Unless you know a professional PC Technician well enough that he or she would be willing to fix your computer for free, you will probably have to pay for your computer repair out of pocket.
Now we all probably know someone that dabbles in computers that has some knowledge of computers, sort of like a backyard car mechanic, but sometimes you will get what you paid for.
So where can you get a truly free computer repair?
Most computer warranties last exactly 1 year. Of course your computer probably failed just after the warranty expired. Anyway, whenever you have a problem that you believe might be covered under warranty, call them right away and open a case. At least you will get the date of failure on record. Even if your warranty expired the very next day, you should be covered because you reported the problem before the warranty expired. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard a customer complain that their warranty just expired.
Also, even if you believe you are already out of warranty, it doesn’t hurt to call the computer vendor anyway. There are recalls from time to time which might cover the problem you are having. I know of one massive motherboard problem Hewlett Packard had with HP Pavilion dv2000, dv6000 and dv9000 series notebooks, where they extended the warranty by “1” year for certain problems under what they called the “Limited Warranty Enhancement Program”. Many people missed out because they didn’t know about the extension. They just assumed their warranty was expired and they were on their own, so give them a call anyway.
One note about warranties, they usually don’t cover software problems such as virus and spyware infections. The most they “might” do for you is have you perform a System Recovery, which might wipe out your data, so beware.
While not technically free if you are paying premiums, some people are not aware that their renter’s or home owner’s insurance “might” cover computer repairs. Check your Insurance Policy or call your agent to find out.
The Power Company
Here in Hawaii, we sometimes have power outages or unstable power from time to time. I know for a fact that if your computer failure was cause by a power problem that the Power Company takes responsibility for, that you may be able to file a claim, and have them pay for your computer repair.
Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) Vendors
I always recommend using a UPS no matter what. A surge protector is not enough. Anyway, I know that in the past, at least one UPS company I know of would pay for your repair if their equipment didn’t protect your computer from a power problem. Of course, your situation had to meet certain conditions, but they were willing to put their money where their mouth is if you followed their guidelines.
Community Colleges and IT Vocational Schools
A big part of IT Training involves hands-on lab time. Some colleges may have programs where they can repair consumer’s computers for free so the students can get some real-world hands-on experience. Turn-around time is usually slow and you basically have to agree to let your computer become a guinea pig for the students, although they will be working under professional supervision.
Small Independent Computer Shops
This may require a trade of some sort, but might allow you to keep your cash. If you have 2 broken computers, and you are willing to part with one of them, a shop might take it in trade for your repair if he sees any value in it. If he believes he can repair the one you are giving up and can sell it for enough profit to cover the labor for fixing both computers, he might agree to take the computer in trade and repair your other computer with no out of pocket expense from you.
Also, if you have been doing business with a local computer shop and have a good relationship with them, they might be willing to assist you over the phone or in-shop for simple problems. What might seem like a difficult problem to you could be very simple to remedy for a pro, and they might not charge you for it if it only takes a few minutes to correct.
This method of business is as old as civilization itself. If you have a marketable service or skill, you might be able to trade services to get your computer repaired with no out of pocket expense from you, other than your own time and expertise.
To use an internet forum, your computer has to work well enough to still access the internet. If not, you need access to another computer you can use to communicate with the forum.
There are many, many internet forums with very patient people to guide you in fixing your computer for free. It is usually done from the forum website in text format. Most of these forums require you to register for a free account.
Sometimes, the forum threads might have already addressed the problem you are having and all you have to do is read the thread and apply the fix to your computer. Otherwise, you will begin an email-like conversation with a technician who volunteers their time in helping people with their computer problems. Be kind to them.
Repairing your computer through a forum may take many sessions which could last hours to days depending on your computer literacy, what software tools you have access to, and your schedules. What you don’t finish in one session, you can pick-up and continue on another session later-on.
Microsoft and Your Internet Service Provider
If your problem is internet related, you might get some free phone support from your ISP, but don’t expect much once they believe the problem may actually be your computer and not their equipment.
Most of the time, when you call Microsoft, they will probably want to bill you for their help, but there is free assistance available from Microsoft depending on the problem.
Contests and Coupons
You will have to keep your eyes and ears open for these specials, but I can assure you that they do exist.
While getting a FREE Computer Repair isn’t a daily thing, we are making it a weekly thing for one lucky customer at Gakidoo’s Computer Repair in Oahu, Hawaii. If you live in Oahu and want a chance to win a FREE Computer Repair from a seasoned Certified PC Technician, visit FreeComputerRepairHawaii [http://freecomputerrepairhawaii.com] for more information.
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