Computer Hardware

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Monthly Archives: July 2016

Tips to Repair a Hard Drive

maxresdefault (1)Similar to other components in the computer, hard disks are also vulnerable to complications and problems. There are many times when you might have experienced some problems with your computer’s hard drive. Do not worry, as with some simple steps and guidelines, you can diagnose the exact problem and try to fix it. It is not necessary to call up a computer repair professional as soon as any related error pops up on the screen. You first need to diagnose the exact problem, try to troubleshoot it, and if you are not successful, then you can go ahead and call the computer services. There are a couple of tips below on how to repair a hard drive.

Hard Drive Problems

There are many types of errors that may come up on the screen due to these problems. If there are errors on the computer monitor, but there is no clicking or scraping noise from the disk, then you need to know that it is a problem that can be resolved by using a software application. But if there is a certain noise coming from the drive, you need to realize that it is a serious issue, which only needs to be handled by a professional. So, if you are thinking of getting this part repaired, it is better to take it to a PC shop. If the disk is in warranty, you can get it done for no charge at all.

Bad Sectors

If the disk is not making noise, but there are some errors popping up on the screen, you can try to resolve the problem with fixing bad sectors. The disk has several sectors on which the data gets stored, and if these sectors go bad, the data stored thereon is lost and cannot be accessible. However, data on other sectors of the disk will remain as it is. The bad sectors then need to be tagged as unusable, after which the operating system will not try to store data on them. This would however reduce the overall storage capacity.

Those thinking of rectifying the disk problems on Mac OS or Windows need to understand that these operating systems have an inbuilt application, which scans the disk for errors and tries to resolve them. For fixing bad sectors, follow the steps below:

  • Open ‘My Computer’, and right click on the drive, which is to be repaired
    Select the ‘Properties’ tab, and then the ‘Tools’ option.
  • You then need to select the ‘Check Now’ button, which is located in the ‘Error-checking’ section. You may need to type some kind of a password or confirmation.
  • A window will be displayed with two check boxes.
  • Select ‘Automatically fix file system errors’ to automatically corrects problems with files and folders that the scan detects. Otherwise, the disk check will simply report problems but not fix them.
  • To perform a thorough disk check, select ‘Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors’. This scan attempts to find and rectify physical errors on the disk itself, and it can take much longer to complete.
  • If you want both to be done, select both the check boxes. Click on ‘Start’ in the window to start the process.
    Corrupted Hard Drive

If you want to repair a disk, which has been corrupted, you need to use a particular software for getting rid of all the corrupted data and emptying the disk. Download a disk utility application to a floppy disk from another PC. Insert the floppy in your computer’s floppy drive, and switch on the computer. After the BIOS of the PC loads, the utility will start. Follow the step by step instructions on the screen to delete all the corrupt data and make your disk free of corrupted data. You can now use your disk as new.

For ruling out the possibilities of data loss, it is strongly recommended to do a periodical data backup, which will certainly keep your important data safe.

Tips to Start Your Own Computer Repair Business

There are a few important points to consider before starting a computer repair business. You must set the right price for your service. Time is money, and you will probably charge by the hour. You must
identify your clientele by deciding whether you want to sell your services to businesses or to private individuals! Next, you will need to find a niche, so that you can specialize in a particular sector of the market. You may also have to make a decision to quit your day job to be able to run your business full time. If you don’t have any background in the field of finance, you might even have to employ an accountant to record your transactions.

If you have pondered over and decided on the above mentioned points, you are well on your way towards becoming a businessman. However, successfully establishing and running a computer repair business will require you to take care of a number of other significant details too. Presented below are a few tips that can help you in doing this.

Tips on Starting a Computer Repair Business

1) Market Your Business Well
To establish a good customer base, you should market your business well. This can be done by sending mails or by distributing flyers. You can also promote it over the Internet, through SEO (search engine optimization) or by sending emails.

2) Highlight Your Technical Proficiency
Highlight the credentials of technicians working under you, so that clients are assured that the ‘techies can do their job well. Also make sure that their technical skills are up-to-date. You should train your workers well, and also encourage them to get certifications, such as the CompTIA A+. Before interviewing candidates for a job in your organization, make them fill an application form in which they need to list their technology-related skills, so that you know what questions to ask them in order to evaluate their technical proficiency.

3) Hire Employees With Good People Skills
In a computer repair business, there will be a direct interaction between your employees and clients. If the people working under you are able to establish a good rapport with your clientele, it will significantly help boost your business. Hence, you must try and hire employees who have good social skills, and even train them to improve at it.

4) Gain the Client’s Trust
To gain the trust of your clients, first and foremost, you will need to be able to do a good and transparent repair job. Many computers have the user’s Social Security Number, credit card numbers, and other sensitive and private information stored in them. It will be your job to assure them that their data will be safe with you.

5) Work From Home
You can run your business from home itself. For example, your garage could be used as your office cum workplace. This will help you save money, as you won’t have to lease space for your business. With the question of workspace out of the way, all you need to start a business are few desktop computers, and some cabinets or shelves to store all the tools and instruments that you’ll require for your repair work.

6) Diagnostic Fees and Pricing
You can charge a diagnostics fee to test the hardware and software of your client’s computer. As an act of good faith, you can refund the diagnostics fee if you are unable to figure out the problem. After you have determined what the issue is, you can give a written estimate, so that you and your client can agree on the final cost.

7) Repair Over the Internet
If the problem is purely software-related, you can repair your client’s computer by remote access over the Internet. This can be achieved by connecting to the client’s computer online, and controlling it remotely, while the client watches you repair it.

8) Offer On-site Repair Facility
You can provide an on-site computer repair service. This will probably help in increasing your business, as many people would prefer a computer repair service that is provided to them at home, rather than having to go through the trouble of disconnecting and bring their computers to your repair shop.

9) Buy a Franchisee
You will be competing with the likes of Best Buy’s Geek Squad, and big companies such as RadioShack and CompUSA. However, you will have an advantage over these national stores, because you will be focusing at the local level. Some established businesses outsource their PC repair services and maintenance to local companies, while others let you but a franchise of theirs. These are a good ways to start a business, as marketing would become much easier when working under the umbrella of an established and well-known brand name. Among the good companies offering their franchises are Fast-teks and Computer Troubleshooters. You can also buy computer parts from an online retailer such as Newegg, or an auction site such as eBay.

10) Become a Data Doctor
One of the common occurrences in the world of personal computers is hard disk crashes. People usually store a ton of their important data on their computers, without thinking twice or considering backing it up, until the storage device stops working. So, you can consider becoming a drive saver or a data doctor who can recover clients’ data when their hard disk crashes.

Thus, you can go ahead and start you own computer repair business by keeping in mind all the important points mentioned in this article. If you play all the cards right, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to run your business successfully.

Computer Maintenance Agreement and Contract Tips

I have always ignored the idea of getting a computer maintenance agreement for my laptop because I use it for my personal usage for a couple of hours a day and do not store data that is of any commercial value. But, I do believe that a maintenance agreement is very vital if you use computers for business purpose as the data that is stored in the computer is important.

If you are a home business owner and have a couple of computers under you, or for that matter if you run a business that uses computers; then getting a computer maintenance agreement that covers all your computer and network repairs, labor, preventive maintenance and replacement parts from a reputed service center is utmost important. In this article, I will include some important agreement clauses that you must ensure are included in your contract.

At the onset, insist on an initial evaluation from the service center to ensure that all the components are in a good working state. This will be beneficial to both the parties as any issues that are found can be discussed and resolved so that there are no issues later as to who has to cover the costs. Further, it is always advisable to sign a 3 month contract initially wherein you can evaluate the performance of the services provided by the vendor. If you are satisfied with the performance, then you can sign a contract for a year or more. While signing an extended contract, ensure that you negotiate for further reduction in the charges.

Service providers also provide you with the option of buying hours instead of getting an annual contract. Under this kind of provision, if you purchase, for example 100 hours in a year, then you are entitled to 100 hours of service from the provider. This option works out cheaper and is recommended when you have a robust system set up at your organization. If required, you can purchase additional hours at a discounted rate if you have exhausted all the time that you had purchased earlier. With additional clause in your contract, you can even carry over the hours bought in one year to the next year.

Computer Maintenance Contract Clauses

Some of the important clauses that your contract must include are:

  • All printers, servers and workstations must be covered in the contract
  • The response time after a request for a service has been placed must be agreed upon. The usual response time is 4 hours
  • The service provider should agree to provide detailed service requests reports quarterly
  • A very important clause that you must be very firm on is that the service provider should provide non-contract services at a discounted rate
  • All preventive maintenance activities should be carried out quarterly. This will in the long run ensure that the numbers of service requests are reduced
  • The service provider should ensure that all scheduled back up processed are working. The criticality of your organization can decide the frequency with which they need to check on the processes
  • You should have a confidentiality agreement wherein the service provider cannot disclose your network or any data related details to any third-party
  • Ensure that the agreement covers all charges for spare parts, labor, travel and everything else that is covered in the agreement eliminating the probability of any hidden costs
  • The service provider should agree to send technicians who have passed some bare minimum certifications as per the requirement of your organization

Some of the clauses that no vendor will agree to in a computer maintenance agreement are:

  • Equipment upgrades and new installations
  • Any problems caused by power surges are usually not covered
  • Hardware malfunction due to liquid spills will not be covered
  • Data corruption due to virus and hackers are not covered
  • Support for software applications like Microsoft Office is not covered
  • Proactive Computer Maintenance Contract

A new concept in the computer maintenance area is a Proactive Maintenance Agreement which can also be defined as a preventive service. Under this kind of contract, you are guaranteed monthly scheduled visits as per the number of hours that you specify in the contract. Some of the additional features that are covered in this type of contract are:

  • Monitor free disk space
  • Manage printers
  • Monitor error logs
  • Manage directory structure
  • Maintain all directory and file permissions

I hope that the tips for computer maintenance contract and agreements mentioned above will be beneficial to you when you approach a service provider for the same. Just search for sample computer service agreements or contracts and you will come across templates online. You can design a similar template if you are a vendor. However if you are a buyer, just read through these templates so that you get a fair idea of how a contract is going to be, and make a list of questions you are going to ask the vendor. Good luck!

Tips to Choose a Home PC Repair Service

Suddenly find yourself in a situation where your PC isn’t working? Can’t seem to fix it? And you have tried everything from defragmentation to deleting temporary Internet files, but it still won’t do much for you. You could either have some kind of hardware problem, or a virus in your computer; the bottom line is you do not know what to do and you need to get some urgent work done.

You wouldn’t find yourself in such a bind if you had a PC repair service at your beck and call. So why didn’t you think of getting one before? Probably because you thought you could handle all of it yourself. Well, my friend, there are some technical details that even you don’t know.

Important Things To Consider Before Choosing a Home PC Repair Service

  • Meet with a computer consultant from a computer service agency and talk to him. If he tries to confuse you with technical jargon, then he is not worth choosing. Look for someone who can simplify and explain the problem to you in layman’s terms. You should also feel comfortable with your repair service ‘guy’, and also gage whether he has your best interests at heart.
  • Look for a consultant who is willing to listen to you, your problems, and your needs before shooting off solutions to you. The reason you are using this service is so that the person can understand and do what you want them to do, and offer you the best advice and solutions.
  • Always check for references before choosing a computer repair service. A friend may have referred you to a particular service, or you could have randomly picked it out of the yellow pages; irrespective of that you have to always check for references. Call up about three of their customers and ask if they were satisfied, what kind of service they got, and how everything worked out for them. Based on the answers you get, you can make a choice.
  • Find out about vendor-consultant relationships. Most computer repair consultants or service agencies will have some kind of tie with vendors that will help them in their work. This could be beneficial to you as a customer.
  • Check for the agency’s objectivity. Do they have an underlying agenda in recommending a particular product, or are they doing so in your best interest.
  • Find out about the kind of replacements the computer service agency will offer in the event that they are unable to send anyone for your PC repair. Do they have a tie up with another service for such cases? It is important that you look into details.
  • Check the rates that these agencies are charging. Are they at par with other agencies or do they seem exorbitant to you? Do not be fooled by an hourly or daily rate, ask for complete rates.
  • Check for memberships and computer training that do matter at the end of the day. Good agencies should have some kind of membership with computer associations such as the ICCA. The ICCA membership ensures the customer of high business standard and professional liability insurance. Also, the ICCA allows for reference checks to be conducted by the customer. Where training is concerned, it is important that the consultant be trained specifically in computer repairs.

So, the next time you find yourself stuck in a situation where your printer isn’t working, or the monitor doesn’t turn on, you need not go into a state of panic. Just pick up the phone and call your repair service, that you took such pains to choose and employ.