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Directive has been serving the Oneonta area since 1993, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

5 Steps to Take Before Going to a Computer Repair Shop

Fotolia 98669974 SUh oh, your PC or laptop is starting to act up again. If it’s been checked for software problems, you’re most likely dealing with an issue with the hardware. Looks like it's time for a trip to the repair shop--but before you go, you need to make a few preparations. Here are the five things you need to consider before taking your computer in for repair.

  1. Be selective with whom you entrust your device.
    Unfortunately, not all repair shops are created equal. An established business with a history of satisfied clients is a much better choice than the guy who lives a few blocks over who’s “super good with computers” and fixes them up in his basement. Furthermore, don’t be any less selective when it comes to which shop you plan to use. Does the one you’re considering have a privacy policy? After all, you are handing an essential piece of property over to them, so you want to be sure that they are doing everything they can to keep your data secure. You should also find out what measures the repair shop will take if any confidential data sees the light of day. This information will help you make the best choice of repair shop.
  2. Make sure you have a data backup.
    While the risk of the repair shop somehow costing you your data is considerably small, there’s still a possibility of some level of data loss. In order to ensure your data will be safe as your machine is repaired, you should be sure to keep a copy of its contents. This is actually a good practice to follow in general. Data loss can be caused by a lot more than just hardware failure, but a solid Backup and Disaster Recovery strategy can help to minimize these effects.
  3. Remove any personal data before repair, or make sure it is encrypted.
    Regardless of how trustworthy a business is, there’s always the chance that there’s a bad egg among its staff members. To make sure your data is really and truly safe from loss or theft, you should make sure that data is no longer present on the machine. Alternatively, or additionally, it can’t hurt to encrypt the information stored on the machine. That way, if someone does manage to extract your data, all they will get is a jumbled, indecipherable mess.
  4. Keep your software keys.
    If you rely on certain software solutions in order to remain productive, this is especially important to keep in mind. There is always the chance that part of the repair process will have the unfortunate result of wiping away your essential programs. If this is the case, you will want to have these keys, as you will need them in order to reinstall your solutions later. This even includes your device’s operating system.
  5. Make it as easy as possible to access your device.
    Granted, we don’t give this advice very often, but in order to make the repairs necessary, the technicians at the repair shop will need to be able to get in and check that everything is again in tip-top shape. You can make this much easier by disabling the need for a password before logging into Windows, allowing the repair tech to do what they need to do. It may also be a good idea to write a detailed description of the problem and attach it to the exterior of the machine to help the technicians try to identify the problem at hand. If you can, it’s also a good idea to save a copy of your description and configure your machine to display the file when the machine boots up. To do so, save a copy of your file to the Start menu Startup Folder, which can be found here: %appdata%\microsoft\windows\start menu\programs\startup\

Unfortunately, things break sometimes. Trying to have these things fixed shouldn’t cause a bigger problem, so you should follow these steps to avoid potential issues. Of course, there is another option that you should definitely consider.

An MSP, or a managed service provider, is your best option to have your equipment repairs handled. Able to attend to both your hardware and software needs, an MSP’s job is to keep your equipment from breaking down in the first place by monitoring it for issues in its software and hardware. With an MSP in your corner, you could have a new, working device that’s equipped with the solutions you work with and able to access your data in the same amount of time it would take the repair shop to hopefully fix your old device.