Computer Tech advice for Windows

By beerabuser30 · 35 replies
Nov 9, 2005
  1. Obviously you guys know quite a bit of stuff. In about 6 months I will be servicing computers the job is all lined up and ready to go I just need to finish my education. Most of it will be going into people houses that have Windows since they are all Dells. What programs should I get to diagnose Windows problems? If they can't get on the internet is there a disk I can make to search for viruses or adaware or can I just boot avg and adaware from a disk? Is there anything as far as programs go that you think I should get?
  2. PanicX

    PanicX TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 669

    Check this guide to Knoppix out.

    Edited by Poertner_1274: fixed url
    Edited by PanicX: nullified the fix. take that!
  3. beerabuser30

    beerabuser30 TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 200

    I tried downloading it from one of the mirror sites and either I am to dumb to figure it out or it is not working. Any suggestions?
  4. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    Are you sure you are going for the right job?
  5. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    If it's a 'proper' job ...

    RealBlackStuff might have a point, but if it's a proper job with some official connection to Dell, you will certainly be trained first and everything you need will be supplied. Probably a USB drive with lots of stuff on it.

    Dont panic yet, but you should not be asking us this question, it's one for your future employee - unless you plan to go-it-alone, in which case, RBS is probably DEAD RIGHT.
  6. beerabuser30

    beerabuser30 TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 200

    I will have to get my DCSE but that will all be self study. I have been hired because of a friend to run the Dell service area for a very large market it is a ton of money I'll learn everything that needs to be known to do the job right I joined this site to learn,I spend several hours a day studying for my a+ cert. There are just somethings I don't know. The only person who actually responded to the question asked was panicx so I don't think I am alone on not knowing some of this stuff.
  7. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    what do you expect from dell
    don't buy a dell
  8. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    benefit of doubt

    I find that all too many who have pursued a formal degree and certification have had their intellectual skills stunted by the process they go through to get that degree or certification.

    In contrast, you can achieve a level of breath-taking demonstrable expertise in your field as long as you pursue self directed studies ...learning never ends for the truly gifted.

    All right, give you benefit of the doubt. Most people with the experience we have would be very hesitant indeed about plunging into the repair-man business. Many, many things can take days of research to solve, and I'm afraid customers are going to be irate if you take 30 minutes.....

    But if I did....

    I would take as absolutely essential the following...

    A portable PC, because your client PC will probably be mute. This is to access the web by phone for reseaching the problem, downloading fixes, downloading drivers etc.

    A USB drive, by means of which you can transfer to the shot machine all the above, plus all the anti-virus, anti-this-that and the other as installable images.

    A full CD copy of each of the main operating systems you will meet, by means of which, if all else fails, you can reformat and rebuild the object machine - using their windows license serial. That's after you backed up all their data. If you don't follow this reasoning, you need to before you get sued.
  9. just_a_nobody

    just_a_nobody TS Rookie Posts: 182

    Don't buy an HP, or Compaq

    I do all my repairs at my home, except for a few clients where I know what the problem is (spyware from bad sites), but I go pick their box up and take it with me.

    I do this for several reasons; first, I am not in the customer's way; second, I have everything I need at my house; and third, I can work on more than one computer at a time. If a customer, demands I fix it at their house, I just tell them I won't, and to call someone else.

    Fixing a computer is not as simple as people think, it can take hours, as there is a lot of waiting for scans, downloads, installs, etc. I don't want the customer to have to sit there and wait, while asking me stupid questions, and breaking my train of thought.

    However, I live in a small community, and people all know me, so I can get away with
  10. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    Me to Geek squad employee:
    what happens if the cpu needs a new fan ?
    GS employee :we'll just have to send the computer to our repair center
    can you imagine 100.00 charge (for shipping only)for a 20.00 to 40.00 dollar fan
    Me to Geek squad employee: where are the intel nic cards?
    GS employee : intel does'nt make a pci nic card ther all on board!!
    Me to Geek squad employee:what would it cost to put a new hard drive in my 900mhz gateway??
    GS employee : Its not worth it,let us sell you a new pc with 3 months warranty!!!
  11. beerabuser30

    beerabuser30 TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 200

    I will have a contract from Dell to go in home and service computers. So taking them to my house won't be an option since I will have 6-8 people under me. I have my XP disks but not much else. I have a laptop and after the first of the year verizon will have a card that will be the speed of cable for 70 bucks a month. So I will have access to the web at all times. I will have my bachelors in technical management in Febuary, my a+ in two weeks. What is my next cert to get? I looked at the mcp XP cert because I am guessing that is the most common now and Dell warranties only last for 3 years so I can't imagine any old os systems from the last 3 years. Any thoughts?
  12. just_a_nobody

    just_a_nobody TS Rookie Posts: 182

    So, you will only be doing warranty work for Dell? It is hard to give you advice as to what programs you will need, because they are Dells under warranty. I would make sure Norton never makes it on a computer, and carry all the free anti-virus/spyware programs, including hijackthis. I have The Ultimate Boot Disk, which is a great tool, but seldom use it. Below, are the programs that I would load on a CD, and carry with me, then load on the customer's computer and sit down and show them how to run them.

    I only list here, the programs that I have used and I’m satisfied with, I know there are other great programs, but these are just the ones that I use, and can verify, as being worthy.


    Spybot S&D:
    Microsoft AntiSpyware (XP only):

    AVG Free:

    Ewido (XP only - trial version):

    Online HijackThis Analyzers
    HijackThis analyzer #1: (website)
    HijackThis analyzer #2: (website)
    HijackThis analyzer #3: (website)

    Online Virus Scan Website
    Trend Micro:

    Miscellaneous Tools
    Icon Restore:
    Erunt (XP only):
  13. Spike

    Spike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,168

    To anybody NOT planning on working for dell, but wanting to go into the repairman business, a little tip for you - quite obvious when you think about it.

    If it takes more than 30-45 minutes to fix a computer on-site, and it's a single machine job, take it with you and fix at home.

    1, you're not in your clients wat
    2, you don't have to waste time asking questions (though answert any you're asked - nomatter how stupid. It's just good customer service)
    3, while you're installing XP on one machine, you can be running spyware and virus scans on a second, running ram/hard drive tests on a third and building/installing hardware in a fourth machine.

    It's just far more productive that way, and so you can either charge a lower price, or you can make more money in the same time.

    Cruel, but that's just the way it works - how else does your average small shop stay in business? Of course, it's not like you're scamming anyone by spending less time than you otherwise would on their machine - you're just multi-tasking efficiently.
  14. just_a_nobody

    just_a_nobody TS Rookie Posts: 182

    You got it right Spike, that's the only way to go. I always clean my customer's computers, from top to bottom, which is hard to do at the customer's home. I only charge my cutomers $50, plus the cost of any parts, if needed, so they pretty much get a bargain, but if I did the repairs at their homes, I would have to charge more.
  15. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    No wonder Dell has such a rotten reputation!
    Look at the weenies they try to send into your home!
  16. gary_hendricks

    gary_hendricks TS Rookie Posts: 107

    Hi all

    What an interesting post going on here. I've always thought of going into a computer repair business. But I've done it for friends and family and personally find it horrendously low paying for the amount of effort and time put in.

    Passion aside, can you really make money from this?
  17. Spike

    Spike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,168

    You can, but unless you work as an agent for someone like dell (and I doubt even they make all THAT much really), the only way to really make money is to avoid spending a whole day on each site fixing one machine, and spend all day at home fixing 4, 5 or even 6 machines instead, if you can drum up the buisiness.

    Three things keep custom once you have it -

    1, Knowing what you're talking about or at the very least appearing to be a computer genius if you don't know what you're talking about.

    2, A bit of charisma never goes amiss. Make them like you, make them feel like they can trust you (and don't abuse that trust)

    3, A quick, clean, cheap and reliable service that the customer finds to be good quality and/or value for money.

    Of course, you have to get it first - the best thing for that its advertising, but more importantly, word of mouth.

    This may all sound like a bit of a con job, but remember, it's not. You are not purporting to give the client anything which you're not giving them. It's just business.

    The real money in computers however, exists elsewhere. To make it, you have to be either lucky, a computer guru, be better than everybody else, or else go to college for a few years while ignoring most things you learn on pper and trying them out for yourself in practice (nothing like experience) before starting at the bottom/middle of the corporate ladder and working your way to the top.

    Or of course you can learn like crazy and become an IT consultant. lol For that you need no experience, just a lot of time to read up, and a few bits of paper.

    At this point in time, I should add that everything I've just said about the real money in IT beyond repairman status is all speculation and presumption, just to air my views :) lol I've never worked at that level, and nor am I ever likely to (unless I become a consultant. lol)
  18. just_a_nobody

    just_a_nobody TS Rookie Posts: 182

    It all depends on how big of an area you live in, as for me, I only started doing it, because people kept begging me for help with their computers. I live in a rather small community, which happens to be secluded from the rest of the

    I really don't think you can make money running from house to house, and doing the repairs onsite, for the reasons stated above. You would have to charge an arm and leg, and then after awhile people might consider you a ripoff. The advantage of doing it in your own shop (home), is that you can work on several machines at the same time, as Spike mentioned. I do setup home networks in people's homes, but for the most part, I will not sit in a person's home, sitting there waiting for scans, downloads, installs, and such, it's a waste of my time and the customer's.
  19. beerabuser30

    beerabuser30 TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 200

    The money for Dell is actually quite amazing. Also I really appreciate the list of programs I will have everyne of those downladed tonight to start learning with.
  20. Spike

    Spike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,168

    It always is :D

    The money I was offered by a Upvc double glazing company to generate leads for them going door to door was pretty amazing, but needless to say I didn't make half of it.

    I do however sincerely hope it all turns out well for you. I'm persoanlly quite satisfied and assured in that I don't have a Dell ;)
  21. just_a_nobody

    just_a_nobody TS Rookie Posts: 182

    Also beer, you may want to try and get you a cheap machine, from somewhere, so you can practice on it. I have found some pretty good deals on ebay, but if there may be other sources near you, then look there too.

    Don't let these guys razz you, about Dell, just do the best you can, and best wishes to you.
  22. Spike

    Spike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,168

    :) you can BUILD a 3Ghz Celeron D machine with an 80GB drive and a 128MB 8x AGP card, onboard sound, Pioneer 110 DVD RW, and NIC for about £210-£230 (I suspect even less than that if you know where to look). The only thing that leaves is a monitor, which can be picked up for abot £15-20 second hand. :D

    I've always felt that the worst thing about starting a computer business properly is the thought of having one working part of each type of hardware for testing/troubleshooting purposes - that's where things start getting expensive if you're just starting out.
  23. beerabuser30

    beerabuser30 TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 200

    It's an hourly rate there is no commission so as long as I work 40 hours I should be ok. Since the computers I will be repairing are Dell's, work should be plentiful. Also after 6 months I wont be servicing I will just be running the operation. But before I get to that point I will need to do some servicing my self.
  24. just_a_nobody

    just_a_nobody TS Rookie Posts: 182

    I'm talkin an old junker for around $75 to $100 w/monitor, something you don't care if it goes up in smoke, or

    That's where ebay comes in handy, I bought 27 Nic cards for $15, on ebay, and 7 PCI video cards for $16.
  25. beerabuser30

    beerabuser30 TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 200

    Thank you just a nobody for some actual encouragement. I have a dell with an intel 2ghz and 512 ram that I mess around with. I just built my own comp with an amd 3800 and a gig of ram and I have a 3.2 ghz laptop with 512 ram so I have some toys to play with. The reason I joined this site is to read as much as I can, I may not know as much as everyone else but I am spending about 50 hours a week trying to learn. I am studying for my a+, I am taking classes at Devry and I am spending almost all of my free time playing around on the programs you guys have told me about.
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