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What would it cost me to do what the Geek Squad is doing?

CMF

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I took the desktop to Best Buy today because it would not boot up and I purchased a extended service plan with them. As it turns out, the service plan only covers hardware failure and I have to pay for everything else.

They told me I had to buy and external hard drive so that I could back up all of the data on the desktop [hard drive $75 + data transfer $99]. Then, they would do a system recovery blah, blah, blah, yadi, yadi, ya, and reinstall Windows [$129]. At the same time, they will check if the hardware is OK and replace as necessary [this is supposed to be free].

The Geeks did not inspire confidence as they gave me incomplete or inaccurate information. Now the questions for Icarus and other pc savvy Tuggers: are there tools out there to help knuckleheads fix their own machines so that they don't have to reply on other knuckleheads to do the work? Or was taking it back to BB the path of least resistance?

In short, I turned the darn thing off when I went on vacation and all I could get was a black screen when I returned. The mouse would move, I could hit the Safe Boot mode and all that, but all paths lead to the black screen with a mouse pointer in the middle. I was running Vista btw.

Thoughts? Musings? Sympathy?

Charles
 

Jbart74

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Whatever you end up doing.... dump Vista and reload XP instead. You'll be much better off in the future. You can do all of the stuff that Geek Squad will charge you for for free, except the purchase of an external backup device. That could be an external hard drive, or if you only need to retain certain files it may be even cheaper to just buy a couple of 8 or 16G flash drives to back up the important files, photos, etc.... and just dump the rest.

I'll let someone else fill in the details on the easiest way to grab your files and reinstall windows from safe mode. I've watched people do it, but I'm no expert.
 

Icarus

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Hard to say. You will at least have a backup when you are done. Pay the man their money and keep your own backups from now on.

To do it yourself, you would have to remove the internal drive, put it into another working computer, then do the backup yourself, and deal with any bad hardware along the way.

The only questionable part is if they can try to repair the OS installation rather than do a completely new install and how much that would cost instead of the $129.

If it turns out to be a hardware problem that caused the failure, do they waive the fee for the OS re-install?

Once you get it back, get some backup software, like Acronis True Image, and set up regular backup schedules, and create the boot CD and test it so you can do file recovery or a full restore on your own.

-David
 
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timeos2

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Your main issue is VISTA - although the same result can be managed with any version of Windows. If you have a licensed copy of XP you could install it to a new directory (DO NOT format or repartition the disk) and then back up your data and then either reinstall fresh or simply use the PC with 2 OS's installed (but only one working). BB is really laying on the charges and if you are at all able to understand ho to install/upgrade to XP then you can accomplish it much less expensively AND know how to fix it next time (its Windows - even XP will have it happen again at some point) without again paying their ransom. Or find an independent PC store. They most likely will be less expensive and be technically far more qualified.
 

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I don't know, John. I used to argue against using Vista also, but with SP1, and the amount of info out there on it now and the fact that they already have it, makes it a weak argument at this point.

But, yeah, I'm not using Vista on any of my windows machines either.

-David
 

timeos2

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Not ready for prime time

I don't know, John. I used to argue against using Vista also, but with SP1, and the amount of info out there on it now and the fact that they already have it, makes it a weak argument at this point.

But, yeah, I'm not using Vista on any of my windows machines either.

-David

So far it simply isn't as reliable as the already shaky XP and the needless changes they made - without adding either security or performance improvements and in fact reducing performance by a big factor - make it too much work to relearn and deal with unknowns with no payoff in benefits.

I had one lady who made some choice setting up her Internet access that changed a setting somewhere that she couldn't find. Thus no Intrnet/email, etc. Took me a better part of a day to track it down since every menu/function was renamed, moved, functions were changed and, of course, there was zero information on it even on Experts Exchange. In the end one check box fixed it but that was literally 12+ menus deep - how it even got changed is beyond me. And that was out of the box from Best Buy simply setting up her cable modem access! Another one is a well known VISTA bug - introduced with SP1 - where suddenly the users have no rights in anything but safe mode. Fix? Surprise - reload VISTA! Had 2 of those come in already. I'd simply recommend staying away from VISTA for at least a couple more years and maybe forever if a better option (hope hope) comes from MS or even better another source.
 

Mosca

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HOW LONG with the black screen and pointer? Vista is pretty stable, and gets a bad rap on a lot of stuff; but, insane load times are sometimes a problem, especially on a cold restart after an update (which might have taken place in the background, with you unaware).

Give it 15-20 minutes of black screen; start it up and go take your morning shower, or make a burger. You might not have given it enough time.

I consider myself a pretty savvy power user, and Vista works as well as, or better than, XP.

The external backup: buy the drive, insert the disc, and follow the instructions, and keep your $99 in your pocket.

The system recovery: if you get Safe Mode, like you said, you should get an option to reboot at the last known restore point. That does take about 15 minutes to go through. If you don't get safe mode, try step 1 above. If after 20 minutes you don't see your desktop, pull the power cord on the bootup; sometimes that will force a safe mode on next restart.
 

Icarus

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Love my Mac!
Liz

Are you offering to give it to the OP to solve their problem?

Does it vibrate at a nice frequency when you sit near it?

Do you have a personal relationship with your computer?

Remember, one puff only, then pass it to the right.

-David
 

CMF

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Thank you all.

HOW LONG with the black screen and pointer? Vista is pretty stable, and gets a bad rap on a lot of stuff; but, insane load times are sometimes a problem, especially on a cold restart after an update (which might have taken place in the background, with you unaware).

Give it 15-20 minutes of black screen; start it up and go take your morning shower, or make a burger. You might not have given it enough time.

I let it sit overnight before taking it to BB. I was inpatient . . . just got back from vacation, have to do a bunch of stuff at home, and so on an so forth. it turns out that HP has a bunch of info on their site that may have fixed the problem. I looked at it after I visited BB. I should have set up the laptop next to the desktop, followed the instructions and worked through the problem. Oh, well, maybe next time.

Charles "The Rash"
 

mas

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Under the sympathy column:

I just spent the weekend rebuilding my home desktop after a couple of critical files got corrupted...was able to get the original os functioning long enough to save data files to a backup, then reformatted and reloaded XP Pro. At this point I have just about all my old stuff back and functional although I'm still playing around with my Hauppauge TV tuner.

I feel your pain.

One nice side benefit, the computer runs A LOT faster now with a new clean re-install.
 

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
Windows, Shmindows.

I'd simply recommend staying away from VISTA for at least a couple more years and maybe forever if a better option (hope hope) comes from MS or even better another source.
I am told that the current Mac OS will read Windows files & run Windows programs.

Do you suppose Windows computers will likewise read Mac files & run Mac programs ?

Back when we were still Windows folks, we had no trouble with Windows 3.1 or Windows 95 or Windows 2000 Professional or Windows XP -- although right before we switched to Mac Mini we were getting the Blue Screen Of Death several times a week.

Mac Mini has been virtually trouble-free. My only gripe is that MS Word For Mac is the pits in comparison with good old WordPerfect For Windows. Ditto AbiWord.

I wonder whether WordPerfect For Mac is available. If so, I'd be willing to give it a try.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
 
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Htoo0

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I am told that the current Mac OS will read Windows files & run Windows programs.

Do you suppose Windows computers will likewise read Mac files & run Mac programs ?



-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​

It's my understanding that PC's will indeed run Mac OS and software. But according to our resident Mac man at work, there is wording in the S/W agreement which prohibits doing so and apparently Apple is very serious about it.
 
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