1) What happens when I drop my computer off?
First, our technicians take an "image" (or "snapshot") of your computer's hard drive. This means that we have an exact replica of all your data, programs, etc. The reason we do this is that many computers come to us after a drop or liquid damage and the state of your hard drive (and thus your data) is unknown. Once we have the snapshot of your computer we can proceed with the diagnostic safely, knowing that absolute worst case, your data and settings are preserved.
Next, we move onto the troubleshooting. Depending on what is wrong with your computer this process can take 1 minute or 72 hours. Troubleshooting is 95% logic and 5% art. It's the 5% that take the longest. For example, wireless connectivity problems are notoriously difficult to troubleshoot. As much as we'd like to say exactly what's wrong with your computer the minute you bring it -- we simply must rely on our diagnostic process, and for liquid spills and drops this process takes 2-3 days.
If you are simply suffering from a virus often you can get your computer back the same day. However, a newer, more malicious type of virus is now more prevalent: so called "rootkits". Rootkits affect your root (home) installation of Windows and sometimes it's quicker and easier to reinstall rather than trying to clean up the devastation they bring.
We ALWAYS will try and remove the virus and its effects before re-installing your OS. (Mac users can skip this part, lucky!) Re-intalling the OS because of a virus is akin to dropping a nuclear bomb on a mosquito. Sure, it will kill all the mosquitos, but it kinda sucks every other way. That said, with certain nastier viruses the nuclear option remains on the table, and is perhaps the best option. We will work with you to figure out what works best.
2) How much is it going to cost, why, and is it worth fixing?
The fact is, that today's computing environment, especially on the Windows side, is simply a race to the bottom. That means that if you purchased a "budget" laptop or PC (under $600 or so) within the past 3 or 4 years, it might simply be better for your interests to purchase a new computer rather than fix your existing problems.
More unsavory repair shops often suggest fixing everything, which doesn't make sense. If you have a car worth $500 working and the you need an engine replacement that's going to cost double that, well obviously it's time to move on from your baby.
We feel your pain and will never suggest fixing a computer that isn't worth it (in our professional opinion) UNLESS you want to! We understand that sometimes familiarity is worth its weight in gold. If you have an older PC or Mac that you know like an old lover, then we will fix it for you!
Ok, so generally speaking what's worth fixing, and how much?
Worth fixing in general:
Hard Drive Failure ($159 with no data recovery, $229 with data recovery)
Cracked or Dim LCD ($149 to $349 but the vast majority fall between $149 and $229)
Bad Hinges / Plastic ($99 usually for part + labor, if your laptop won't close or flops around we can fix it)
Keyboards / Touchpad Failure ($69 to $149 depending on type and model)
Motherboard / Video Failure on Newer, Higher End PCs and Macs ($249 to $500 depending on type and model)
Wifi / Ethernet problems (free to $49)
Sometimes not worth fixing on older, lower end machines:
Motherboard / Video Failure
3) Why is it taking longer than 3 to 5 business days to fix my computer that needed a part ordered?
Computer parts are myriad and vast. Accordingly, finding them from a fast, reliable shipper is sometimes an exercise in futility. We always do our best to guarantee 3rd day delivery, but sometimes even top-rated sellers will not ship the next business day or even within 2 business days. If we haven't called you in 3 to 5 biz days from your drop-off you can bet dollars to donuts we are waiting on the part.
4) I've spilled liquid on my computer? How screwed am I and what should I do?
First, DO NOT POWER ON YOUR COMPUTER. Let it sit and bring it to us immediately. Liquid spills are Kryptonite to your computer and they are very, very tricky to fix. Hate to bear bad news, but you're probably screwed. If you spilled it on the keyboard area of your laptop you can expect to be looking at a new keyboard, a new touchpad, and possibly a new logic board and LCD as well. Pretty much you might have to replace the entire computer. AKA it's time to buy a new one.
HOWEVER, sometimes you get lucky. The soda trickled onto the frame, not the logic board. A alcohol bath fixes all the problems. But, liquid damage is hard, not going to lie. It's hard for our techs and it's hard on you. We do our best to always ERROR on the side of caution. Even if you replace a $500 logic board on a Macbook Pro we might find when we turn it on that your "s" and "v" keys don't work. Please be advised that although we do our best to attempt to head off these issues before we give a quote, we simply don't have the exact part matches needed to test these components before we get your computer turning on again.
5) My computer's screen is dim / cracked / has weird things on it, why can't you just fix that rather than replacing it?
For starters, there are literally tens of thousands of points of failure on your LCD. You have the backlight, the circuit board controlling it, and then the LCD itself. Replacing any of those components is simply not something anyone in the industry does because a) it's impossible and b) might be possible but only with hours upon hours of highly skilled labor.
It's simply easier and more cost effective to replace the LCD itself.
Certain Macbook Pros are the rare exception where you can crack the glass in front of the screen but not the panel itself. However, if you do have a cracked LCD panel (ink spill effect) it's only a matter of time (like a car's windshield) before the whole thing goes. Replace it ASAP to save your sanity.
6) You have really good reviews what do you do to get them?
Most importantly, we have a lot of experience and myriad skills. Matt, the owner, has been working with computers since he was 10. He also has a liberal arts degree so he can explain in plain English (and maybe debate political philosophy if you want) what is wrong with your computer.
Our techs are picked for their ability to diagnose obscure, "component" level repairs, not just their ability to create a resume. Every tech hired at Computer Love must first demonstrate ability to fix the most difficult motherboard and liquid damage repairs. We don't hire on certs or resumes necessarily, but on real world experience. Although a Ford engineer may have many fancy diplomas and certs, he probably isn't the person you want to try and pin down a tough problem with rough idling. Yea, theory is great and theory guides practice, but there is no substitute for experience.
Before starting Computer Love, Matt was deeply involved in arguably NYC's most successful computer repair company. Although personal circumstances led him elsewhere, Matt has the experience of running a 1st rate repair shop in arguably the nation's toughest, most competitive business environment. No offense to Seattle, but it's kinda a cow town by comparison :).
Furthermore, we believe in free diagnostics and flat rate fees. There is a reason lawyers charge by the hour, and it isn't for the client. Repairs on some computers go smoothly, repairs on others go down a rabbit hole of HOLY COW WHY DID THEY MAKE IT LIKE THIS. Apple, Sony and Samsung are notoriously non-fix friendly and often bury components deeply within what can only be described as tom foolery style design. Despite how easy or how hard the repair goes with your computer, the flat rate applies. This makes pricing easy for you, the customer.
When you call computer love we can give you a quote that is 90% accurate 90% of the time. This means the vast majority of repairs fall under our umbrella of flat rates and standard pricing. It's the obscure Sony or tough to fix Macbook Pro 2012 that we must first look at and access before getting an exact quote.
Whatever the quote is you can rest assured that it will never change and that the diagnostic to get the quote will always, always be free.