Free PC Diagnostics: Confusion and the Truth

You see free diagnostics advertised everywhere. This subject needs lots of clarifying. It’s a touchy subject that angers both customers and computer repair shops alike. I’m no exception.

First, lets address the confusion. What exactly is a diagnostic?

… Is it a quick look at your PC and an educated guess?
… Is it a thorough testing of all your hardware and software?
… Is it a thorough troubleshooting and testing service?

The answer is yes to all of these. Therefore the question becomes, what can you expect for free? Do you really expect a repair shop to spend hours working on your PC for free? Do you think they can survive if they do this? Let me ask you this… do you work for free? What would happen if you did? Could you survive?

Now that we’ve cleared this up, let’s ask “What is a Free Diagnostic?” It is one of two things:

1) A “Bait and Switch” scheme to get you into the store
2) A quick look at your PC to get a general idea of the problem, i.e. a quick consultation.

Any honest repair shop will take a quick 10 – 20 minute look at the problem, or even do a simple repair for free, but that is all. However, some computer problems are complex to the point that even an experienced technician will not know what the problem is unless he or she does some in depth troubleshooting. That is not free, nor should it be.

Honest shops will not charge for all their time in these more complex cases if you decide not to do the repair, but they will charge a small diagnostic fee, usually somewhere between $30 to $60 (more for laptops). They still lose money, but at least they get something for their time.

The dishonest shops will pretend they did a diagnostic and then make up a story to get you to do an expensive repair, like replacing a hard drive, motherboard, or reinstalling Windows. This is also what usually happens with Big Box stores (including Office Supply stores). They also use this method to sell you a whole new computer.

In closing, a Word of Caution:

Do not pressure a repair shop to do a free diagnostic. If you do, they’ll either turn down the job and send you away, or recommend a major repair. They can’t spend the time to do a thorough diagnosis unpaid, and will recommend a broad range (i.e. major) repair to cover all the bases, which will definitely fix your computer.

If you’re fair to them, you may get out with a $100 repair. If not, it may be $400. This is more survival behavior than dishonesty (yes, I know it’s a fine line). They have bills to pay, and a need for food, clothing and shelter, just like you.

Laptop Repair: Finding a Good Repair Shop is Not Easy

Computer Laptop RepairWhile general laptop repair, like virus removal and software issues (Windows problems, etc.) are the same as for desktop computers, repairing laptop internal hardware components is a very difficult and specialized area.  Therefore, finding a good laptop repair shop is not so easy.

Why is this?  There are two reasons:

  1. Internal repairs require extreme precision and skill.  Soldering and electrical testing are also often required.
  2. Parts are very specific to each model, sometimes even varying among different revisions of the same model laptop.

Therefore a repair shop must have technicians with the appropriate skills.  Plus, the owner of the shop must have the knowledge and patience to deal with the often frustrating process of finding and ordering the correct parts for the job.  I personally went through hell learning this and often wondered if it was even worth bothering with laptop repairs. [Read more…]

Computer (PC) Repair for Tucson – Affordable, Quality Service

Hello Everyone,

My name is Steve and I’m the President of Saguaro PC Tech, LLC.  We are a locally owned and operated computer repair shop in Tucson, Arizona.

We’ve been in business for 8 years now, so we’re established in the community.  We are members of the Better Business Bureau where we proudly hold an A+ rating.  We’re also members of the Arizona Small Business Association(ASBA).

We provide a full range of computer, laptop and network repair, maintenance and configuration/setup services to both home and small business customers.  No matter what your problem, we can fix it, including:

  • Windows and Mac Repairs
  • Virus and Spyware removal.
  • Hardware repairs and upgrades.
  • Software repairs and upgrades.
  • Network installation and repair.
  • Data backup and recovery.
  • New PC system sales.

We can come to your home or office, or you can come to us.  We’re in the NE part of town, near the corner of Grant and Tanque Verde roads.  For more information, please visit our Tucson PC Repair Shop websiteor give us a call at (520) 250-5948.

Thanks.