Price check: How much to fix my laptop?

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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
$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
$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
: $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
$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
: $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
: $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.

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  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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!


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

  7. 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 @ [email protected] – ciao 4 now! :-)

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