Most computer problems happen at the beginning and end of a computer’s life. By the end of the computer’s life, most owners are ready to move it down the road or have already bought its replacement. Technical support for an old computer is rare. However, manufacturing problems, user ignorance, and software issues can spring up immediately when starting up that new computer.
This means that it is vital to have good technical support when buying a new computer. Fortunately, most large computer retailers will offer this support as part of the sale’s package. The type of support offered can be an important issue also. Depending on the level of the new owner’s expertise concerning the hardware and software just purchased, onsite technical support can be more significant than telephone support.
Onsite support is normally an extra purchase above the cost of the computer. This type of support will run from one to three years depending on the contract purchased. Having technicians come to your home or place of business is not cheap. These maintenance agreements can cost from one third of the cost of the computer up to the purchase price of the equipment.
At the very least, you should never buy a new computer that does not include some type of technical support for the first 60 to 90 days. One year of support is better. If you have any idea about how to use a computer, telephone support will probably be sufficient. Even over the telephone, a major hardware or software issue can usually be resolved. This may mean shipping it back to the company or the manufacturer. Make sure that you understand who pays for the shipping.
The shaking and bumping that happens in shipping can create some loose connections inside the computer. Likewise, if components were not plugged in tightly, they may have issues even if shipping did not create problems. While most computers do not have these problems, a few do. Stores do not open computers and plug them in before selling them to customers. This means that you will be the first to discover that your computer has problems.
The store will almost always offer either technical support or replacement of defective equipment or both. Call the store first unless you have previously been instructed otherwise. The store will have someone who has some experience with this hardware unless it is a big discount department store. In that case, you will be instructed to call the manufacturer’s number. Within the first 60 days or so manufacturers will rarely give you problems with trying to solve your difficulty.
Software issues can sometimes be more difficult than hardware problems. These can be tough to diagnose because they often look like a hardware problem. A good technician will be able to guide you through the steps necessary to distinguish what type of problem that you have and help to solve it.
Try to avoid technical support that involves a cost meter running at $50 or more dollars per hour. Always make sure about what type of help is available before buying a new computer. You will discover it is often better to pay a high price for a computer with good technical support behind it than to get a bargain with no support. Being billed for an hour or two of expensive help can quickly eliminate a bargain price on a computer.