How to Repair Your Own Computer

Computer Repair

We know folks would rather not see us, and that’s okay. You only come to a computer repair shop when something is super broken. We get that. That’s why we try to make sure when you do have to come to us, you get absolutely the best service possible. If we can, we’ll get your repairs covered by the warranty so they are free to you. If it’s not covered, we’re very upfront with our pricing and do our best to get things running smoothly for you again.

What if we could go a step further and help you not see us at all? Here’s a quick tutorial on how to be your own IT guy so you won’t have to see us again so soon. But know you will be missed. 🙂

Tip #1 – Turn it off, and turn it back on!

This really is the Holy Grail of IT fixes. It’s amazing how many things this cures. Like blowing on the cartridge or jiggling the handle, it’s an amazing panacea for a variety of technical glitches. Chances are, if you have a computer problem (not related to obvious physical damage, of course), every tech you’ll talk to is going to ask if you’ve turned it off and turned it back on yet.

Tip #2 – Update Everything!

If things are kind of working, but not really, or your system is slow, glitchy, or just doing weird things, it may be a software issue. The first step is to make sure everything is up to date. Go through and make sure everything is as updated as possible.

Tip #3 – GOOGLE it!

IT guys are good at fixing things, but there’s pretty much no way to know everything about every machine. So chances are, when you call a support line or chat with your IT guys at work, unless it’s something right down the middle of the plate, they’re Googling it. Why do you think doctors leave the examination room before giving you a diagnosis? Everyone looks up stuff, and you should, too. Problem is, many folks are kind of terrible at Googling a fix for their problem. So try this: Think of the question you would ask the IT guy about your repair, and type that question, exactly as you would say it, directly into Google. If it’s fixable, there’s a good chance your first result will show you the way.

If all else fails, bring it to us. Mechanics fix your car. Plumbers fix your pipes. This is what we do. We’ll make sure to get as much covered by your warranty as possible, so it’s free to you. And if your repair isn’t covered, we’ll give you sound advice and straight forward pricing. Because we know you don’t want to come to us, but we’ll do everything we can to make you glad you did.

Part 2: Are You A Candidate For An Extended Warranty?


In the first post in this series, we discussed the various types of extended warranty and service plan options you can purchase to protect your new electronic device. The big takeaway: read the fine print to make sure you know what kind of protection you’re buying. But should you buy one at all?

Like all insurance, extended warranties provide peace of mind, but they’re also a bet. You’re paying for a service in advance that you might never use. So before you sign up, consider a few questions.

Is this a big-ticket item? If you’re purchasing a pricey item, like a fancy laptop, the cost of an extended warranty might make sense when you consider how much you’d pay to replace the device if it fails. But for lower ticket items, an inexpensive tablet for example, the cost of the service plan might actually approach the replacement cost for the device.

How long is the term? As we discussed in our last post, all extended warranties are not created equal. Some begin when the manufacturer’s warranty ends, others start as soon as you purchase the device. So, a three-year extended warranty might actually only give you two years of added protection. And according to Consumer Reports, most electronic devices that fail due to a defect do so in the first year.

How likely is the device to fail during the warranty period? Before you make a call on the warranty question, it can pay huge dividends to research how good the product you’re buying is. If you’re armed with the right information, the decision becomes much easier. Consumer Reports, for instance, suggests that the repair rate for computers (desktops and laptops) is 24 percent. Again, that’s an aggregate rate, and a good percentage of those repairs will occur during the period covered by the manufacturer’s original warranty. But different brands and models have wildly different failure rates.

How are you going to use the device? If you’re purchasing, say, a desktop computer with a good track record for reliability that’s going to sit on a desk and never move, you probably don’t need damage protection. But if you’re buying a pricey smartphone or a laptop that you’ll take with you everywhere, you might want to consider an extended warranty. Some manufacturer’s extended warranty programs, like AppleCare, provided limited coverage for accidental damage such as cracked screens and other failures not related to a hardware defect. If you’re prone to dropping your phone, tend to spill coffee onto your laptop keyboard or are simply unlucky, a manufacturer’s extended warranty might be worth the price.

How important is the device to your business/life? If you rely on a computer, smartphone or tablet for work or fun (and really, who doesn’t?), then you need to ask yourself how easily you could cope with not having it. If, as mentioned above, you’re not sure you’d be willing to pay the original purchase price immediately to replace a broken or lost device, would you be able to make do without it?

Finally, another thing to consider before purchasing an extended warranty is whether you’re already covered. Many credit cards, for example, provide purchase protection that offers some of the same coverages for damage and loss that an extended warranty provides. So you might not be buying much with an extended warranty.

At ComputerCare, we see devices that need repair for all kinds of reasons, some common and a few that are spectacularly weird. But one thing we know is that devices will fail and accidents will happen. An extended warranty may or may not be worth it for you, but you’ll be better off making a thoughtful decision well before you need to repair or replace your device.

Part three in our warranty series will cover how much an extended warranty plan will cost.

Employee of the Month – Chervin Rafii


The month of April is known for its spring showers, oversized umbrellas and rain boots. This month’s Employee of the Month Chervin Rafii is doing his part in keeping the April shower theme alive by recently moving to ComputerCare’s Seattle office- a city that experiences an average of 152 rainy days a year and has earned its nickname the “Emerald City.”

Chervin is a hardware technician and has been working at ComputerCare since April 2017. He’s dedicated to his craft and constantly on the lookout for opportunities to further hone his skills of repairing smartphones, tablets and laptops. Chervin has a reputation for quickly diagnosing hardware issues and demonstrating a high level of professionalism when working with customers.

We spoke with Chervin while he was walking through the rain to ComputerCare’s office in Seattle. Here is an excerpt from that conversation:

What’s your job title and what do you do?
I’m a hardware technician and I replace and fix a wide variety of computers and phones. (Apple, iPhones, Dell, Lenovo and HP)

What is the most challenging part of your job?
I’m not great with the paperwork part of my job but I’m getting better with this task by practicing discipline and giving myself deadlines.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Fixing peoples computers and making them happy. Also, I get to experience working on all kinds of devices.

What’s the most influential tech item in your life?
The Internet, because without the Internet you cannot learn anything or communicate as easily with people from other countries.

What’s the best/worst gift you’ve ever given/received? 
There are no bad gifts. I always appreciate anyone that gives me a gift

What are some of your hobbies away from work?
I read technology articles about anything and I occasionally play games with friends. I also like to watch Anime during most of my free time.  

Tell us one thing about you that people might not know?
I love all Asian food although Japanese and Vietnamese is at the top of my list. When I was a kid I played piano and attended martial art classes earning a black belt in karate and a third place medal. I was also ranked a top three ping pong player and chess player when I was in school.

Congratulations, Chervin. We’re proud to have you on our team and sincerely appreciate all your hard work!

ComputerCare is growing! We’re always on the lookout for talented technicians and customer service representatives. If you’re interested in joining our team, connect with us via email: or check out our current openings via LinkedIn or our Careers page.

Part 1: Demystifying Warranties


Warranty Series Introduction

If you’re investing in a new computer, smartphone, tablet, or other electronic device your hope is that it’s going to last. But what if something goes wrong? Depending on the problem, for some devices it makes sense to get a repair while for others the cost of repair might make replacement a better option. In either case, a warranty can be the only thing that stands between you and an expense you didn’t bargain for.

Of course, the term “warranty” is often used generically. In fact, there are basic warranties, extended warranties and service plans, each with its own limitations, advantages and drawbacks and it’s important to know the difference. To decide whether a basic warranty, extended warranty or service plan makes sense for you, it’s important to first understand what they are and how they work.

Part 1: Standard warranties, extended warranties and service plans: what’s the difference?

What is a basic warranty?
Normally, when you purchase a high-ticket item, the manufacturer makes a commitment to stand behind the product. This is called a manufacturer’s warranty, standard warranty or basic warranty. In short, the manufacturer promises to repair, replace or refund the cost of a defective product for a certain period of time. Although not required by law, basic warranties are included in the purchase price of many devices and products. Of course, every basic warranty is unique, with varying durations and covered defects.

What’s an extended warranty?
Often when you buy a device or other product, the manufacturer might offer you the opportunity to purchase an extended warranty that prolongs the terms of a basic warranty, typically from 1-3 years. Unlike standard warranties, these manufacturer-branded warranty programs – like Apple Care or Samsung Premium Care – cost extra and are sold separately. On the plus side, extended warranties will sometimes include additional protections as well as a longer term. So, for example, you might get limited coverage for accidental damage (like a cracked screen) in addition to protection against failures that are no fault of your own (a failed hard drive, for example). It’s also important to note that some manufacturers offer several flavors of extended warranty depending on the type of product, with varying terms and coverage, or warranties that cater to the specific needs of businesses or consumers.

What is a service plan?
Depending on where you buy your product, you might also be offered the opportunity to buy an extended service plan. These plans are like extended warranties, but are fulfilled by third parties rather than the manufacturer. In most cases, they kick in after the basic warranty expires. They are often cheaper than manufacturers’ extended warranties but might not be as generous in terms of the defects they cover or the repairs they’ll provide. They also might not give much choice in terms of who repairs your product and they may not guarantee to use the same parts as the original product.

All warranty programs are limited by conditions and restrictions. It’s important to understand the basics of how a warranty works in order to make an informed decision about which one is right for you.

Simple answers to common questions about warranties

How long does a warranty last?
It depends. The only way to find out is to check the warranty document to see when it begins and when it expires, as well as any conditions that may void coverage.

What parts and repair problems are covered by warranty?
Again, it depends. Read to see if any parts of the product or certain types of repairs are excluded from the warranty. In some cases, warranties oblige you to pay for labor costs. Also, it’s worth keeping in mind to look for criteria that could prove costly or problematic to comply with, such as a requirement that you ship heavy or large objects to a distant address for service, or that you return the item in the original box. The majority of laptop warranties will cover hardware problems that are not caused by the owner, such as defective keyboards, monitor problems, modem or other issues with internal components. A laptop warranty will also spell out what actions on your part will void the warranty. Something as simple as opening the case and breaking a seal can be enough to void a warranty, even if you just wanted to take a peek inside.

How do I enforce a warranty?
It depends (are you sensing a theme here?). It’s often the manufacturer who provides you with a warranty but it can also come from the seller or even a third party (if it’s an extended service contract). Check the contact information and inquire before buying if you’re still uncertain. But expect to be asked to provide some proof that the product is still within the warranty period (either a receipt or some other proof of purchase).

Who performs warranty repairs?
Large technology vendors such as Apple, Lenovo, HP and Toshiba will perform warranty repairs but also have designated authorized service providers (ASPs). ComputerCare is qualified to service Apple, Lenovo, HP and Toshiba products covered under their warranty. We use the same parts and specifications as the manufacturers. Service conducted by anyone other than the manufacturer or an authorized service provider typically voids the warranty. In the warranty of a laptop or a smartphone the manufacturer will state how repairs will be completed and whether they will use new, used or refurbished parts. The warranty will also provide details on where servicing will take place.

What is a limited or conditioned warranty?
Certain warranties provide coverage only if you keep or use the product as directed. For example, a warranty may cover only personal uses—as opposed to business uses—of the product. As such, it’s important to check that the warranty will meet your needs.

Is an oral warranty binding?
Don’t take a salesperson’s word that the manufacturer will provide free repairs; make sure to get it in writing. If not, you may not be able to get the service that was promised.

Our next installment on warranties will help you determine if you’re a candidate for an extended warranty and what to consider before making the leap.

Tech Tip: Spring Cleaning Ideas for your Computer


Spring has officially sprung! This means many of us have already embarked on our spring cleaning rituals. Whether you’re deep cleaning the kitchen, clearing out the garage, or simply washing a few windows, a spring cleaning is an effective way to both freshen up your environment and declutter the mind. But why stop there? The tech you use in your daily life could also use a little cleaning love.

Tidying up your hardware and performing routine maintenance on your hard drive can boost your computer’s performance and increase its lifespan. Here are a few ideas of things you can do at home to properly clean your hardware and help clear out your digital junk this springtime:

Hardware Cleaning Tips

  • Responsibly recycle/donate old and unused devices
  • Inspect/clean I/O ports with a soft small brush or canned air to prevent dust and debris build up
  • Carefully dust internal components of your computer
  • Use cloth to wipe smudges off computer screen
  • Clean/disinfect keyboard and mouse
  • And of course, take broken hardware in for repair

Hard Drive Maintenance Tips

  • Delete old and duplicate files
  • Remove unwanted/unnecessary programs
  • Install software updates
  • Back up important documents, photos and videos to an external hard drive
  • Use cloud storage to maintain your important files
  • Run hardware maintenance scans on your SSD/hard drive to determine health
  • Speed up your hard drive by defragmenting once a month

Want to learn more? Keep an eye on the ComputerCare blog for more tech tips, subscribe to our email newsletter to receive helpful device advice directly to your inbox, drop by one of our Bay Area or Seattle locations, or get in touch with us via our contact page.

We’re dedicated to providing world-class service and repair, and ComputerCare’s expert staff is always happy to help our customers take good care of their hardware.

Employee of the Month – Sean O’Sullivan


For many, St. Patricks Day is often the highlight for March. For us, this month’s highlight was Sean O’Sullivan, our Tech Lead for EMEA in Dublin, Ireland – which is why it is our privilege to introduce him as our latest Employee of the Month!

Sean started working at ComputerCare in November 2014 and is currently the Lead Tech of our team based in Dublin, Ireland. He oversees the technical aspects of ComputerCare’s Dublin business and liaises with its roster of clients around the city. Sean is an exemplary employee and leader at ComputerCare who truly cares about his team of technicians and is always there to support them in whatever they need.

We recently sat down with Sean to get the inside scoop about his work at ComputerCare. Here is an excerpt from that conversation:

CC: What’s the most influential tech item in your life?

SO: This is a tough one, but it has to be 3D printing.  This technology has so many possibilities and applications from designing prosthetics to remaking the little cover for the batteries on your remote control when you lose it.

CC: Do you prefer Macs or PCs?

SO: It’s got to be the Mac. I got my first Macintosh, an iMac G3. I do enjoy tinkering with PC but I will always back Mac.

CC: What was the best gift you ever got from someone?

SO: The best gift I’ve received would have to be a surprise trip to Amsterdam to see “System of a Down.” The band had never played Ireland at the time and I was ecstatic to finally see them live.

CC: What are some of your hobbies away from work?

SO: Outside of work I like to spend as much time outdoors as possible.  I enjoy hiking, camping, rock climbing and cycling. I’m an avid Classic Mini enthusiast, and love to build things and work with my hands. I always have a project of some sort in the making, whether its building a cabin or woodworking.

CC: Tell us one thing about yourself that people might not know?

SO: I’m big into reptiles and amphibians. Over the years I’ve kept and bred all types and species. We have a pet Giant African Snail in our office called Paddy Losty.

Congratulations, Sean. We’re proud to have you on our team and sincerely appreciate all your hard work!

ComputerCare is growing! We’re always on the lookout for talented technicians and customer service representatives. If you’re interested in joining our team, connect with us via email: or check out our current openings via LinkedIn or our Careers page.

Employee of the Month – Enzo Delacroche


For the month of February, we are thrilled to introduce Enzo Delacroche, our latest Employee of the Month. Enzo is one of our talented mobile devices technicians, working at ComputerCare’s headquarters in Santa Clara. He started working at ComputerCare in June of 2017 and has proven to be a fast learner and a great addition to our mobile devices team. Enzo provides fantastic customer service, is always willing to help, and has been an asset working on recent iPhone projects.

We sat down with Enzo to get the inside scoop about his work at ComputerCare. Here’s a small part of our conversation:

CC: Describe your role here at ComputerCare
ED: I am a Mobile Device Technician and my main responsibilities are troubleshooting and repairing Apple iPhone and Android devices. There’s a nice mix of other devices such as iPads and Beats headphones to keep things interesting.

CC: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
ED: When a walk-in customer comes in and vents about the problems they’re having, they usually think that it will probably take a week to fix or that they will have to pay a lot for a repair. So, I definitely love seeing their reaction when I tell them that I was able to fix the issue with some quick troubleshooting and often with no charge for devices under warranty. Now that’s where it’s at.

CC: Do you prefer Macs or PCs?
ED: I was gifted a Mac for college and it has been my only laptop until recently. Macs are for sure very user friendly and are my go to, but I bought a PC, too, to use with certain applications that I wanted.

CC: What was the best gift you ever got from someone?
ED: For graduation, my girlfriend surprised me with plane tickets to Seattle. She knew that I’d never been outside California, and I’d always talked about how it rains a bunch there and how I’d like to visit. I never thought she would ever get us tickets and an Airbnb! Plus, it rained while we were there, so boom!

CC: What are some of your hobbies away from work?
ED: Some of my passions outside work include cooking foods from all sorts of different cultures. Ramen, chile verde pork stew, coconut curry, pizza from scratch, baked mac n cheese and fried chicken are just some of my favorites. I also enjoy practicing Tae Kwon Do, along with learning about various martial arts and their tools. Most recently I’ve been practicing bo staff.

Congratulations, Enzo. We couldn’t be happier that you’re part of our team.

ComputerCare is growing! We’re always on the lookout for talented technicians and customer service representatives. If you’re interested in joining our team, connect with us via email: or check out our current openings via LinkedIn or our Careers page.

Take Advantage of Apple’s iPhone Battery Replacement Program


Until the end of 2018, Apple has reduced the price of iPhone battery replacements for the iPhone 6 and later models to $29. Even better, if you bought AppleCare+ for your iPhone and it is still within the two-year hardware repair coverage window, then your iPhone battery replacement will be free.

Keep in mind that demand for this service is currently very high, so be sure to call ComputerCare directly before you bring your iPhone in for service. You can reach us at: ComputerCare Santa Clara: (650) 475-5500 and ComputerCare Seattle: (206) 743-8052.

The iPhones models included in the battery replacement program are:

  • iPhone SE, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus

When you bring your iPhone in to have its battery replaced, the first thing we do is run a standard diagnostic test to check the battery life and general health of your iPhone. Even if the results of the test show a healthy battery, Apple is allowing the replacement to go ahead.


You have several options. If you live near ComputerCare’s Santa Clara or Seattle locations, you can simply give us a call to see if we have batteries in stock before bringing your iPhone to us. Alternatively, you can start a ticket through our website here. If you don’t live or work near ComputerCare, Apple has made it easy to find a participating service provider through its support page. Remember, even if you successfully make an appointment, the app doesn’t keep track of battery stock information, so it’s best to phone ahead to be on the safe side.

To use the Apple’s appointment tool, go to Contact Apple Support and click on See Your Products. You’ll also need to sign in using your Apple ID.

Then, follow these instructions:

Step 1 – Choose ‘iPhone’

Step 2 – Choose “Battery, Power & Charging”

Step 3 – Choose “Battery Replacement”

Step 4 – Choose “Bring in for Repair”

(or send in for repair if you can wait – usually two weeks)

Step 5 – Confirm your location and carrier details.

The map will show availability and distance.

To schedule an appointment, click on a store and choose a time slot. DON’T FORGET TO CALL TO CONFIRM BATTERY AVAILABILITY. If batteries are in stock, the replacement process takes less than a day.

Last but definitely not least, before you bring your iPhone in for a battery replacement (or any major repair) BACK IT UP via iCloud or iTunes so that you don’t risk losing precious data.

ComputerCare is an Authorized Service Provider for Apple, Lenovo, HP, Toshiba and other brands. We are proud to offer repairs, servicing, upgrades and more on laptops, desktops and mobile devices, whether under warranty or not.

GOT QUESTIONS? Call us at:
ComputerCare Santa Clara, CA: (650) 475-5500
ComputerCare Seattle, WA: (206) 743-8052

iPhone 7 Repair for “No Service” Issue


Apple has announced an iPhone repair program for iPhone 7 devices experiencing a specific ‘No Service’ issue. If your iPhone 7 is exhibiting these symptoms, visit the Apple support site for information about the affected models and the service process:

As an Apple Premium Service Provider, ComputerCare is happy to assist you with repairs for eligible devices, free of charge. We have locations in Santa Clara and Seattle, so contact us for an appointment. You can open a trouble ticket here, or call our Santa Clara or Seattle offices for help.

–       Santa Clara – (650) 475-5500

–       Seattle – (206) 743-8052

And remember, before bringing your iPhone in for service, back it up using iTunes or iCloud.

Employee of the Month – Joey Estella


Welcome to 2018, everyone. The start of a new year gives us an opportunity to talk about another Employee of the Month. This month we have the pleasure of introducing Joey Estella, one of our mobile devices technicians. Joey joined ComputerCare in May of 2017, and already he has proven to be a valuable part of our team through outstanding performance in his day-to-day role as well as his active participation on various internal mobile projects.

We sat down with Joey to ask him about his work. Here’s an excerpt from our conversation:

CC: Describe your role here at ComputerCare
JE: I am a Mobile Device Technician. I work on all the mobile devices, ranging from iPhones and iPads to Beats headphones, Apple Watches, and some Android phones as well.

CC: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
JE: It’s truly rewarding to work with all the great people here at ComputerCare. I would not be where I am without the guidance and knowledge that these wonderful people have shared with me, and it’s awesome coming in every day to these unique individuals. I want to shout out to Enzo, especially, for everything he does, because our mobile device team wouldn’t be what it is without him. I also enjoy being able to share my skills with everyone, and I embrace the ability to be a utility man of sorts and take on different tasks at different times.

CC: What’s the most influential tech item in your life?
JE: It’s got to be my iPhone. It’s something that’s hard to be without for long periods of time, and it does so much more for me than just call and text. Plus, I’m a mobile technician! So, it’s got to be my iPhone!

CC: What was the best gift you ever got from someone?
JE: My English Bulldog, Bauer, was one of the greatest things I ever got. Unfortunately, he passed away last year, but his legacy definitely still lives on. I was an only child, so I thought of Bauer as my little bro. He was one of the greatest gifts ever.

CC: What are some of your hobbies away from work?
JE: When I’m not at work, I regularly follow sports, mainly baseball, basketball and football. I’ve been a diehard Giants fan since birth and I also love watching the Warriors and Niners. I also love playing golf; I try to get out on the course as many weekends as I can. I also play fast pitch softball. I’m really into fantasy sports as well like Fantasy Football and Fantasy Basketball.

CC: Finally, what’s one thing about you that people might not know?
JE: My fast pitch softball team won the past 3 championships in our league in San Francisco, and last season I was voted the league MVP. Also, my team won the San Francisco Mayor’s cup for golf, hosted by the late Mayor, Ed Lee.

Congratulations, Joey. Keep up the good work. You’re an asset to the company and we couldn’t be prouder!

ComputerCare is growing! We’re always on the lookout for talented technicians and customer service representatives. If you’re interested in joining our team, connect with us via email: or check out our LinkedIn page for current openings.