My PC is having some serious issues. It’s running way slow. It’s freezing up. And a couple of weeks ago I started getting “Your system has a virus!” pop-ups that just won’t go away. I’m not a techie, so where to take my decrepit machine for help? By decrepit, I mean a 2007 Gateway laptop. Tired of listening to my friends telling me to “just get a Mac already,” I decided to find out how much it would cost me for a professional diagnosis. I checked out Yelp for a list of computer repair shops, chose those with decent reviews and called for some quotes. Here’s what I got, and what I figured out in the end.
When I recited my computer-despair list, each shop offered basically the same thing: virus and spyware removal, anti-virus software installation (AVG unless otherwise specified), the vague “computer performance optimization,” and registry de-fragmentation (which I can’t explain to you but this guy can). I didn’t actually bring my machine to any of these places, so I can’t speak to quality-of-service—just to price. Here they are:
Compunet Advance Corporation, Sunset Park: 6216 Fifth Ave. between 62nd St. & 63rd St., 718-567-7660
Cost/Service $45 to remove viruses and spyware, and $65 to reformat, which basically erases everything, installs just the operating system so it’s like brand new. Which also means you lose everything that was on it.
How Long Same-day service, when you drop it off in morning. This one was a little less friendly than some of the others.
The Park Slope Geek, 347-282-2778
Cost/Service $45 to scan computer to find out what’s wrong. For $20-$40 more, they’ll remove virus and spyware, install anti-virus software (if the virus is super easy to get rid of, it’s included in the $45 price).
How Long: A one-man operation and he works a regular 9-5 job, so it could take two to three days. This guy seemed really nice, very friendly and he was helpful with all my questions.
The Wright Corner, Prospect Heights: 646 Dean St., Suite 1A, between Carlton Ave. & Vanderbilt Ave., 646-544-03485
Cost/Service: $75 to remove unnecessary software, scan everything, remove spyware and viruses, install new anti-virus software.
How Long: One day if your drop it off with in the morning. The lady I spoke to was very nice, and she even called me back when my phone dropped the call.
Main PC, Gravesend: 1312 Avenue U, between 13th St. & 14th St., 718-627-4681
Cost/Service: $75 – removes virus and spyware, tune-up, installs anti-virus software
How Long: One day.
Best Price Computer Repair, Gravesend: 1941 McDonald Ave. between Quentin Rd. & Woodside Ave., 347-374-6534
Cost/Service: $85 to removes viruses and spyware, reformats of entire system, install Norton anti-virus software.
How long: Usually the same day. The man I spoke to talked really fast and told me I wouldn’t find a better price in town.
Park Slope Computers, 498 Seventh Ave., 718-768-7070
Cost/ Service: $95 for registry defrag and to remove viruses, spyware and unnecessary programs and installs anti-virus software.
How long: One day, two at most.
Loki Projects, Carroll Gardens: 91 Third Pl., Apt.2, 740 535-6227
Cost/Service: $75/hr for removing viruses, spyware, and unnecessary programs; and installing anti-virus software. And looking for anything else wrong.
How long: Pick up or drop off, hopefully as quickly as possible.
In the end I went with my favorite choice, spending… nothing. After the computer pros told me what they’d do, I figured I could try the same things myself. I downloaded AVG, the free anti-virus software (which took care of the virus), I deleted unnecessary programs that were somehow lurking in the hard drive (Bejeweled? Ultimate Mahjong? Really?), and I defragmented my registry.
It’s only been a day, but my computer’s running faster, there isn’t the same lag between clicking on a program and its actual opening, and the machine hasn’t frozen once yet. Maybe a bona-fide pro could have done a bit more—maybe they would have rooted a little deeper into the morass—but for now, my 2007 Gateway is running like a spankin’ 2008.