By Steven Schaeneman, a Springfield, MA computer repair technician - 9/16/2013
The first time I ever brought my computer to a repair shop for service was shortly after I bought it from Comp USA in Holyoke, MA 1999. I had a problem with my HP computer were I could not reinstall the operating system, there was a know problem with the recovery system. I needed to reinstall the OS because I had gotten a computer virus. When I brought it back to Comp USA the store manager had me talk to a very young kid that was going to fix it, he had to of been no older then 16 years old, I told him the problem and he told me he would fix it.
I picked up my computer later that day and brought it home, it did not start up and I was upset. It was my first computer, I had just bought it 2 months earlier and paid $2000 for it. At the time I did not know anything about technical PC repair issues. I called HP for help instead of bringing it back to Comp USA and they explained to me over the phone how to get my computer to start up, I never took my computer to another repair shop after that.
I will never forget what I went through that day and I do not want other people to go through the same thing. When a customer comes to pick up their computer after I have repaired it I insist they turn it on and fully test it out before paying me. I then give a hand written guarantee that the problem is fixed, its good for 30 to 90 days depending on what the repair involved.
The number one thing I would be concerned about if I ever needed to bring my computer into a repair shop would be the safety of my personal data. I do not want my identity or bank account information to get into the wrong hands. Most people have no idea of the person or persons that are going to be looking at there computer when they bring it to a computer repair facility. People who use my service to get their computer repaired know who I am and were I live, no one else works on the computers but me, if there is a problem I am accountable for it and I do not like problems. I take great pride in being honest with my customers, I do not comb hard drives looking for personal information.
The safety of personal data also involves protecting it from accidental deletion, I have hard countless story's of people taking their computer in for repair only to find out that their computer hard drive has been reformatted back to its original state and all their personal data is missing. This can get confusing because a lot of people want their computers completely restored back to original factory condition and other people absolutely depend on their data being there. I do not make mistakes in this area of service, I take every precaution necessary to insure no data gets accidentally lost.
Pricing will vary widely from computer repair shop to computer repair shop in Springfield, MA. It seems to me that the more experience a technician has, the cheaper the repair price is going to be. This is because experienced people get the job done quicker, also they are able to fix computer components rather then replace them. Computer shops act fast to replace hard drives, rather then take the time to see if the hard drive problem can be corrected. A corrupted hard drive can mean many different things, often if they are properly reformatted out side of the computer they can be brought back to a properly working state that meets system standards and the correct bench marks. This can be technical and once again this is why hands on experience is important when seeking a computer repair technician.
People in Springfield, MA who need to choose a computer repair technician should ask their friends for a referral, the type of person you ask will have an impact on the advice you receive. Example: If you know someone who works with or studies computers they will probably have good advice on were to take it. If someone you know is not having very good luck with their computer you might not want to ask them for advice. If you do not know any smart computer savvy people, I would then look at online reviews, usually their will be lots of negative reviews for places that are not good and if a place is good their will not be any reviews. People only seem to write online reviews when they are unhappy with a service. I believe the computer service reviews for the Western Mass area are accurate, type the name of the business in a search box along with the word review, do not just go to one website, go to at least three to get an unbiased opinion.
One of the reasons I give a good guarantee with my repair work is, I believe if someone is not happy they will bring the computer back to me rather then write a bad review. I strive to satisfy all my customers.
A lot of computer repair shops in Springfield, MA will offer a free diagnoses. When a computer is having a problem it is pretty straightforward what the problem is, it is just a matter of whether or not the customer wants to spend the money to have it fixed. Computer shops realize if they have your computer and are offering you a free diagnoses you will feel more inclined to go ahead with the repair even if it does not make financial sense. Most of the time I can accurately diagnose the problem when speaking to the customer over the phone. If I need to look at the computer there is never a charge or a guilt trip if the customer chooses not to spend the money on having the computer or laptop repaired.
My skill level
I have been repairing computer and laptop software and hardware problems on a professional basis in the Springfield, MA area since 2000. My interpretation of a professional is someone who has been doing the same job on a daily bases for over five years and supports them selves doing their responsibility. I know for a fact that nothing beats experience when it comes to this field, mechanical ability and intelligences also plays a role.
Even though my area of expertise is in data recovery, software configuration and hardware troubleshooting. I do get into a lot of other areas. Network server configuration and hand written html, css, php and cmd prompts are those areas. Command prompt is needed to work with advanced areas of the Windows operating system and registry. I do all my own coding when making my websites and don't rely on pre designed website templates or html generators. I stick to a strict html 5 standard that passes w3 validation. I love coding and networking but they are not my biggest areas of expertise. Small business networking and Microsoft Outlook configuration are pretty straight forward. I do assist people at an advanced level for these services. I help a lot of small businesses with Microsoft Outlook migration and configuration. Not all versions of Microsoft Outlook are backwards compatible when upgrading the software, Microsoft says they are but this is only with the latest versions. There are free migration tools available, but this software can be hit or miss. I have the experience needed for dealing with these issues.
The services I offer
I am able to get most non-starting computers to start with out having to reinstall the original operating system. One thing that sets me apart from other computer repair technicians is my ability to remove computer viruses with out having to wipe out the hard drive. Most computer technicians will agree that the most through and fastest way to ride a computer of a virus or a corrupted hard drive is to reinstall the original operating system. Most savvy computer users believe having to reinstall an operating system is no big deal. Its never a big deal until they have to do it. Recovery partitions and system images can be full of glitches, most modern computers no longer come with factory recovery CD's, they have to be specially ordered at a high cost. I have these factory CD's for most makes and models of computers and laptops. I do not sell then or make copies, but I can reinstall the original factory software to most computers including Windows 8 and 8.1.
I learned early on there is two types of customers. The ones that absolutely need there data backup and or recovered and the ones that already have there data secured or just don't have any data that is important. Not everybody is able to back their stuff up on facebook. If they are a tax accountant they have to keep there customers data securely stored off the internet (aka) the cloud, this is the law. Passwords and encrypted data is meant to be broken and when it happens people do not usually find out about it until its to late. Some times people never find out there being spied on. Software engineers are taught in college that there always has to be a back door into what ever they design "just in case". One of the things hackers like to do is to brake into other peoples websites and cause discrete typos and grammar mistakes. Please if you see any of this on my website report it to me so I can track these hackers down and report them to the internet police.
When I have a customer that absolutely needs there data back up or recovered do to hardware failure, the first thing I do before even trying to repair the computer is retrieve there data. I am able to do this even if the computer can not start or there is a problem with the hard drive. Most computer repair shops will make people sign a waver saying they are not responsible for your data if it gets lost or accidentally deleted. If the customer already has there data back up and does not need me to back up there data I have an absolute hands off policy. That persons data will not be looked at or leave the computer, I do not care who it is.
Viruses and malware
This is the biggest reason people seek my services. I have a lot of different ways for dealing with these problems, most of them are trade secures. I know I am good at this, because I have a steady stream of other computer technicians that come to me for my services.