Online Computer Repair and Fix-it-Yourself Options

Category: Hardware , Software

A reader asks: 'My computer is running slow and I think it might have a virus. What do you think of those online computer repair services? Are they reliable, or should I take it to a local computer repair shop?' Here's the scoop on remote computer repair services, and some free alternatives...

Computer Repair Via the Internet

When your computer breaks down, freezes up, or freaks out, your first response may be to call someone to come and repair it, or take it to your local PC repair guy. But before you pick up the phone or drag your computer out to the car, check out some of the online computer repair services that can often fix your computer right over the Internet.

Of course, if your computer won't even start up, or your Internet connection is not working, then online computer repair is not an option. But for many common problems, such as viruses, spyware, lost files, trouble with external devices, or security issues, an online repair service can be an excellent alternative. Here are some that you can try if the need arises:

Support.com provides online computer support for PCs and Macs, serving home and small business customers. They use remote computer technology to access your computer over the Internet, while you watch. The ability to directly access your desktop alows the tech support person to see what the problem is directly, rather than by a frustrating series of questions and answers over the phone. Support.com offers tech support any day or time for both computers and peripherals. For ongoing tech support, prices start at $19.99 a month or $199.99 annually. You can also get one-time tech support and pay a la carte. For $129.99, you can get "Diagnosis & Repair" to fix problems and optimize performance. Configuring a wireless network and securely connecting your devices costs $99.99. For $49.99, they'll help you hook up a new printer, digital camera, MP3 player or other electronic device.

online computer repair

Similarly, 24/7 Techies employs remote support tools and Microsoft certified technicians to securely access and fix your PC. Mac support is also available. Their diagnostic and computer repair software can find and remove viruses and other problems. They can also help with setting up a new computer, connecting a printer or scanner, configuring backups, and optimizing your computer's performance. A one-year unlimited 24/7 support package costs $199.95. They don't seem to offer any a la carte or one-time services.

Another option for online computer repair is your Internet service provider. If the problem has something to do with your internet router, the wiring, or your home network, it can sometimes be diagnosed or fixed remotely or over the phone. With my Verizon FIOS service, there's an online diagnostic tool called VZ Home Agent that can do that.

And don't forget, the company that made or sold you the computer might be obligated to help. Check your contract or warranty, you might even be entitled to free online repair assistance. If not free, Dell, Gateway and other computer vendors offer pre-paid computer support at reasonable prices.

A Word of Caution

Be wary of software advertised online that promises a "free scan" or "one-click fix". Some of these are genuine, but others are digital wolves in sheep's clothing. See my article on Computer Repair Software for details, and links to some free programs that really do work.

You should also be aware of the Fake Tech Support Scam. If you receive an unsolicited phone call from someone who claims to work for Microsoft, or your internet service provider, drop the phone and back away slowly. (Or just hang up.) These guys are scammers who will either take your money and do nothing, or plunk a nasty virus on your computer, allowing other crooks to use it for nefarious purposes.

Do It Yourself (Or With a Friend)

Lots of online help is available for people who want to find answers to their computer problems, and fix it themselves. Use the search box at the top of this page, to see if your tech support question has already been answered on AskBobRankin. I can also recommend two other sites, if you don't find the answer here. Leo Notenboom's Ask Leo site is a good resource for Windows problems, and Gary Rosenzweig's MacMost offers help with Mac issues. Both Leo and Gary are personal friends, and are trustworthy computer experts.

You can also find some excellent tips for D-I-Y tech support at the Geek Squad Self Help page. They offer free tips for setting up or troubleshooting a wireless network, online tools to scan for viruses, and many other topics.

Here's another option for people that have geeky friends. Using the same type of remote access tools that the paid services listed above employ, you can invite a friend to connect to your computer over the Internet. Your friend will be able to view your desktop, move your mouse, and hopefully diagnose and fix your problem. See my related article on Free Remote Access and Screen Sharing Tools for more information on how that all works.

Superuser is a site where anyone can ask a computer question. The downside is that anyone can answer, as well. I see a lot of wrong, unhelpful or just bad advice on sites like these. But Superuser has a system to help weed out the chaff. The idea is that the best answers will get voted to the top of the heap, and the bad advice will be flagged as such. Superuser is aimed at or computer enthusiasts and power users, and is free to use.

And finally, if you're not in a hurry, Protonic offers free computer support by email. Protonic has a worldwide network of quallfied volunteers that enjoy the challenge of helping people fix computer problems. Membership is free. After submitting your problem, a techie will reply via email, and help you find a solution.

Have you ever used an online computer repair service, or helped a friend via remote desktop access? Post your comment or question below...

 
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This article was posted by on 11 Jul 2013


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Most recent comments on "Online Computer Repair and Fix-it-Yourself Options"

(See all 24 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

Louise
11 Jul 2013

Bob, Thanks for a very informative article!
Definitely a "keeper".


Posted by:

Doc
11 Jul 2013

STAY AWAY FROM MY_TECH_GURUS!!!! (mytechgurus.com)

These guys took me for a two week ride from hell! They LIST a 'US headquarters' phone number that is ALWAYS answered overseas, some of their 'national' head quarters seem to be located in an AREA (e.g. 'Times Square', etc.) rather than an address, AND they don't know their US corporate address. After I was told "We are not allowed to give out that information" several times, I was given several different US addresses in CT. None of which was I ever able to find with online maps. Three letters to three of those address' were returned as 'undeliverable'. I suspect they do not exist. *I* (and I'm not a lawyer) would call that 'fraud', but like I said that's my PERSONAL feeling.

Their cultural belief system does not allow them to ever stop. At the end of two weeks the original problem (search box is not visible after several searches in Google)had not been fixed, and they tried to say 'well we helped you' and I argued for a day (3+ hours) that no, they had 'fixed' problems THEY had created but had not fixed the problem that I was having originally.

In the end, after about 30+ hours(!!) over two weeks, I was able to negotiate their 'service fee', the amount that they charge no matter what, from $70us down to $20us.

I had taken Doctor Bob's Advice seriously, and had backed up my new comptuer right away, and just restored it. Dell wanted $200 to help me with this problem, these guys seemed cheaper. And all I can say is listen to your Doctor, **back up your comptuer**, AND you get what you pay for. STAY AWAY FROM MYTECHGURUS.


Posted by:

Robert Solarski
11 Jul 2013

I have had good results with Reimage Repair.


Posted by:

George
11 Jul 2013

Yes. I have helped people many times, often seniors by remote. Virus removal,troubleshooting slow computer, setting up devices and programs, plus instructions on how to do something are a sample of what can be done. Teamviewer is my program of choice. For those that haven't tried it, you would be surprised what can be done by remote. As Bob says, some caution is required, make sure you know the person doing the fixing. (¯`·._.·ns¢ävË·._.·´¯)®


Posted by:

Gusieppe Monginelli
11 Jul 2013

Hi Bob,
I have been receiving a newsletter from "Cloudeight InfoAve" for many, many years. They now offer a service that fits this article. As a "Ma & Pa" kind of team, TC & EB are non-the-less top-notch. I would HIGHLY recommend you check-out their service @ http://thundercloud.net/direct/ Thanks for your time.
Gus


Posted by:

Callie
11 Jul 2013

I want to highly recommend Belkin's Tech Support. They have a 24/7/365 toll-free number, and either remote (if you have internet access) or phone support. They offer a one-time ($39.95), 6-month ($74.95) or annual option ($119.95). Support is free (some up to 2 yrs) for their networking products but they will support almost anything looks like.

I was without internet access with absolutely no help from my ISP without paying more than the Belkin fee. The Belkin guys were able to get through to tech support for Century Link who finally discovered a "switch" that had been set wrong. Voilà I had a connection. I'm sure I never would have gotten it fixed without them.


Posted by:

Harijs
11 Jul 2013

I am not a big fan of MS, but their fixit service has helped me. http://support.microsoft.com/fixit/


Posted by:

Remote PC Fixers
11 Jul 2013

Bob,

Remote computer repair is what I do for a living, and give everyone the best service possible.

I have been in computers for over 35 years, and read the best technical reports out there, including yours of course, which is one of the best!

www.remotepcfixers.com


Best Regards,

Tom


Posted by:

Kirill
12 Jul 2013

I think, two tools or resources were overlooked. I mean brains and google. Computer isn't a rocket science. Especially now, when this piece of technology is well-established standard thing. So anybody with GED is able to work and take care of computer. Mostly common sense and brains is enough to find out what's wrong and how to fix it. But nothing is new under Moon, so somebody definitely had similar problem and you can find the solution, using Google or other search engine, saving your time and money. They not necessary bring you to sites Bob mentioned, but could direct you to discussion forums, that could be way far from the computer things, but where those problems were discussed and solved. With basic knowledge of how computer and its modules work and common sense you can try to fix it yourself with pretty high probability of success. If you can fix a breakfast, you can fix computer as well, believe me.

But again - if you understand what exactly you are doing. If any technical device for you is a big black box that miraculously works - better ask a professional. We don't want a new Chernobyl.


Posted by:

mur_phy
12 Jul 2013

Bob -- as I have mentioned over the years, every day for over 13 years, PC Tech is an open room in Paltalk and helps folks learn and repair computer issues as long as it does not require information of an illegal nature. We can only suggest that folks that need some assistance consider installing the free Paltalk program and coming to visit PC Tech which is one of a few different tech rooms but which is the oldest. Hopefully the info provided will be of value to the user.


Posted by:

Nezzar
13 Jul 2013

Dear Bob,
At the risk of being laughed at, I would like to put in a plug for Best Buy's Geek Squad Tech Support. Their agents can connect remotely to your computer to fix any problem at any time. But, if you purchase their in-home service, a Geek Squad agent will also come to your house if the problem cannot be fixed remotely. I live 35 miles from the nearest large city, and there is no one close by who can do computer repair in the home. I personally don't feel comfortable dropping off my computer to be repaired if the problem cannot be fixed remotely where I can see what is going on. In four years of using the Geeks, a tech has had to come out to my house twice. I was able to watch what the tech did, and he stayed until I had used the computer and was satisfied that the problem had been fixed. And, like the other services that you mentioned in your article, I can call the Geeks anytime for help.
Thanks much for your informative article. I will keep it on hand if I ever get need more help.
Nezzar


Posted by:

Recover Data from Hard Disk
05 Aug 2013

I like the helpful info you provide in your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and check again here frequently. I’m quite certain I’ll learn plenty of new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!


Posted by:

Remote PC and Laptop Repairs
06 Sep 2013

It could be quite a cumbersome and time-consuming task taking your PC down to the local repair guy. Today, there are remote PC and laptop repair services and they could be a much better solutions as they provide online repair service for PCs and laptops.


Posted by:

Mark p.
10 Feb 2014

Great write up. Just an FYI both support.com and 247 techies are outside the USA if (phillipines And India) if you are interested in a company that is USA based I recommend http://boxaid.com


Posted by:

RonnieHumpries
07 Sep 2014

This is a great topic. In addition. open internet properties, connections tab then click on lan settings. be sure that use proxy server is not checked. go to programs tab then check on the search provider but ask, trovi etc..then remove them. Use google or bing to be sure. Uninstall programs as well like storm alerts, mindspark toolbars and the like, ask etc. to be sure, just keep the programs you know you installed. If you have issues removing it, use the revo uninstaller portable. Install Adblock - very reliable to block pop ups.

If help is needed, visit www.computeronlinerepair.com


Posted by:

Thisera
13 Jan 2015

I have a problem with IBM PIII Model6059KZA mother board.
When the startup (Befor login to windows),It displayed "ERROR 193 System security hardware has been removed" with two options (Continue & Exit setup).When I select "Continue" system goes to BIOS and When I select "Exit setup" System goes to WINDOWS. How to resolve this....

EDITOR'S NOTE: This page has some suggestions: http://www.fixya.com/support/t1125513-cmos_error_0193


Posted by:

geeksonrepair
03 Jun 2015

Useful and important topic.If you have issues related to computer then visit our site for " online computer repair.


Posted by:

Baskaran E
02 Sep 2015

How to fix Google Redirect problem, always open when i click any website ad-type.google.com/sh.aspx?f=popup-u&h=c8d5ad7d804ba49015d1b83443fbc54d

EDITOR'S NOTE: See http://askbobrankin.com/defeat_the_google_redirect_virus.html


Posted by:

Aram Gregor
12 Jan 2016

If my computer is not working then how i can take help from internet?? have some sense my friend.. Its not possible for those who have one pc ..
Online and Onsite Support


Posted by:

DENISSE COWLEY
16 Feb 2016

My colleagues were requiring IRS 990-EZ last year and encountered a document management site that has an online forms library . If people need IRS 990-EZ too , here's http://pdf.ac/9Dmlbi


There's more reader feedback... See all 24 comments for this article.

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