Most requested computer repair services?
June 26, 2006 10:48 AM   Subscribe

ComputerRepairFilter: To those of you who do computer repair for a living, what are your most requested services?

Since I'm between jobs, and likely between locales, I am trying to scare up some freelance work. What are the services that are most requested of you (with the exception of specialties: high level consulting, etc.). I figured spyware and virus removal is a big one. What are some others?
posted by chrisfromthelc to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I moonlight at my brother-in-law's computer store on a regular basis. In order I'd say:
  1. Virus and Spyware removal, and all the weird Windows behaviour that goes on with many of them.
  2. Installing new / replacement modems. (Store is in a rural area so many people have dialup / need dialup / get their modems zapped by lightning)
  3. "My computer is too slow!" - General Windows maintenance to speed up the system. Often customers get upselled for more RAM (if their machine is of recent vintage) or a new motherboard/CPU/RAM (if it's older)
  4. Everything else.

posted by chuma at 10:56 AM on June 26, 2006

Oops, I should have put #4 as: network setup and maintenance. Including many house calls to setup home LANs and WLANs.
posted by chuma at 10:57 AM on June 26, 2006

"I can't print"

"I need a new hard drive."

"The computer needs more memory" (the user is often confused about "hard drive space" and "RAM")

fairly simple stuff, usually.
posted by drstein at 11:05 AM on June 26, 2006

From working in public education, the most common request was: "my computer doesn't work" followed closely by "my computer won't print."

The causes were usually pilot error or installation of malware.
posted by plinth at 11:06 AM on June 26, 2006

Hardware only issues:
1. Gunked up Keyboard or mouse
2. Hard drive dead/dying
3. CD Drive dead/dying
4. Display dead/dying
5. Laser Printer fuser replacement
posted by Gungho at 11:20 AM on June 26, 2006

"The computer needs more memory" (the user is often confused about "hard drive space" and "RAM")

that makes me want to punch them in the face everytime.
posted by ShawnString at 11:30 AM on June 26, 2006

I used to do regular pc repair as a revenue stream, but now I do it on a limited basis for free. The more common problems are hardware issues (power supply, mainboard, memory), os reinstallations, and a wee bit o' malware and viruse contamination (but not as much as you might think).

Some have problems getting their online connections to work or accessing their email accounts, and I see alot of pc owners without drivers for the hardware, which can mean opening up the case and googling model numbers.
posted by rinkjustice at 11:31 AM on June 26, 2006

When I worked tech support, here were my top 10 calls:

1. Spyware
3. Illegal Windows not updating
4. "Is there a setting to make the internet go faster"
5. Wireless keyboard/mouse sync problems (no, really)
6. Networking issues (90% of the time, the NIC is disabled in Windows for no reason, the other 10% of the time it's a real issue.)
7. Power supply is turned off/IDE cable has come loose
8. User has formatted (to "make it go faster"), but has no drivers, nor any clue what "drivers" are. CPUZ is your friend.
9. User has installed another virus scanner on top of Norton Antivirus 90 day free trial.
10. Computer will not boot, because user has been turning computer on and off via power bar (okay, that only happened once, but I thought it was hilarious).

I worked at my universities ISP, though, so most of my calls were for kids in residence. You get a lot of "fiddlers" in that situation. YMMV.
posted by Drunken_munky at 11:42 AM on June 26, 2006

1 "Yahoo games isn't working." - Spyware/Virus Removal
2 "It takes forever to open Yahoo games." - Windows Tune-up (aka, remove the 20 installations of The Muppet's Toolbar/Weather/Clock/StockReport/PCTunerZ/Antivirus! Software that mysteriously increase boot time to roughly 5 hours.)
3 "Did Yahoo games get bought out? Bastards!" - Program settings, like the homepage has been changed from Yahoo games to google. General user error type stuff.
4 *Confusion, lots of hand waving* - Hardware problem. Mouse came unplugged, hard drive may be failing, etc.

All kidding aside, I've found those categories of problems the most common. Be prepared for more work (but imagine dollar signs) whenever you hear a phrase similar to "I tried to fiddle with it before I called you."
posted by empyrean at 12:26 PM on June 26, 2006

Yeah, I managed an ISP helpdesk and lately, was fielding *all* business support calls for a tech company, so fiddlers are no strangers.

Thanks for the input. I really wanted to hear what the requests are so I can gear my ads to those areas.
posted by chrisfromthelc at 1:50 PM on June 26, 2006

Its stunning how many people don't use anti-virus and ad-aware. Especially considering you can get both for free! However, their strange behaviour is your gain in $$.

You could probably offer a yearly recurring "tune-up service" where you run ad-aware and McAfee or somesuch. The analogy with a car service might help sell it, people understand their car needs regular servicing, so why not their PC too.
posted by Joh at 5:32 PM on June 26, 2006

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