We believe some of the best computing advice you can get is from those down in the trenches–those computer repair shop owners that have seen it all. I am delighted to share a brief Q & A session with Ned from Boston Professional Computer Services LLC (also known as PCS in our forums).
You can imagine the things Ned sees and hears on a daily basis when dealing with computers. We’re happy to get an insider’s look into the tools, techniques and opinions of a computer repair professional.
PCTechBytes: If you can pick one, what is the most common reason people bring their computers into your shop (viruses, crashes, etc…)?
PCS: It’s pretty tough to pick just one reason, but I’d have to say ‘unable to reach the internet’ which most of the time turns out to be a virus or
a windows problem. I’d have to say laptop LCD/LED screens, dc jacks, and reinstalling Windows takes a close second.
PCTechBytes: What antivirus, if any, do you use on your own computers?
PCS: On my personal computers, and the ones in the shop I use MSE (Microsoft Security Essentials), it’s free and does a really good job of detection and removal. If you ask me this question in six months the answer might be different. I’m always watching trends and looking for who is improving their software. Who knows six months from now Norton might blow me away but I doubt it.
PCTechBytes: Do you find that people are good with backing up their data?
PCS: Not really, I’d say about 90% of our residential customers haven’t got a backup, or it’s so old it’s not relevant anymore. Computers and devices have become more reliable over the last 10 years or so, I’d say most people don’t want to be bothered until they get stung and suffer the consequences. This is probably a little biased since you’re not coming to the shop if you’ve got a backup, then you don’t need us.
PCTechBytes: Do you recommend people build their own computers or buy from a major manufacturer?
PCS: I recommend both, dependant on what the primary use of the computer is coupled with the experience of the person in question. For those that just surf the net, use facebook, a printer, and don’t do much else a major manufacturer is the way to go. Right from a major manufacturer you have them benefit of free customer support (for a short time), and it’s much easier to use the warranty as opposed to trying to RMA a part from a customer build. If you have some good computer knowledge and want to play games, or edit video than I’d recommend build your own, or have it built. Building your own can really save you a bit of money and gives you the flexibility to put the money into the components that matter and benefit your primary use.
PCTechBytes: Speaking of manufacturers, is there a particular brand you prefer or loathe the most?
PCS: Most of the manufacturers over the years have had a model or a series of models that haven’t done the best by them. In the early to mid 2000’s Dell had the faulty capacitor problem (some report as high as a 90+% failure rate), Hp has had the DV series GPU problem and the list goes on and on. So I’m a little jaded when it comes to favorites. I’d have to say I like HP, I’ve got a few of their laptops for myself and they have always done ok by me. Desktops I build so can’t really pick a favorite there. I don’t really loathe any brand, but if I had to pick I’d say Dell seems to give me the biggest headaches.
PCTechBytes: What is your go-to tool or software for diagnosing computer problems?
PCS: It’s pretty tough to pick a single tool or software for diagnosis, there are just so many useful tools that I use. For practical purposes the UBCD is very useful. There’s a lot of software on there that helps diagnose HDDs and RAM. I use it a lot.
PCTechBytes: What do you feel is the most important component of a computer?
PCS: This is going to sound funny but the most important component of a computer is the user!
PCTechBytes: You hear rumors about people putting credit cards in their floppy drives. Do you have any funny stories to share?
PCS: I’ll let the audience be the judge of funny, but I did have a laptop come in once with the complaint that ‘just didn’t work right’. When I opened the DVD drive it was kind of stuck, as I pulled it open I noticed 2 CDs stuffed in there. The keyboard looked a little bloated to me as well so I removed the CD/DVD drive and there were 3 more CDs wedged inside the laptop under the top bezel but above the CD/DVD drive. I can’t imagine how anyone was able to get them in there without realizing that it wasn’t right, but they got in there somehow. When I explained that there were CDs inside the laptop, the customer just said “I was wondering where those were.” I mentioned that the CD/DVD drive takes one CD/DVD at a time, and he just said “I was also wondering why it was so hard to put more than one CD in there.”.
PCTechBytes: What is your number one computer tip for your customers?
PCS: Number one is most certainly ‘BACK UP DATA’. This also happens to be number 2 and 3 lol.
If you’re in the Boston area and need computer help, be sure to look up Ned at his shop.