When Should You Call The Geek Squad?
A frustrated AskBob reader says: '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?' Read on for my advice to this reader...
Computer Tech Support - Who Ya Gonna Call?
Clocks tick, computers don't. Or at least they shouldn't. When your computer starts running slow, freezes up, or ticks, you have a choice. Computer problems such as viruses & spyware, lost or damaged files, flaky memory, glitching 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 possibly 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.
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 (a service of Best Buy) 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 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. GeekBuddy and Boxaid provide remote technical assistance including setup, computer optimization, repair, and virus removal. Both offer a free diagnosis. NerdsOnSite.com is an international network of local computer repair techs who make house calls. They've been providing in-home & on-site computer support since 1995.
All of these services will have computer techs trained to handle the most common computer problems, and should do a good job of fixing your computer.
Have you used Geek Squad or a similar computer repair service? Tell me about your experience, or post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 3 Aug 2022
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- When Should You Call The Geek Squad? (Posted: 3 Aug 2022)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved