It’s not easy to find a quality on-site computer repair service. There are plenty of companies out there who will connect to your computer remotely and perform repairs for less than what we charge. But here is what they won’t be able to do:
We sit with you, listen to you, and work alongside you, to think, solve, and educate.
We listen to your computer, too; certain failing parts make sounds that the remote technician won’t hear. Better to head off trouble and save your data now than wait for total failure later.
We may borrow a vacuum and clean out the computer if it is clogged with dust, or absent-mindedly remove crud from the bottom of your mouse, leaving you with a less frustrating experience.
A quick touch of the cables or a glance at your modem’s LED lights while we work could save you hours of tedium on the phone with an earnest call center employee who must run you through a list of things to check.
We’re your first and second level support, and we cheerfully work to make all the devices in your home work together in the way they were meant to do – without needing to sell you more stuff.
Add to that decades of experience, plus a streak of paranoia that helps us take the security of your data seriously, and we hope you will conclude that our service remains, as always, second to none.
Owner and tech
Services include diagnosis and repair; setup, installation, and upgrades; backups; networking things to work together; security checks and virus removal; password resets; and much more.
Our standard rate for Computer Services is $75.00 per hour. State and local taxes apply. Time is billed in ½ hour increments, with a ½ hour minimum. The average visit is billed at 2 hours, and may include multiple services.
Whatever it is, we will show you how to set it up, get it working, and make it do what you want it to do. Make the most of your computer and its programs, your entertainment system, or other devices.
Our standard rate for Tutoring is $40.00 per hour. Tutoring is tax-exempt. Time is billed in ½ hour increments, with a 1 hour minimum. We find most of our customers save up multiple questions to ask, anyway.
Have a computer you don’t need anymore? We will be glad to take it off your hands. This service includes erasure or destruction of the hard drive(s). Recovering data will incur an extra charge. All parts of your old computer will be donated to charity, sent to recycling, or salvaged for other projects. It’s the “green” choice!
Disposal is $10.00 per computer. You can also drop off old devices at certain places such as Best Buy.
Need a loaner computer while yours is out of action? If we need to take your system away for repair, a loaner computer may help you stay in touch and on schedule. Ask in advance to see if we have one for you! Our spares aren’t great computers, but the price is right. If you use a loaner with any sort of data files, be sure to keep them on your own USB storage device.
Loaners are offered free of charge, subject to availability.
- Services are offered on evenings and weekends. Limited weekday hours are available.
- Rush services are not available. We don’t do time-sensitive business applications.
- These are in-home or on-site services, with free pick-up and delivery if required.
- We aren’t very deep into Apple computers, so we aren’t qualified to solve serious Mac problems.
- State sales taxes will be charged on all items except as noted.
- In very rare cases we may require a travel fee based on mileage.
You don’t need to throw away your old Windows 7 or Windows 10 computer.
Moving on to Windows® 10
We can move your old computer to Windows 10, if it can handle it. We’ll look at your system and help you decide whether upgrade or replacement to Windows 10 is right for you.
Discussion and consultation are free. The fee to upgrade is $120.00, and includes making sure your data is backed up before we begin, and restoring your data after the upgrade. You will also need to purchase a copy of Windows 10 at your favorite store or online, and a device to store your data if needed.
How long will Windows 10 last? We don’t know, but it should be at least until 2025.
But now there’s a Windows® 11?
Well, no sooner do I tell people they can move to Windows 10, than Microsoft tells us there’s going to be a Windows 11. We’re starting to see these new Windows 11 computers on the market.
Chances are your older computer will not be allowed to use Windows 11. Microsoft specifically wants you to buy a new computer to help solve some security problems with Windows. We won’t be offering Windows 11 upgrade services until maybe the summer of 2022. Microsoft has some more information on Windows 11 here.
Tired of the mandatory upgrade treadmill? Read on.
Upcycling, Peace and Calm
Why you have lost that peace and calm.
So here’s the thing. Upgrading from Windows 7 to 8, then 8.1, then 10, and now 11, is a process intended to benefit Microsoft, and not you, the owner of the computer. And it’s a bit of a hassle as they change programs, mix up your menus and shuffle settings around, move your documents from place to place, add online features in the hopes you will become dependent on their services, and perhaps extract some extra money out of you to rent software yearly or monthly.
The experience of using a computer like this is full of petty annoyances. Popups remind you to use features you have not tried. Manufacturer supervisory programs nudge you for updates. Antivirus software (which many people also rent) slows the computer down with continuous updates and scans for your safety.
These things add more burdens to your life, when all you wanted was to get things done. It’s now normal for your computer to interrupt you, pester you, even try to sell stuff to you, while you are trying to work. It never used to be this way. It does not have to be this way.
We use and recommend Linux for many customers.
We’re great proponents of the freedom and simplicity of Linux as an alternative to Windows. It is not a product you have to buy (although you can). It’s not owned and controlled by one company or person who needs to make money from it. Instead, it’s a collaborative effort by thousands of companies and individuals, and everyone is encouraged to share it with others. In short, Linux is a free, global community project to benefit all mankind. I’ve been using Linux for almost 15 years.
You can get a taste in about 30 minutes to see whether you like it. You can continue to try it indefinitely without making any changes to your computer. If you like it, install it; it’s free. Give it to your friends to use; it’s really free.
It’s also really, really secure. For most people there is no need for antivirus or similar programs; Linux is immune to the millions of viruses that are made to infect Windows machines. Windows computers that are connected to the internet are subject to about 200 million attacks each year—about 83% of all malware attacks. There are so many Windows computers out there that it naturally becomes the most tempting target.
Linux is not perfect; like Windows, it was written by humans who make mistakes. When they find them, they fix them. Then you’ll be offered those fixes. (Unlike Windows, they won’t be forced on you until you’re ready for them.) Typically, Linux will get security updates for 5 years. After that you will want to upgrade to the newest version, and you’ll be good for another 5 years. Upgrades are free, too, and they happen on your terms.
If you are interested in a calm, advertising-free, high-security computer that lets you get on with your life with minimal drama and interruptions, give us a call. We’ll help you discover if Linux can meet your needs or not.
Discussion, consultation, and demonstrations are free. Our fee to install Linux is $10.00 per computer. We will show you the basics at no charge. You might want to spend an hour or two at our regular rates to backup your computer and restore your data into Linux.
Linux is not for everyone. Let me review some of the problem spots.
There’s no “Linux Corporation” looking after your interests. Apple and Microsoft expect you to have an account with them which includes email and other services, like backing up your data onto their servers automatically. With Linux you can choose the services you want to use, but the convenience isn’t built-in.
If you need Adobe products or certain other creative programs to do your work, at the moment they don’t work on Linux. You probably won’t want to learn new programs for drawing, painting, video editing, etc. if you have a lot of money and time invested in them already.
It’s awkward to install Microsoft Office on Linux. If you love Outlook or are an advanced user of Microsoft Excel, it might be more trouble than you’d like, unless you use an online service like Windows 365, or keep another computer around for that purpose. Linux comes with its own office suite, LibreOffice, which reads and writes Microsoft Office files. For most people it will do fine. (Microsoft Teams is available for Linux, however.)
If you have a disability you should evaluate Linux very carefully, as its Accessibility services aren’t as polished as those offered on Windows or Apple computers.
Finally, if you do your income taxes using a Windows program, that probably won’t work on Linux. You’ll need to switch to an online tax service, or have a separate Mac or Windows 10 or newer computer for tax preparation.
On the other hand, if you are willing to try the free alternatives, you might be surprised at what they can accomplish, and even more surprised at the friendly communities of fellow users who can help you learn to use your computer and its programs better.
If you like the programs on Linux, tell your friends. Popular free software available for Linux is also available for Windows and Mac computers, too.
There are many familiar programs available. Zoom, Discord, Spotify, Skype, WhatsApp, Dropbox, and many other online services are represented. Linux users use Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and other common web browsers. And yes, the Java edition of Minecraft, as well as thousands of games on Steam.
We’ll be glad to introduce you to Linux and recommend programs to help you accomplish things or to stay amused. We’ll help you browse through the software manager (think “app store”) and try to guide you to the better choices. And it’s all free (99.99% of it, anyway).
If any of this Linux stuff makes you happy or makes your life better, you can give a “pat on the back” to the real human beings behind the hundreds of thousands of “moving parts” that make your computer go. You can easily track down the people who wrote the thing you like, and send them a thank you note. They might be working alone, or they could be part of a nonprofit group. They often take suggestions. They might even take donations! The community that brought Linux and free software to life puts the “personal” back in “personal computer” in a way that some people have forgotten is possible.
Lastly, if your heart’s really in it and you have some free time, you can volunteer to write or translate manuals, test features, or help others.