At Cape Computer Help we go well beyond a Computer Repair shop. We support individuals at home with one or more computers, and small businesses some of which have 20 or more computers on a local network.
For a computer that’s not working, or not working well, normally I recommend bringing the computer to my office where I will work on it to fix whatever problems it has. Because I can do this whilst also working on other projects, like fixing other computers or designing websites, I can keep the costs down. This is essential on computers that are more than a year or two old, because it’s simply not worth spending a lot of time or money on it, when it can be replaced for $400. If its not working, I’ll take a look at it and call you to let you know what’s going on and we can decide if its worth repairing. The minimum charge is usually $75 but in the case that the computer cannot be repaired quickly and easily, or if its so old its not going to be very good even when its fixed, there will be no charge. I never charge more than $150 in labor per incident on a computer I work on at my office.
Here are the common problems I deal with:
Faulty Hard Drive
The symptoms of this are easy to spot when you are familiar with it. The computer will pause for a few seconds up to a minute or two and then start working again. During this time usually the mouse can still be moved, but clicking does nothing. If I can get hold of the computer, I can usually copy the content of the old drive onto a new one, install it in the machine, and it will work perfectly again.
After a while though, with a failing hard drive the computer just freezes, and has to be powered off and on to recover operation. Then it will fail to boot up sometimes, then gets worse and worse and eventually completely fails to boot. This progression can take days or months. Once it has completely failed (‘become a brick’, in tech speak) then sorry, you have lost all your information. Sometimes a non-booting disk can be connected to my computer and the photos and files recovered. In an older computer the most economic solution, would be to copy the data off the old drive to a new computer.
So please call as soon as you notice your computer’s operation is not normal, so that we can take steps to recover it.
Viruses or Malware
At Cape Computer Help, virus removal is almost a daily task, and with experience can be done quickly and reliably. Despite the best antivirus software, its possible to receive an email or go to infected webpage and click on a link and unintentionally install malware on your computer. These ‘bad links’ are often well disguised with official looking logo images. Usually the purpose of them is to collect marketing data and provide the perpetrator with a list of the pages you visit on the web. But sometimes they are more sinister and are collecting all your keystrokes to gather your passwords and provide access to your accounts on line. The software (or malware) installed is often badly designed and makes your computer run slowly or display strange messages. Sometimes it will even prevent you from using the internet at all. Don’t worry though, once Cape Computer Help gets to it, the malware can be quickly and simply removed. Sometimes additional problems remain following the virus removal, such as failure of Windows Update or the installed antivirus program which makes the job more complex. In any case I seldom fail to return a computer to complete normal operation.
Some cheaper computers have only a small amount of RAM. Windows really needs at least 4GB preferably 8GB of memory in the computer. Each open window uses memory, and today’s complex webpages use more memory than in the past, making the computer slower and slower over time. Increasing the memory by adding some chips is usually cheap and can prolong the life of a computer by a few years.
Broken keyboard on a laptop
Missing keys or some keys that don’t work? Usually cheap to fix, depending on the laptop model. Let me take a look.
Dead laptop battery
Replacement batteries are available on the internet for $20-$30 and can make a laptop usable again. Some laptops run slowly when the battery is failing and changing out or just removing the battery can fix this.
When laptops were $1000 and up, it was worth while to change a broken screen. They cost $200-$300 plus labor to repair, and are fairly straightforward to do. Recently though, unfortunately with an average laptop costing $500 or less this option is seldom worth doing. But please ask; sometimes given the model number of your laptop I can find a screen on the internet for cheap.