Depending on the age and value of a computer, sometimes a repair is just not worth it. Many people buy cheap bargain computers from retailers like Best-Buy, Micro-Center, or OfficeMax. While these computers may have come at a seemingly great deal, eventually you might have to ask yourself; “Is this computer worth the cost of the repair?” Computers can be totaled just like a car after an accident or major malfunction. At some point most computers will experience a hardware or software malfunction where the repair cost could exceed the actual value of the computer. Many people who come into South City Computer for our expert computer repair services want to know if they should move forward with the cost of the repair, or if they should just total their computer and look at a new computer purchase.
5 of the most common issues that total a computer
Most computers can be considered “totaled” if the motherboard starts to malfunction. This can be caused for a variety of reasons. The most common reason is the capacitors on the motherboard will begin to bulge and leak. This is not an easy repair, and will most likely require the entire motherboard to be replaced on the computer. Think of the motherboard like the engine in your car, usually if your engine locks up or seriously malfunctions, you would probably not pay to replace the engine and would seek to purchase another car.
While it seems silly to throw away a laptop just because the screen is shattered or goes dark, usually the price of repairing a screen is more than just putting that money toward a replacement laptop computer. A replacement screen will vary depending on the computer. The cost of the labor to replace a screen, while reasonable, can make the cost of the repair more than the value of the computer.
Viruses and Rootkits
On older computers having viruses and/or a rootkit is almost a fact of life. A computer that is infected with viruses and/or a rootkit is usually repairable, but if the computer is old this service may be too costly to invest in an old computer. You can usually determine whether your computer is too old for this repair by looking at the version of Windows running on it. If it is at least 2 versions behind, you probably don’t want to spend a lot of money on a total operating system repair.
Broken or Failing Power Jack
The point where the computer attaches to the power supply, known as the DC jack, sometimes becomes a point of failure on a laptop computer. On most laptops the DC jack is usually connected directly to the motherboard and the force and movement exerted from plugging and unplugging the power supply usually breaks this off of the motherboard. You may notice the power jack wiggles around when it plugs in, and may turn off and on when the computer is moved. There usually is no easy fix for this, and will cause the entire motherboard to need to be replaced.
Broken/Dead Hard Drive
No Operating System Found? Eventually the hard drive on your computer may die. Unfortunately on almost all newer computers the Windows recovery partition is included on the hard drive, and becomes un-recoverable after the hard drive dies. Windows 8 computers do not even have a license key on the outside of the computer anymore, and if the hard drive dies, you have to pay to replace the hard drive and re-purchase Windows 8.
A replacement hard drive will vary in price based on the size and speed of the hard drive. The real cost comes into the cost of the replacement Windows operating system and the time it takes to re-install and re-setup the Windows operating system.
Some older computers have a recovery CD that comes with the computer or can be ordered from the computer manufacturer. These CD’s are usually not too costly, but can take time to get. Since time is money you may have to consider is the computer worth the wait or should you just purchase a replacement.
Ultimately there is no one size fits all way to figure out if your computer should be totaled, or incur the cost of a repair. Essentially it is based on the value you place on your computer.
If you are unsure of whether or not your computer should be totaled or repaired, bring it in to South City Computer for expert honest computer repair advice. We can give you an estimate of what your computer is worth based on market value, and let you know about what the repair cost is that your will incur on the computer.