Price check: How much to fix my laptop?

computercropMy 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.

16 Comment

  • I would also highly recommend downloading->installing->scanning with MalewareBytes http://www.malwarebytes.org – the best maleware software out there which is also free
    and obviously, make sure you have a firewall – either the built in Windows firewall or a paid product.

    Rofi Neron
    http://ITDualism.wordpress.com

  • Thanks for doing this research! My PC at home currently has a virus, and I’ve been dragging my feet — and just flat-out ignoring my computer, haha. I will check out AVG!

  • Avast is another good free virus software choice.

    For spyware, you might try Spybot.

  • Which registry defrag did you end up using? Did you use the free version?

  • You could download Avast and Advanced SystemCare both for free and easy to use. I think the key to the average computer user is to get into the habit of running these utilities at least once a month. You will save repair fees and perhaps even expand the life of your computer.

  • I just did the defrag that is an option in my computer.

  • look at the size of the screen on the computer up there … it’s a beauuuty.

  • Its true, they charge you for something you can mostly do yourself. Aside from changing your own mother/logic board there are a lot of updates and fixes you can make with the help of the internet.

    Example: Tekserve once gave me a $500 estimate to upgrade my laptop memory from .5 GB to 1 GB. I bought the memory myself for $100 and installed it in less than 2 minutes. Amazing!

  • Agree about the DYI. Oh, and for the Mac folks out there… don’t spend the money on the memory upgrade. You can order Mac memory chips online from a million different places and pop it in yourself, for about 1/2 price.

    Oh, this surprised me. Unless it’s changed with the fancy aluminum models… the memory is just under the battery BUT you need a tiny tiny screwdriver. I had to wait to upgrade my memory until I could borrow a tiny tiny screwdriver from a friend the next day.

  • (And discharge any static build up before handling your memory… like touch the radiator next to your table)

  • Just install Ubuntu. If you don’t have any proprietary software that MUST be done on a PC, and unless you’re a graphic designer, Ubuntu does everything you need.

    And it’s FREE!

  • WE USE AN INCREDIBLY AMAZING COMPUTER FIX-IT GUY NAMED, GEORGE SERRANO. HE REALLY KNOWS HIS STUFF! HE COMES TO YOU! HE’S A LONG TIME FRIEND WHO I WHOLE HEARTEDLY RECOMMEND. VERY DEPENDABLE AND FAIR! HIS NUMBER IS 1-877-713-6792. OH YEAH, HE DOES MAC&PC!

    • I swear by Jay. He makes house calls, works quickly, doesn’t charge enough and is thoroughly entertaining to have around. 718-483-6294.

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  • I myself was ignoring my laptop for over a year, in favor of the campus computer lab of all places – until WALTER came along & basically revamped my entire system…& for a steep discount, too! Considering what I *could’ve* paid, Walter is my knight in shining armor, lol! Need help? Feel free to email Walter @ ntelos763@yahoo.com – ciao 4 now! :-)

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