Repair Hustles: What to do when your laptop breaks down.
When your Personal Computer or laptop suddenly stops working, it really can be terrifying, especially when you have some pending works and have no option left but to take it for repair. I was telling my friends the other day that I almost sunk into depression after my two computers, and a tablet broke down the same week. One on Sunday, then the tablet followed on Wednesday, and when I thought the Acer Mini I had, would help, it disappointed me and failed to boot the next day which was Friday. I could not help but wonder how on earth was this happening to me.
We’re all dependent on information technology and often interact with our computer more than we do with our family members. When you’re home, there is always a laptop or a mobile phone somewhere hibernating. When it breaks the day you’re running on a squeezed budget, it leaves you dumbfounded and chances that you will try to repair it yourself are high, which may lead to further damages when you don’t know what to do.
The next thing of course for anyone is to go to town looking for those stalls that repair computers in Fire Station, Tom Mboya Street or Moi Avenue, for example, if you’re in Nairobi. One thing that I took note is that whether you’re resorting to a street repairman, established agent or the computer company itself, you must research the problems your computer has, the possible solutions before making the decision on who among the three to approach. You will realize that a big percentage of users have no idea or limited knowledge about what’s going on inside their computers, how it works, or any steps to take in case of a breakdown.
This is a rip off moment for the repairmen when they realize you don’t know what’s ailing your computer. They will ask for huge amounts, overprice the spare parts, hard drives, operating system, or even ask a lot of money for something which is completely undeserving. No wonder they take the computer out to the next stall, talk to a friend, come back with different samples of spare parts, go back again and stay there for almost 30 minutes before bringing your computer. You will think a lot has been done and probably pay the amount they asked for.
Here are the things you should do before taking the computer for repair.
- First do not open your machine or tamper with it if it is still on warranty, you might just be blamed for it. Contact your PC Company and take your computer for professional repair at the expense of the manufacturer.
- Do not open your computer to try and repair it if you’re not an expert. You will end up increasing the damage and consequently, the cost of repair will shoot.
- If your computer can start, find a backup of your data at home before you go out since you may not get any other time to do it at the squeezed, overcrowded repair offices. Remember no one really cares about your data security and asking the repairman to do it will be done at an extra cost. If you can access cloud or any online backing, upload your most important data, just in case anything happens; otherwise, develop a habit of doing regular backups.
- Try several plugins before concluding on what ails your PC. Every computer has several parts which can be used to plug in other external parts like a mouse, keyboard, webcam, hard drive, slots for modem, WIFI or LAN cables and such. You can try to see if your computer will start well on a different screen or if it can boot on an external peripheral. Also check whether the power cables are working by using different power adapters, extensions, and sockets.
- Try to know your computer like every corner of your house. Do not just stare at the keyboard and the screen when everything is functioning well. Take time to look under your computer, check properties, hardware and service providers of several programs running. This way you can Google alternatives when any of them fails. You don’t need to call an expert to update your WIFI drivers. Don’t throw away your laptop manual, read through it.
- Restarting your computer and troubleshooting for problems are the basic things you need to know when trying to fix your computer. I recently fixed a Network adapter by just running an automatic repair.
- The internet is the best thing that happened to the world. Take time to Google the problems your suspect your computer may be having. Make a list of them and their solution, if you can’t fix, the list will help you single out the complications when you get to the repair, which will be very easy to bargain on the cost, unlike when they charge you to find out before agreeing on the official repair cost.
- Remove all sensitive information from your computer. If you do not want to or cannot remove some sensitive files, use a file encryption software to lock and encrypt passwords on such data folders. If you can, create a free time to personally take your computer to the repair and wait until everything is fixed or agreed upon.
- It is important to delete any unnecessary applications, programs, music videos or movies from your computer. This will increase storage space and makes your computer operate efficiently and faster when under repair. This will save you time.
- Finally, choose wisely and be careful with whom you entrust your device. If you decide to take the computer for repair by the manufacturer that can be stress-free, but if you have to go to the streets, make sure you choose an established one. Some repairmen operate on mobile offices, you will find them somewhere today and tomorrow you will be shocked when you’re told they left, ‘Here today, Nowhere tomorrow’ kind of people.
READ ALSO: Microsoft Surface Pro X Review.