No one likes to put their cherished computer in the hands of a stranger – or pay the high price of a repair job. But sometimes a troubled computer truly needs professional help. Before brining in (or shipping off) your computer for servicing, heed these words of advice:
Be prepared to answer four critical questions:
- What did the error message say when your computer failed?
- When did the problem occur? (When you turned on the machine? While using your modem?)
- If the problem occurred more than once, was there a patter to when it happened?
- Were you doing anything out of the ordinary when you experienced the problem?
When bringing in a computer for repair…
- Get an RMA (return merchandise authorization) number for confirmation and protection. You may also need this number to check the status of your computer as it is being serviced.
- Get a phone number to call to check the repair status. Also get the company’s e-mail address.
- Get a receipt. Unless you ask, one may not be offered.
What to take to the service center…
- System disks (either floppies or CD)
- Any software causing problems
- The small instruction booklet with the certificate of authenticity on the cover. (This applies to Windows 95/98 users only.)
- The computer without the monitor, unless you have checked in advance on bringing it in as well.
When sending away a computer under warranty…
- Find the manufacturer’s phone number.
- Find your receipt or credit card statement with proof of warranty.
- Get the original packaging. Or call the service line to have proper packaging shipped to you.
- Send only what you are told to send. Leave your cords and laptop carrying case at home.
- Include a written description of the symptoms. Make it clear and detailed.
Important Geek Tip
If you want to retain the information on your hard drive, put a request in writing for the company to back up your material when the machine is repaired. A backup is required for all machines under warranty, but only if the request is made. Without it, your hard drive may be replaced and your files will be lost.