- Call the computer's manufacturer
- Is the computer repair technician certified?
- Prepare for some inconvenience and cost
- Consider alternatives
Some problems can be solved over the phone without spending money on a computer repair technician. Phone support specialists are trained to diagnose issues and walk you through the steps to find a solution.
Make sure you give yourself ample time — many telephone support systems have lengthy hold times, and the process for finding the root of your computer's problem can take a while.
Computer repair technicians are like car mechanics — they all have general skills, but many specialize in a specific type of machine. Make sure the repair service you talk to is familiar with your computer's make and model and its operating system.
Technicians also receive certifications and ongoing training from hardware and software manufacturers like Microsoft, Dell and Apple.
When you're dropping your computer off for service, make sure you get a clear estimate of how long the repairs will take. Regardless of the length of the actual repairs, know that you'll need to pay for the time to figure out what your problem is (usually an hour or so) prior to getting your formal estimate.
If you decide to proceed with the repair, make sure you let colleagues and associates know you'll be unavailable via email while repairs are ongoing.
If the computer you need to have repaired is old, the problem simply may be that it can't handle the amount of software you're asking it to manage. Repairs may turn into costly system or memory upgrades. If your repair costs start to escalate, ask the technician to offer some alternatives. Many repair services sell refurbished computers for a substantial discount and should be able to transfer your current files and software to the new machine.
With professional help, your computer will be back on your desk in a flash, and those pesky error messages will be a thing of the past.