Probably the most frequent question we get asked is “When will my computer be ready?”
When we repair a computer, we follow a check-list approach. Our check-list for problems has more than twenty different tasks.
Using a check-list ensures we find and fix every common problem, rather than relying on symptoms to identify only a few problems. However, a check-list approach is more time consuming; following a check-list ensures the best results but not the fastest results.
For very fast computers with few problems, they may complete our entire checklist in 1-2 days. For computers with viruses and multiple problems, 3-5 days may be required. Every computer is different and requires a different amount of time to repair. We do not have any method or system for predicting what problems a computer has and how long they will take to repair.
There are many variables that effect the time required to complete a computer, including: amount of RAM, processor speed, hard drive size, number of files and types of problems. Each of these variables have an effect on the time to repair, making it impossible to predict how long each repair step takes or when it will finish.
Often, we get calls asking if we have started work on a computer. Our large service bench area ensures that almost every computer begins service when it arrives.
After cleaning and examining the computer for visible problems, we start testing the memory and hard drive. Hard drive testing alone can take 20 minutes to 2 hours when there are no errors, but it can take 12 to 72 hours when a hard drive has errors requiring repeated retries for recovery. The hard drive testing software we use will retry any bad spots on the hard drive up to 1000 times. While these repeated attempts help to recover all data, they considerably increase the time required to repair a computer.
After the hardware testing is complete, we begin virus scans and software updates. Frequently, we find computers are lacking software updates from Microsoft because the user did not want to wait for the updates to download and install. This can result in updates requiring up to 4 hours or more for installation, especially when Windows Service Pack files are required.
Virus scans are also especially time consuming, because they require checking every file on the computer for problems. Once a virus is found, we may repeat the scan, or change to a different scanning tool that is specifically targeted to a virus. These scans can require 1-3 hours and can be repeated multiple times when necessary.
Since we use a comprehensive, check-list approach to repairs, our goal is to thoroughly check and fix all problems, saving all data and preserving the configuration of the computer. To reach this goal, we need time to complete each step in order. While skipping steps could speed up the process, it also leaves problems unrepaired and will cause the computer to be returned for follow-up service.
When a computer absolutely needs to be ready for pickup at a specific time, we ask that you tell us in advance when you want it picked up. In those cases, we’ll perform a limited service to solve hardware problems first. We’ll recommend returning the computer for the comprehensive service at a later time when we can complete all steps.
Since our technician may be servicing up to 20 computers per day, we ask that you avoid calling us for status updates. These calls are disruptive, requiring our technician to stop work on all systems while the paperwork is pulled, reviewed and discussed. While the ten minutes per day for each call seem minor, they add up to a significant disruption to our service process and only delay the completion of service.
When a computer repair is finished, we provide a comprehensive report listing all of the services completed and all of the problems found and fixed. Remember, our flat-rate service ensures that no matter how long it takes for us to finish the repair, the service charge does not change.