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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Find the Cheapest Computer Repair Parts - Learn Computer Repair Basics

By JD Chang

While computer repair can be straightforward, often inspection companies or onsite diagnostic technicians don't have the right parts.

This can be a killing factor in how fast they fix your laptop or desktop.

Particularly with laptops, parts can be missing. This is because laptops are much smaller - their parts are harder to find, more expensive, and easier to break.

Example parts include: the thin LCD monitors, extremely thin optical drives like CD and DVD drivers (particularly rewritable DVD players), keyboards, laptop casing, and tiny laptop motherboards.

The advent of ultra mobile laptops like models from Asus and IBM have given way to even smaller and more powerful hardware parts. This has increased the likelihood that laptop troubleshooters won't have the right PC installation parts to fix problems onsite.

What you need to know about PC support hardware pieces

First, most hardware parts are made in bulk. Manufacturers in Taiwan, China, Malaysia, Eastern Europe, and South America build the vast majority of desktop parts - regardless of the manufacturer and model. Onsite computer inspection and diagnostic stores will usually bring the parts you need.

These parts include monitors, motherboards, hard drives, optical drives, components, wires, laptop and desktop casing, keyboards, and pretty much any other PC part you can think of.

The reason is because labor there is extremely cheap. A company like AMD can get processors developed for much cheaper and faster than in a rich first-world country like the U.S.

What you should do

When discussing any repair problems or PC issues with basic Apple or Dell support, be very specific about your laptop's year, model, and make. The more precise you are about the specific gigabyte harddrive, the exact monitor screen size and refresh rate, and the manufacturer chipset and motherboard type (eg, Intel vs AMD), the better your chances of them finding the right pieces and fixing your computer promptly.

If you're unsure what hardware is needed, I suggest you search the Internet to figure out what parts come standard with your laptop or desktop. Look at your manufacturer - whether that's Hewlett Packard, IBM, Asus, Lenovo, or Dell.

What if you can't find the right pieces

That's what computer experts are for! They can usually locate the parts, no matter how specialized, powerful, or tiny.

Generally these laptop hardware devices will be much more expensive, however - that's the price you pay for a laptop's portability.

Find the right parts today and solve all your problems! For more information, whether you're a PC or Mac user, desktop or laptop lover, hardware or software aficianado, is to browse through this site. The more you learn, the better off you'll be when your computer is running slowly or broken!

Best of luck.

John Dorian Chang is an expert computer technician specializing in PC repair. Click here to solve your computer support problems. Learn about PC computer repair parts now and save $1000s in the next 10 minutes!

Guide to Fixing Troubles With Your Computer

By Aureo Castro

How Can I Fix My Broken Computer?

If you need help in fixing your computer problems, then read on for important points that you need to consider to help you fix computer troubles when they come.

Everybody experiences computer problems. Some are serious while others are not. It pays to have enough know-how to solve simple computer failures because you never know when trouble will come. If you believe in Murphy's Law, then expect trouble at a time when you're finishing a report that has been past due and that you need to email immediately to your boss.

Troubleshooting logic is universal and is applicable to any problem that a human being faces in her everyday life such as when your car fails to start or your printer fails to print your document. It is a scheme of progressively eliminating probable causes until you find the real cause of the problem and solve it.

Know-how Required to Fix Troubles with Computers

Aside from a normally functioning brain, two types of know-how are needed to successfully troubleshoot a failed operation. One is what you might call principles of operation which can be likened to physical laws that nature obeys. They are foundational and they let us know that there is a problem and possibly define what the problem is. The other type is the methodical know-how or system of logic that can be used to isolate the problem and thereby expose it to various possible solutions. These two types of know-how are both easily learned as long as the person maintains an objective attitude, an open mind and patience for finding the right solution.

Make Friends with Geeks Who Can Help When Trouble Comes

If you feel that the use of computers will become a regular part of your professional life, it will be a good idea to develop friendships with computer geeks that you come across in both your professional and social life. Ask them questions when you meet them and don't forget to thank them for any advice they may give you. Ask for their contact numbers and check if you can contact them if you experience trouble with your computer.

Due to the vast explosion of knowledge brought about by the fast pace of technological development, it is impossible for one person to have sufficient know-how to get along in the fast paced world of business, Inevitably, you will come to a point that you know you have exhausted all that you know and that the time has come to seek the help of others who are better equipped to solve the problem.

Cultivate the Art of Asking for Help

I bring this point to emphasize the immense value of asking for help from others. Not only it is a useful habit to keep but also an essential skill required for survival in the highly competitive world of work. I want to reiterate the positive value of asking for help from others and I can go as far as saying that it can be a good virtue that everybody should develop. Some people are ashamed of asking for help from others, fearing that they may unwittingly declare their ignorance on certain matters. I say that you stand to possibly lose much more when you refuse to avail of the help that others may be willing to give.

Learn About Computers and Make Fixing Computer Troubles Easier

It will be worth your time to gain at least familiarity with the different parts of the computer and their particular role in servicing the needs of the user. Basically, the computer is a data-processing equipment that can do complex calculations with acceptable precision in tremendously less time than if done manually. Theoretically, the computer system includes the physical hardware, the programs that contain the instructions for processing the data, and the data that is being manipulated to come up with the desired results.

Is It a Hardware or Software Problem?

In the world of computers, we try to distinguish between the hardware and the software aspects of the operation. This is a useful tool that we can use to try to come to grips with the problem and determine where the failure is. By knowing with certainty that the failure is a hardware or software problem, we are able to immediately rule out one half of the possible causes of the problem.

Since the physical representation of data and programs has reached a certain degree of stability in computer systems, they are not normally being tagged as failure point when trouble occurs. While most parts of the computer are electronic in nature, there still remain some parts that are mechanical which are more likely to break down. Hence, mechanical failure is almost always an immediate suspect when trouble occurs.

Check That Devices Are Powered

Peripherals and other computer accessories may have a different source of power than the computer itself. When trouble comes, it would be wise to check if all peripherals and accessories needed for the application we are using are powered on. This is a basic troubleshooting technique that we most often miss.

When trouble comes, it is a good idea to check if all physical devices needed by the application are powered on and functioning properly. If all is well on the hardware side, we take a look at the application we are using including how well the application and the operating system work together. Lastly, we check if there is something wrong with the data we are using and see whether it conforms to the specifications of the application that is using it.

Approaches and Strategies For Fixing Broken Computers

Stepping the procedure is another way of trying to determine where the problem lies. Suppose we have been using our computer for doing something the same way as we have done in the past and nothing goes wrong. Then suddenly, something went awry and the results were not as expected. In such an instance, we may want to look back and see if we have done something different in this case which might explain why we got an unexpected result.

One way of finding out if the problem lies with the data we are using is to run the application using the same data on a different computer system. If the test goes fine in a different computer, then we suspect something is wrong with the computer we were using when we got the unexpected result.

In a problem situation where a lot of variables are involved, changing one variable at a time and looking at the results may provide greater understanding of the problem and may even point out the actual cause of the problem. This style of problem solving is what is commonly known as the trial and error method. This can be applied in all aspects of the computer problem.

In physical hardware troubleshooting, we can use a variety of similar parts with different capacities to see how the results vary with different hardware capacities. We can try to use our data with different application software or even with different operating systems to find out on which platforms our data is processed in the best possible way. In the same vein, we could try using different sets of data in the same application in the same computer system to find out what effect does the difference in the data sets has on the particular hardware and software combination.

Find Where the Bottleneck Lies

As we use our computer system over a period of time and as our data multiply in geometric progression, we sometimes observe a slowdown or even a stop in performance when using our computers. This results in the using up of the available resources that our computers have. In such as situation, we want to find out where the processing bottleneck lies. Either our processing power falls short or our storage space for data becomes limited. Either one or a combination solution would be able to solve this problem.

Hardware Solution Always Works

Almost always, a hardware solution will solve the problem but sometimes more remedial measures will be required. Upgrading components is an expensive proposition that sometimes could only provide limited benefits. It often happens that the bottleneck is only moved somewhere else and the problem remains unsolved. Sometimes, stop-gap measures would suffice in the meantime as the decision to acquire a more sophisticated hardware is being considered.

In all cases, trying inexpensive solutions first is a right approach such as when updating the application or operating system would provide improved performance without upgrading the physical hardware. However, upgrading to a more powerful hardware offers a more permanent solution. We should always go for the solution that gives the best benefits for the least cost to the computer user. I hope that this guide has provided you with valuable advice that can help you fix your computer troubles now and in the future.

Aureo P. Castro has been educated in journalism and information technology. He has written and edited technical reports and systems documentation. He also taught computer subjects using mainframe computers. He spends his time creating personal webs and making tutorial videos. He is currently undertaking personal learning projects on Cascading Style Sheets and Search Engine Optimization.

Aureo P. Castro's articles on computers and the Internet can be read at His video web site at shows the video tutorials he has created. He is looking for work opportunities as writer, editor or instructor for computer or Internet-related projects.

Copyright 2009 Aureo P. Castro

Computer Repair Centers 101

By JD Chang

Computer repair centers are invaluable for people who have broken PCs, desktops, laptops, Macs, and so forth.

Computer repair centers serve 3 functions:

1) Fix hardware problems
2) Fix software problems
3) Serve as a training center for computer technicians and computer support personnel
These repair centers for laptops and desktops are incredibly helpful because they:
1) Are generally cheap and inexpensive
2) Will solve 99% of problems thus saving you time and hassle
3) Are very experienced in dealing with the most common issues (eg, broken monitor, failing hard drive,
slow computers)

You should first do computer troubleshooting on your own - click here for some key advice.
To find the right computer support shop for you, you should use a Google Search for terms such as:
-Computer repair center
-Computer support center
-Local computer technicians
-Online computer support

These are just a start. It's best to find something local - area computer experts are generally more convenient should there be any hassles in fixing your desktop or laptop.
In this article, I will cover a few key things you should know about PC repair and support stores - including pricing, timing, warranties, and the like.

These repair shops are generally affordable, but make sure to get a quote upfront. This is vital to protecting your assets and your pocketbook. If it's a broken hard drive, have a cost estimate by doing online research. So forth for any problems - including software and hardware. Pricing should usually run by the hour - technicians and support people are paid hourly. In general, like car repair, there will be a parts fee and a labor fee. Make sure to doublecheck the computer parts fee to make sure the price is reasonable.
The computer labor fee is generally an hourly wage to technicians and repair people, which should run $20-$50 depending on level of expertise.

If you have a desktop PC, it's generally easy. Laptop PCs are more expensive because hard drives are smaller, motherboards are tinier, and monitors are specialized.
If you have a Mac, take it to an Apple Store - the geniuses will generally help solve all problems.

Generally computer repairs shouldn't take more than 2 weeks tops. It may take some time to order hardware parts, but that won't take longer than 2 weeks at most.
Most problems - such as a broken motherboard or lack of RAM - should be fixed within 24-48 hours.
Make sure they know it's an urgent computer problem - this will help them fix your laptop faster.

Whether you have a Dell or an IBM, an HP or an ACER, be very careful about voiding warranties. By taking your precious Thinkpad to a local laptop repair center, you could void the hardware warranty. This means that if your laptop dies, IBM won't replace the Thinkpad for you - you're on your own.
The same applies for Dell Latitudes, Acer laptops, Hewlett Packard models, pretty much any desktop or laptop PC brands. Call customer service to verify warranties and where/when you would void any insurance.
Final issues

Finally, be sure to do diligence on local PC repair shops. You never know the quality of work you'll get - read reviews on computer shopping sites, ask technician friends and computer experts, call your laptop manufacturer to get recommendations.

With something as important as your computer, before you take it into any shop, do your research. Backup all files if you can - and also make copies and write lists down of key hardware and software components so you know exactly what you're giving them and what was in it You don't want to have to worry about stolen hardware parts or stolen data files. I hope that helps! Best of luck fixing your computer at the local repair center. Cheers.

JD Chang is an expert computer technician specializing in PC repair. Click here to solve your computer support problems. Learn about computer repair centers now and save $1000s in the next 10 minutes!

Latest Acer Laptop Releases

By Frances Van Den Berg

Over the last year there haven't been many new Acer laptop releases, but those that have been released have been of top notch quality.

The most notable of the recent Acer laptop releases was the Ferrari 1100 that has added style and exclusivity to a gadget that is rapidly becoming every man's favourite toy. Another recent Acer laptop release is the sleek Aspire One ten-inch netbook, which is an upgrade of the previous Aspire one version and is immensely popular among portability-minded individuals. One of the most striking features of these laptops is the range of mouthwatering metallic colours they come in. Acer has cleverly maximised the screen size while still keeping the Aspire One light and portable. Ladies may be even more excited about the fact that the Aspire One Notebook now comes in pink.

The Acer 8930 gaming laptop, improved and released last year, is the antithesis of the Aspire one, as it is known as the giant of gaming laptops. The 18.4 inch monitor and NVIDIA GeForce 9700M GT graphics with 512MB of dedicated video memory offers one of the best gaming experiences around, although the price of $1800 (R18 000) is almost as hefty as this Acer laptop. The Aspire 8930 also boats a CineCrystal widescreen display and a Blu-Ray drive for a thrilling movie experience.

Three other notebook models powered by Acer's Gemstone platform were released last year: the 6930, 5735 and 4730. The 6930 is a hit with movie fans as the 16-inch HD Cine Crystal LCD panel and Dolby surround sound provide the laptop equivalent of home theatre heaven. The 5735 provides a large screen at a low price. The overall look and feel is that of a budget laptop but it does the job. The Aspire 4730 is almost priced as reasonably as a netbook but it offers all the added advantages of a laptop. This is the Acer laptop for the average Joe or college student; it is an average size and weight and has everything you need without all the unnecessary frills.

Online reviews show that people are generally very satisfied with their Acers laptops. They are of solid quality, good value and are the safe laptop option for many. Despite their reliable reputation, Acer is not stoic but keeps up with trends and the full range of Acer laptop options offer something for everyone.

Frances wrote this article for the online marketers My New Laptop laptops, notebooks and accessories a leading supplier of laptops, notebooks and accessories at prices to suit any budget.

How to Make Your Own Custom Shutdown Button For Windows XP

By Ken Harthun

I get a lot of email from people whose computers won't shut down properly; they either hang up or reboot endlessly. Sometimes, nothing at all happens and the only way out is to press and hold the power button. Rather than trying to answer each question, I wrote this tip and made it available to everyone to download.

Trying to diagnose what may be causing shutdown problems is difficult without my being at the machine. A Microsoft article, "Advanced troubleshooting for shutdown problems in Windows XP" (Article ID: 308029), describes the process, but it's not simple and leads off into many other related articles; such in-depth troubleshooting is usually beyond the average PC user.

Don't worry. Our friends at Microsoft gave us a way to force the computer to shut down that often works like magic: a command built into Windows XP called, appropriately, "shutdown.exe." Just click Start-->Run and type "shutdown -f -s -t 0" (without the quotes)--that's a zero, not the letter O--and hit Enter. Your PC will shut down immediately. The problem is, if you have to type that every time you want to shut down, it's almost as bad as the problem it solves-it's a nuisance. Here is how to turn that handy command into your own custom one-click shutdown button.

  1. First, right-click a blank spot anywhere on the desktop and select New-->Shortcut from the menu.
  2. Next, enter the command for your shortcut: %windir%system32shutdown.exe -f -s -t 0 and click Next.
  3. Give your shortcut a name such as Shutdown! and click Finish.
  4. Now, you'll want to give your shortcut a special icon, so right-click the new shortcut and click Properties.
  5. On the screen that pops up, click on the Shortcut tab, then click on Change Icon.
  6. You'll see a warning message. Don't worry about it. Click OK.
  7. You'll see another window with a bunch of different icons. Select the one that looks like the shutdown button on your XP start menu and click OK.
  8. Your shortcut's will change. Click OK.
  9. Your shortcut will now look like the XP shutdown button.
  10. Now, right-click on the shortcut and hold the button while dragging the shortcut to the Quick Launch bar. Drag the icon right next to the Start button.
  11. Now, when you want to shut down your computer, simply click on your new custom shutdown button.

I hope this solves your shutdown problems, and makes your working with XP a bit easier. For a free PDF document of this tip, complete with screen shots, click here. The article contains a link to download the file.

If you enjoyed this article and want more, you'll find plenty of good advice and news about all sorts of things at Ask the Geek, You can ask questions about anything at all, so hop on over. And be sure to check out the archives.

I've been playing with geeky stuff since 1959. In 1963, my father gave me a Digi Comp-1 computer and I quickly mastered the binary programming; my life-long interest in computers was launched. I've been working with computer technology since 1973 and advocating sensible security practices since 1989 when one of my employees infected a company computer with the Stoned virus. I quickly isolated the infected diskette and implemented strict security policies to prevent future infections.