Computers rarely break down these days, but when they do, getting qualified help from a company such as Geek Squad or your local equivalent can be expensive. It is possible to fix your computer problem for less money if your computer isn’t working and you don’t want to pay an hourly rate.
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Investigate on your own
The process of diagnosing computers is logical, even if they are complicated machines. You need to work your way down the list of possible problems until you are confident that you have found the problem.
Anyone who follows a few basic rules of thumb can have a good shot at solving the problem, but it takes some experience and some understanding of how computer hardware and software work:
Free technical support is already available to you
Don’t forget that you may already be covered for free tech support with specific hardware or software you’ve purchased. Using Geek Squad as an alternative is a good idea. Microsoft, for example, offers tech support for Windows customers who are licensed.
If you’re having driver or software issues with your hardware, such as your GPU, you can usually email support. If your hardware is still under warranty, then you absolutely should let the manufacturer or agent handle any problems instead of trying to fix it yourself.
Often when you buy a new device or computer, it comes with an annual or two-year service contract, so it is worth checking to see if this support was included in the purchase price.
Look it up on Google
I have a bit of a secret to tell you. The Geek Squad technicians probably look up answers on Google when you take your computer in for an assessment unless it’s a routine problem they already know how to fix. It may not be the fastest method of solving a problem, but a computer technician who knows how to use the internet will typically be able to figure it out faster. It makes sense that they can earn more money if they can resolve a problem quickly.
For this to work, you need to describe the symptoms accurately and then type them into a search engine. Using the correct keywords and description will almost certainly result in a fix.
Check out the forums
It is believed that internet forums date back almost as long as the internet itself, and many of them are a valuable source of information and advice. You can always ask (politely) for help on a forum if you cannot find an exact answer to your question.
Although there is no guarantee that someone will know the answer to your question, we usually find someone with the required knowledge to assist. It’s just a reminder that nobody here is being paid to provide technical support. Be respectful!
Talk to a Friend
Most likely, some of your friends (or some of their friends) are accomplished techies. If you use your connections, you may be able to get help that is cheaper than taking your computer to an actual repair shop.
Even though you won’t always get free help from your friends, you may not have to pay them. A simple IOU requesting a future favor or another form of payment (like a home-cooked meal) could suffice. The amount of money changing hands is likely to be less than a formal computer repair shop. Keeping in mind that a friend who works on your computer can make no guarantees, and if something goes wrong, there will be no recourse.