PC Poker: Knowing When to Repair or Fold

The eve of 2000 marked the beginning of a new millennium. Home computers were still rare and considered a privilege back in the 90’s. Anyone in their mid-20’s and up remembers fondly the tonal screeching of the AOL start-up screen, and having to wait to use the dial-up connection until your sister was off the landline. However, today in the U.S, there are more registered computers than there are citizens, and the technology is far more advanced – and admittedly, more fragile and temperamental. When eventual damages, lags, or seemingly unidentifiable issues arise in an age where consumers expect everything with immediacy, do you cut your losses and buy a new PC? Or do you try and save money by getting it repaired?

The important thing consumers need to be mindful of when deciding on computer repair is whether the price is right. Windows laptops are priced from $300 to $3000 with a large variety of features included depending on what you buy. However, most Apple laptops start closer to the $1000 mark and can climb up to $5000 if your wallet is deep enough. Depending on what you own, your computer is an investment. This is will factor in my recommendations.

The diagnosis will always depend on the severity of your issue. Your computer might be shot. It won’t boot, the screen is damaged, or the thing is so old that Aim was still a relevant communication tool when you bought it. These are some of the more frequent issues I’ve seen in computer repair. In cases where a computer will not boot up, I would recommend getting at least an estimate on repairs or data recovery. If you have a backup of the files on your computer, you are already in great shape. Companies like Best Buy have services through their Geek Squad available to help with estimates or minor recovery. Unfortunately, most big-name companies are expensive and require a time commitment, like waiting in a queue. Additionally, the privacy of your data is at risk depending on the reputation of the business you choose. Regardless, the quote price you receive should gauge whether repairs are worthwhile.

The rule of thumb here is similar to car repair: don’t spend more than you originally paid for the computer, and definitely don’t spend more than it would cost for new computer. Why pay hundreds (or sometimes more) to repair a failed or aging system when you can get the latest and greatest for cheaper? For systems that are damaged, there is a concern that underlying issues may persist even after all the repairs. Remember that you have to consider the age of the computer above all. In 2019, consumers should not be using any Windows OS older than 8.1. For Apple users, you should not be using any version older than 10.2 Sierra. There is the possibility of upgrading to the latest operating system without upgrading the whole computer. If you’re not comfortable in researching or performing the work, you can inquire with us at Techvatic for computer support in Bucks and Montgomery County. We have no affiliation with any product vendor, so you can expect that there will be no bias from our consultations.

If your computer doesn’t fit any category described above, then chances are repairs might be the more cost-effective option. Device errors like the “blue screen of death” may instill the false narrative that your computer is gone for good. In actuality, the screen contains errors codes for troubleshooting. Providing that information to an IT support professional could result in a relatively inexpensive solution. Another common issue is a slow computer. This may go hand in hand with an older system, but in some circumstances, a repair (or a tune-up) could get you a few more months or years out of your computer. There are plenty of free solutions and tricks available online that one could use in lieu of throwing the entire device out. However, it is best to trust a professional for this task as there is a risk that troubleshooting performance without the appropriate knowledge can cause more harm than good.

Ultimately, there are many variables in whether it is best to repair or replace your PC. Not everyone is technically savvy enough to make a properly informed decision either – and that’s okay. Service companies like TechVatic offer the support to assist in making those decisions so that you don’t have to. We provide the skills to help our community make the right choices. Regardless of the type of computer you have, or what the issue may be, we can advise based on your needs. In the end, whether you decide to have an IT professional repair your computer, or you just want to move onto something that is in the current generation; we hope our information helps in influencing that decision.

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