Laptop Repair: Fix It Or Replace It?

 Laptop Repair Can Be Costly, But Some Repairs Are Worth It.

When I made the switch from a desktop computer to a laptop, the idea that everything that previously took up my entire desk could now fit in such a small, portable device was revolutionary. However, the first time that my keyboard failed, I realized it wasn’t all wine and roses. With the smaller footprint comes the fact that parts and pieces often aren’t as easily interchangeable. I could no longer toss the old keyboard and plug in a new $30 generic version; this one was going to have to come from the manufacturer and was going to require a specifically skilled technician, in laptop repair, to replace. Before you resign yourself to the belief that any failure of a portable electronic device is going to warrant replacement, there are actually many things that are just as easy to fix on a laptop.

It’s no different to clean a virus or malware infection off a laptop than it is to repair a desktop. Software issues shouldn’t require that you spend any more than on a standard PC, or that you find a specialist. While laptop hard drives and RAM are different from the kinds found in desktop PCs, there are certain standard types and sizes, so you don’t have to get them through the manufacturer. This will allow any computer technician or even tech-savvy do-it-yourselfer to replace one. The power supply is actually external on a laptop (it’s the “brick” about half-way down the power cable), so replacing a dead power supply can be as easy as a Google search with the make and model number of your machine. However, if the connector where your cord plugs into your system has failed, that’s a different proposition that will require soldering and probably a specialist. While the card that gives newer laptops the ability to connect to a wireless network is often integrated into the motherboard, you can use an external adapter if your WiFi card fails. A wireless “dongle” plugs into a USB slot, and is about the size of a money clip.

On the other hand, certain things are quite a bit more challenging to repair or replace on a laptop. It’s very common for the screen to fail or become damaged; however, a replacement screen will be specific to your machine and often must come from the manufacturer. It can be costly, and you’ll want to have it installed by a laptop specialist. The keyboard is also going to be manufacturer specific. While replacing a motherboard on a desktop computer can be expensive, with a laptop it’s typically cost prohibitive. If you’ve got a really expensive, high-end laptop (like a gaming machine or fully-upgraded top of the line version) it MAY be worth the money to replace the motherboard, however it will involve backing up all your data, removing all the components, and completely rebuilding your system. It should only be undertaken by a laptop specialist and will likely be an expensive and time-consuming proposition.

Before you approve a laptop repair, be sure to ask if the parts will be new or refurbished, and what the warranty will be on the replaced part. It’s always best to have new parts, but sometimes older laptops no longer have new components available and require that replacements be from salvage. If your laptop is going to be shipped to a different facility, it’s best to make sure that you’ve backed up the data (if possible) before it leaves your hands. Many retailer-affiliated repair providers perform a system reformat and reinstall, effectively wiping your data, even if the repair doesn’t expressly require it. Some will even send you an entirely different machine to replace the one you sent in.

Drop us a note for more laptop repair tips if you’re still debating whether to get your portable device back up and running.

Source: Andrea Eldridge

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