Computer repair experts identify common problems
by Mike Walker
Who we talked to:
Peter Messina, owner, Diagnostic Computer Resources, Concord, Mass.
Brett Greenberg, owner, Green Mountain Consulting LLC, Dedham, Mass.
Ken Hjulstrom, owner, Ken Hjulstrom, Roslindale, Mass.
Do you repair all types or brands of computers?
Messina: "Yes. We also do printers, laptops and desktops."
Hjulstrom: "So far, I do. If I can't fix it, I don't charge."
Are there any operating systems you don't work with?
Greenberg: "I only do PC-based computers."
Hjulstrom: "I've worked with all versions of Windows and Mac."
Do you prefer using Macintosh computers or PCs?
Greenberg: "I don't really have a preference. However, 96 percent of the world uses PCs as their operating system."
Hjulstrom: "I use a Mac right now because it can also use Windows. I wanted to have a machine that could do both."
How do you price computer repairs and services?
Messina: "It's $75 per hour. If it takes six hours to scan, we aren't going to change for those hours."
Greenberg: "It's $125 per hour."
Hjulstrom: "Generally, it's by the hour. I have a pretty good idea about how much it should cost. I charge $40 for technical work and $30 for teaching."
What is the most common computer problem you've seen?
Messina: "On the Windows side, it can have viruses and adware. On the Mac side, it can have hard drive or power supply problems."
Greenberg: "The most common computer problem is operator error. The client doesn't know how to protect themselves."
Hjulstrom: "The two most common problems I've seen are Internet-connectivity problems and viruses."
Do you have any suggestions to ensure that a computer functions properly and stays virus free?
Messina: “Don't use programs like Limewire, the music bootleg program. Also, don't click on those contest offers."
Greenberg: “They need to have solid virus and spyware protection."
Hjulstrom: "They should always be careful."
Do you have any funny stories about computer repair or a customer's reaction to something you've found on their computer?
Messina: "I've seen Pixie Sticks in the CD-ROM drive."
Greenberg: "I've had clients call me and show me these huge spreadsheets where they used a calculator to add up the columns, but they could've used Excel."
Hjulstrom: "I was working on a costumer's site, and they had a little poodle that was very friendly. I went to check a printer connection, and when I got down on all fours, the dog started attacking."