I will be the first to admit that I am technologically challenged. Even though I lived through the birth of the internet, it took me a long time to embrace new tech. Since I never had much interest in it, I never took any IT classes in high school or college. Perhaps my lack of exposure made me averse to it. However, I soon learned that if I didn’t keep up, I’d be overlooked in the job market. Furthermore, my ignorance left me vulnerable to overspending when I needed new devices and repairs. Here’s how my online education is helping me stay relevant and save on the costs of PC repairs.
5 Ways to Save on the Costs of PC Repairs
Whenever I approach a new challenge, I begin by reading. I try to learn as much as I can, especially before making a big purchase. Knowledge really is powerful. And, it can be a useful tool in helping you to save on the cost of PC repairs.
1. Know What You’re Buying
The most immediate financial benefit is that you become a more informed buyer. It is much harder for someone to take advantage of you if you’ve done your homework. Once you know more about the different components and which specs matter most in your PC, you’ll have a better idea of what you’ll need. Additionally, you’ll know which questions to ask. Furthermore, you also learn which manufacturers and models to avoid.
Your primary purpose for the computer will also determine how much you’ll need to spend. Shopping around and talking to people can help you determine which computer best suits your needs and budget. Sites like Laptop vs Laptop can give you a summary and side-by-side comparison of specs and price points as well.
2. Prevent Overspending
Another reason I do my research is to prevent myself from overspending. When I bought my first laptop, I completely relied on the advice of an acquaintance. Not only did he talk me into buying a higher-end gaming computer I didn’t need, but he also tried selling me expensive warranties. As a college student, I could barely afford to eat, let alone pay for costly add-ons.
Furthermore, when I asked for recommendations, he would send me to his friends or associates where he would earn a commission. Had I done an online search instead for more affordable repair shops, I could have saved tons of money.
3. Tutorials for Troubleshooting
The most significant way that I have saved on the costs of PC repairs was by learning to do my own troubleshooting. Sure, turning your computer off and then back on again will solve many issues. However, there are times when you will need a little more finesse and in-depth knowledge to find the fix.
Although I could spend $50 at a PC repair shop to run a diagnostic for me, I prefer to try it myself first. A Google search of the problem will usually direct you to sites that show you how to troubleshoot it. You can also find step-by-step tech tutorials and YouTube videos that can walk you through common issues. If I had to estimate, I have been able to solve my own issues about 75% of the time.
Unfortunately, if a virus corrupts your files or you experience a serious hardware malfunction, there’s no way to fix it yourself. In these cases, it’s best to seek expert advice.
4. Bring Dinosaurs Back to Life
Another way I’ve used this knowledge for my financial benefit was by salvaging computers deemed outdated or beyond repair. Learning how to run my own diagnostic scans and optimize the startup menu has helped me bring some tech dinosaurs out of the graveyard.
While it doesn’t work every time, it has saved us thousands of dollars over the years. For example, my husband invested in a really nice computer during college. However, it was riddled with viruses and malware. He set it aside and forgot about it for several years until we came across it while cleaning out the office. By running a few scans, cleanups, and installing a new antivirus, I was able to revive it and pass it on to my niece. Not only did we get more use out of the initial investment, but it also saved someone else from buying a new laptop.
5. Ask for Recommendations
Although I was ignorant in the beginning, I have learned a lot about basic PC maintenance and repair. While online tech libraries provided a wealth of information, I learned even more by talking to people and asking friends for help. I embraced the fact that I was a novice, and stopped worrying about asking stupid questions.
Most people were happy to answer them and talk shop. They directed me to the best resources, advised me on programs worth investing in, and offered second opinions on complex computer problems. Their recommendations have likely saved me thousands of dollars in unnecessary purchases and PC repair costs.
However, when I needed a professional, they also offered recommendations for PC repair shops in my area with a good reputation. On their suggestions, I have found competent techs who know what their doing, explain the process, and won’t rip you off. And really, you can’t put a price tag on finding a service provider you can trust.
Helpful Sites for Learning about PCs
For those who are starting out from the very beginning like I was, here are a few sites that helped me along the way.
- YouTube – This was the first place I went for troubleshooting tutorials. If you type in your specific issue, you can usually find a video that will walk you through the process step by step. It’s a free resource, but you could spend hours watching videos to find what you need.
- Bleeping Computer – I really like this site because it caters to users at any level. The layout is very organized and user-friendly, providing easy access to the glossary of terms, articles, tutorials, and forums. It also offers discounts for online courses through its site.
- edX – I have used this site to take several college-level courses for free. they have offerings from universities around the world. You can choose general or specialized courses, and learn at your own pace. Best of all, it’s free unless you want to pay for the certification.
While it can be overwhelming to learn something new, it can also be liberating. You don’t have to become an expert, but a little information can go a long way towards saving you on the costs of PC repairs.
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Jenny Smedra is an avid world traveler, ESL teacher, former archaeologist, and freelance writer. Choosing a life abroad had strengthened her commitment to finding ways to bring people together across language and cultural barriers. While most of her time is dedicated to either working with children, she also enjoys good friends, good food, and new adventures.