 May 2024

I am lucky in that the local computer store is very good. I can take it in (15 min drive to get there), they will check it out and if it works at their shop and not at is free and I have to sit through a 4 hour call to AT&T (my provider) to find out what is wrong. If it does not work there, they run diagnosis, virus cleaner, etc and it is working again. One time it was a part in the "box" on/off switch [built in] (this is a PC) and they moved everything into a new box and it still works!

Posted by:

Joe Hanson
15 May 2024

Depending on the age and original cost you might be better off just getting a new laptop. Shopping around can often get you a good deal and an upgrade from your old one that includes future updates and security patches. It's your basic cost-benefit analysis to repair or not.The nuclear option is to reset/refresh to original out of the box condition if a new computer is not feasible. Anyone can find many affordable chrome-books (check reviews) that can handle the most common things an average person would need.

Posted by:

Jeff Miller
16 May 2024

I have used the Geek Squad for many years. The price has gone from $99 to $200 + but it's more than paid for itself. I'm had many software issues and/or computer issues, and most have been resolved by them dialing into my computer and working on it remotely.

Post your Comments, Questions or Suggestions

*     *     (* = Required field)

    (Your email address will not be published)
(you may use HTML tags for style)

YES... spelling, punctuation, grammar and proper use of UPPER/lower case are important! Comments of a political nature are discouraged. Please limit your remarks to 3-4 paragraphs. If you want to see your comment posted, pay attention to these items.

All comments are reviewed, and may be edited or removed at the discretion of the moderator.

NOTE: Please, post comments on this article ONLY.
If you want to ask a question click here.

Free Tech Support -- Ask Bob Rankin
Subscribe to AskBobRankin Updates: Free Newsletter

Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved
About Us     Privacy Policy     RSS/XML

Article information: AskBobRankin -- Is it Time to Call The Geek Squad? (Posted: 13 May 2024)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved