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; making backups of your data; 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® 11
As of 2023, we no longer recommend Microsoft Windows 10. Windows 11 is now well established and very stable.
Granted, we don’t really recommend Windows 11 either. There seems to be a goal of superficial ease of use, but that’s just a layer of frosting on top of the same old Windows underneath (and the even older Windows beneath that!). Its makers also keep tinkering with it, adding things like advertisements, while removing features people have enjoyed for literally decades.
Me, I don’t enjoy the sands shifting under my feet. Realistically, a lot of people need to or want to keep using Windows, and so we press on.
What are my options?
If you have Windows 10, try “Windows Update” to see if it will let you move up to Windows 11. (It may take leaving the computer on for several days and re-running Windows Update periodically to find out.) Back up your data first!
Chances are good that 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.
For me, this is a waste of a perfectly good computer. 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 one computer to another, Windows 7 to 8, then 8.1, then 10, and now 11, is a process intended to enrich 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 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 basically gas money, $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.
But yeah, not all customers.
Linux is not for everyone. Let me review some of the problem spots.
1. 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.
2. Certain creative programs, such as most CAD programs and Adobe products, don’t work on Linux at the moment. You might not want to learn new programs for drawing, painting, video editing, etc. if you have a lot of money and time invested in programs you already have, or if you need specific programs in a professional environment that requires them.
That being said, there are several top-tier professional options for Linux including: BlackMagic DaVinci Resolve for video editing, effects and post-production, including Fairlight for audio mixing and editing; Blender for making your own 2D and 3D animation, either by yourself or as part of a full studio effort; plus Ardour and Reaper for music and audio production.
3. It’s super awkward to install Microsoft Office on Linux, and you have to use an older version. If you love Outlook or are an advanced user of Microsoft Excel, use the online service (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, but to be fair it isn’t as well-written as Microsoft Office. (Microsoft Teams is available for Linux, however.)
4. 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.
5. If you do your own 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 computer for tax preparation.
6. Finally, there are some people who are really resistant to change. If you’re trying to convince a risk-averse or anxious person to use Linux, keep the presentation light and simple. For basic computer use, it’s really less hassle to use day-to-day than Windows … which is why I have spent so many words on Linux, and why I use it myself.
Free is … liberating.
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. (I can point you toward some of the better ones.)
If you like the programs on Linux, tell your friends. A lot of the popular free software available for Linux is also available free 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 (Linux people invented the “app store”!) and try to guide you to the better choices. And it’s all free (99.99% of it, anyway).
Linux is for real people, by real people.
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.
Is there something that you particularly like about your new, free software? You can easily track down the people who wrote the thing you like, and send them a thank you note. It might be someone working alone, or it could be part of a nonprofit group, or employees of a megacorporation… but no matter who they are, they have given of themselves to do something for the world, and they would love your respectful and kind feedback. 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 in it and you have some free time, you can volunteer to write or translate manuals, test features, or help others. “Paying it forward” is how the Linux and free software communities work.