This column ran back in June. I'm running it again this month because of the number of people who have asked me to run it again.
Computer repair is a tricky business. You never know what kind of problems you are going to be asked to solve and there is always the pressure to get it done quickly. Every call is a different challenge and most of the time it can take a half hour or more just looking around trying to get a handle on what's going on before the actual repairs even start.
Virus and malware cleanup calls usually always involve running one or more scans to "sweep" the computer for infected files and these scans can really run up the clock. There is nothing more frustrating than having to wait for a scan to complete and watching as the progress bar inches its way across the screen. The temptation to do other things while a scan is running is high, but doing other things while a scan is running on an already sick machine can just makes matters worse. It's best to tackle additional tasks after an infection is cleaned.
Let's face it, computer maintenance is expensive. At the typical hourly rate, one unexpected glitch such as a virus infection or registry problem can quickly add up to hundreds of dollars. And who's to say that next month it won't be something different?
And to add insult to injury, most of the issues that I regularly clean up wouldn't be an issue if people would just take the time to keep their machines properly maintained.
But what steps should people take? "Everyone" knows that they should have their system backed up and their antivirus up to date, but hardly anyone takes the time to learn how to do it properly let alone do it every month.
Most computer manufacturers assume everyone already knows what they need to do to keep their new machine maintained properly but that can be an unreasonable assumption to make, especially if the new computer owner has little or no experience.
And with computers as inexpensive as they are today more people who have never used one before are coming home with powerful systems that can confound even the most seasoned computer user.
Without proper maintenance it's only a matter of time before something goes wrong and the repair bill can approach the price of a new machine.
There's got to be a better way.
Wouldn't it be smarter to have an expert set up your machine and then maintain it every month and avoid costly repairs that could have been avoided with regular maintenance? Doesn't it make sense to have someone who knows what they're doing keep regular tabs on things and nip problems in the bud rather than letting them grow to the point where an expensive service call is inevitable?
Well, I think it is and I've spent some time putting together a program that does just that; gives regular computer users a way to keep their machines maintained on a regular basis at a cost that won't break the bank.
What I've put together here -- a computer service club, if you will -- is a way to offset the high cost of sudden repairs by performing regular monthly "check-ups" to make sure things are running smoothly. This way we can stop little issues before they become big ones.
We want to start out with a clean system, so when a person joins our club, we connect to their system and do a full tune up and get it running in tip-top shape. Even if it's infected with viruses or malware, we'll clean it first. We'll even set up the backup system and make sure it's configured properly.
Then, once a month, we reconnect and give the system a once over. We encourage people to use this time to ask any questions they have and we'll address any issues that may have come up over the previous month. We'll verify the system, the antivirus, the backup and the security settings. And we make sure they are all set for the next month.
So far, all of my "club members" seem pretty satisfied and we have been able to nip a few problems in the bud; just the way I planned.
If this sounds like something you would like to take part in, drop me a line or give me a call. I'll be happy to answer all of your questions.
Sean McCarthy fixes computers. He can be reached at (888) 752-9049 or help@ComputeThisOnline.com (no hyphens).