Choosing – Computer Repair Shop or Onsite

So, you’ve decided that this Malware Removal Guide is just too technical or you don’t have the time to do the repair yourself. How do you choose between using a computer repair shop or an onsite computer repair?

It depends on the nature of the problem.

Most mechanical issues are easily handled by on-site computer repair services. Printer hookups or problems, wireless setup, networking or other peripheral. The equipment is there and just needs to be configured properly.

Failed devices that need replacing require the repair tech to have the stock in his vehicle, take the computer back to his shop or make several trips to complete the repair. Repair shops will have a better stock of power supplies, hard drives, video cards, routers and other gear.

For virus/rootkit infections, you’ve probably tried most of what an onsite computer repair service would do – scan repeatedly with software until it reports no more errors – and your computer still doesn’t work right.

Some mobile repair services don’t understand rootkit issues. They rely on the many scanners/detectors (probably the same ones you used) that are ineffective.

Zero-filling a hard drive (necessary to remove all traces of the rootkit) takes hours. Even worse, some newer computers come with two drives configured to look like one (called a RAID) that increases the zero-fill time by 4. (We just zero-filled a 1tb RAID that took two and a half days).

Installing Windows XP with all the security updates, takes 4-6 hours with a good internet connection.

If you’re being charged by the hour for onsite repair, this type of repair can be expensive.

Computer repair shops will have more resources to complete your repairs. They have a storefront presence and a reputation to maintain.

Corporate repair store or local repair shop?

As with any service provider, you want accountability. Someone that is personally vested in their work and willing back it up.

When dealing with corporate stores, you’re dealing with employees who must abide by their employer’s rules.

The techs working on your computer are not personally accountable in any way. If they make a mistake, they’re bound by their employer’s procedures for making it right. Sometimes, that creates a conflict that corporate employees are not empowered to resolve.

Local, independent repair shops are usually staffed by the owner. S/He has a vested interest in creating a happy customer. They’re also not constrained by corporate policy. They make the decisions and will always work with you to make you a happy customer.

It’s important to understand that, without the media budgets of the corporate stores, independents rely on word of mouth advertising. Without it they cannot survive. They’re not just doing work for you, they’re working for the 5-10 people you will tell about your experience at their store.

Look for shops that are willing to talk to you about your computer problems for free. Shops that are community oriented will offer free diagnostics. “Bring your computer in, we’ll determine the nature of your problem and talk with you about the solution.” This is the attitude you want. Someone willing to help you initially without running up a bill.

Many local shops will even make small fixes for free at the counter. Things like your sounds doesn’t work and they find that you have the speakers muted.

A simply user error. A smart shop owner will know that the five minutes it took to fix, is worth way more than any advertising they could buy.

If you have virus problem, ask them what they could do to help prevent the problem from happening again.

Are they going to sell you the same antivirus software you had when you got the virus?

Will they help you understand why your previous antivirus didn’t work?

Are they interested in helping you prevent your computer problems or just selling you something they make money on?

You have the right to ask these things. Your computer is a very personal thing and your repair shop should realize that and treat you accordingly.

Ultimately, it comes down to trust.