In our throw-away society, our first response when something breaks is often to dispose of it and buy a new one.  While there are times when this is the best course of action, there are many things that people forget to take into consideration.  By all means, if your computer is a 15 year old dinosaur running Windows 95, please end its (and your) suffering, and buy a new computer.  Otherwise, here are a few things to consider before you decide that computer repair is not for you.

1) A new computer costs a lot more than you think – One of the most common responses I hear when I give customers a bigger than expected quote is “Heck, I can buy a new one at ____ – Mart for $300.”  Yes you can, but I can guarantee you that it will be a piece of junk right out of the box.  The computer will not live up to your needs/wants and when it breaks 1 month out of warranty, you will repeat the process.  In order to buy a minimal, but quality, computer, you should expect to pay between $400-600 for a desktop and between $800 and $1000 for a laptop.  One or two repairs on the cheap (notice I didn’t say inexpensive) computer will easily put you in the price range of getting a quality one in the first place.  Not to mention that a quality machine should last you 3-5 years at least without any major computer repairs.  Compare this to a cheap computer that with a few repairs may last you 1-3 years.  Even if your current computer is ancient, save your money and make sure that you are replacing it with a quality one.

2) There are a lot of hidden costs (time & money) when buying a new computer – Will your old software work on the new computer?  Will your printer, scanner, and other peripherals still work with the new computer?  How will you transfer all of your files from the old to new computer?

These are all things that people don’t think about until it is too late.  As many people find out, there is a lot of time involved in setting up a new computer and getting it ready.  If this isn’t something that you know how to do, then you need to pay someone else to take care of it.

3) You are already used to the computer you have – For some people this is more important than others, but affects everyone.  Remember, if you haven’t upgraded in a while, a new computer will probably come with a different version of Windows and therefore a bit of a learning curve.  If you are comfortable with computers, this may not be a big deal.  Trust me though, you will quickly tire of having to constantly help out your family members.  For those of you who aren’t comfortable with computers (you know who you are and most of you aren’t ashamed to admit it), switching to a new Windows version can throw you off potentially for MONTHS.  Fixing your old computer will allow you to continue using it for a little while longer.

Are there times when buying a new computer really is the better course of action? Of course there are.  Unfortunately though, this seems to be the default response of most people when it really shouldn’t be.  One of my favorites is when a computer is having a software problem (eg. a virus or something caused by user error) and someone turns down a repair.  If your computer is a little old, you were planning on replacing it soon anyway, and you can pay CASH for it, then go ahead and buy a new computer.  Likewise, if you made the mistake of buying a cheap computer and this isn’t the first time something has broken, I’d recommend you don’t waste money on computer repair.  Learn from your lesson and buy something quality next time.

One more reason that you should consider computer repair vs. replacement, is that you can keep the old computer around for your kids.  This way, they won’t use and break your shiny new computer.  This, my friends, is worth its weight in gold.

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