Many of the calls we receive for computer support involve requests for computer repair—either a server or a PC is not working. If it’s a server, there’s always a sense of urgency since the whole company is affected by the outage. Sadly, many of these issues could have been avoided, or their severity reduced, with proactive monitoring and maintenance. But even with the proper care, occasionally parts wear out and companies find themselves in need of computer repair. This is one of the computer support services we provide.
Computer repair begins with proper diagnosis. Not all problems are caused by worn out or damaged parts. A simple misconfiguration or improperly applied software update can cause blue screens and other nasty problems. So before you start swapping parts, be sure it’s a hardware problem. Likewise, no amount of tweaking is going to resuscitate that burned-out network card or crashed hard drive. Improper diagnosis can result in lost time and money. It’s important to diagnose problems quickly and accurately.
When you put a computer on a network you introduce a whole new level of complexity. Configuration settings of one computer on the network can cause another computer to have problems. This makes diagnostics more difficult. And if the computer causing the problems is a laptop belonging to someone who comes and goes frequently, the intermittent nature makes it that much more difficult to track down.
Once properly diagnosed, computer repair may involve replacing parts, changing configuration settings, or both. If the computer is fairly new or the problem can be fixed by changing some settings, then it’s probably worth fixing. If it’s an older computer, you may have a tough decision to make.
Older computers are more prone to hardware failures than newer ones. And getting some parts for older computers can be difficult and expensive. We generally recommend replacing computers after three years of service. My rule of thumb is if a part fails on a computer that is more than three years old, replace the computer, not the part. Consider that part to be your warning that it is only the first of many parts that will fail over time. And the cost of parts and labor over the following three years can easily be more than the cost of a new computer. Retiring older computers on a schedule can reduce your computer repair budget.