When to Repair and When to Replace.Damien Moye
One of the most frequently asked questions in this field is: should I pay for computer repair or get a new computer instead? This isn’t as tough to figure out as it sounds. Some people have an emotional attachment to their computers that makes it a bit more difficult than it has to be, but usually it’s pretty simple. So, let’s go over how to make the decision to repair or replace.
As a PC repair technician when I am looking at a computer my first goal is to decide whether or not it is worth fixing based on several different factors. Once I’ve settled on an answer for myself I will call a customer back and explain what I believe to be the best solution to them, whether it is going forward on the computer repair for their old machine or advising them that a new system would likely be a better investment. I do this because it is not my job to charge you as much as I can, it is my job to provide you with the best possible computer service I can. Sometimes this means you need to purchase a new computer, sometimes it means we should be repairing your current one.
The factors I use to evaluate whether you would be better served with a new machine or with repairs to your old one are cost, complexity of the pc repairs, and the age of the computer. Complex problems — such as an extensive virus infection that hasn’t been repaired in months requiring the entire system to be wiped, reinstalled from scratch, the data replaced, and the installation of more effective anti-virus solutions — can be very expensive because of the time involved in fixing them. Simple problems — like installing new RAM, resetting passwords, or optimizing a very slow computer — are quick and therefore relatively inexpensive. The age of the computer must also be taken into consideration because of the constantly changing standards in the field. A machine that was top of the line six months ago will only be somewhat impressive at the present, and in four years time companies will not even be designing programs to run on computers that slow.
The end result looks something like this: if it will cost you more than a new computer to fix the computer then you should buy a new computer and have someone transfer your data for you. If it will cost nearly as much as new computer to get it fixed and it is older than 2 years, then you definitely should be looking at new computers. If it will cost about half as much as a new computer and its newer than 4 years, fix it, older than 4 years then its really up to you. I would personally think about putting that money into a new computer and having someone transfer the data and secure it for me. If the computer is newer than 4 years and not too hard to fix, then of course get it fixed.
There are two more things that we have to consider before making a final decision though: software and data. If you are planning on getting a new computer, when you try and figure out the cost you have to remember how much time it will take to get all of your software installed and configured, and also how much data you have to move. These things can drive up the price on you, possibly making it a better option to fix your current computer. The other software related factor is: Do you have your original install discs and the serials/keys to install with? If you need Microsoft Office on your computer, and it’s on the old one but you don’t have the discs anymore then you’re looking at $150-$400 depending on what version you need. So always remember to factor in the costs of software that you might not have anymore and data transfer time. If you have many gigs of music, movies and other large files then data transfer could take hours.
So in the end you have to figure out costs. If the cost of a computer repair is going to be more or close to the cost of a new computer plus extra work (data transfer, software install, security,) then you want to replace it with a new computer. If it is going to be significantly less than a new computers cost then it should be repaired. One thing you should always do when you have a technician work on your computer is ask him up front to diagnose the situation and tell you as quick as he can whether you should be getting a new computer or having him fix this one.