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Computer replacement and upgrades should be part of a business plan

WILKINSON

By BECKY GILLETTE

Few things can cause more panic in the workplace than suddenly having the computer malfunction. It can be crippling to productivity when the machine you rely on to get work done is broken.

It can be a good idea to replace or upgrade a computer before it reaches the age when it is likely to malfunction.

“I like to say every couple of years is about the life of a computer, but people do tend to push them out longer than that,” said Kenny Wilkinson, director of technical services, Loud Technology, Madison. “If you have a desktop, you could upgrade the hard drive and RAM to push it out a little farther. Usually between two and four years, you are probably going to want to replace those.”

What is the biggest mistake he sees customers make with their computer systems? Not getting them serviced properly. Often there may be spyware or malware on the computer from browsing the internet. Removing the malware or spyware can make a big difference.

“A lot of times computers can run a lot faster with an optimization,” Wilkinson said. “That is a fairly quick process that can be done in an hour for most customers. Advertisements are a lot of times where you get your spyware and malware. You have to be careful or call someone you trust to make sure it is valid offer.”

Malwarebytes and its AdwCleaner are the main tools he uses for optimizing. He also checks for and removes old programs that are not being used. And having a good virus protection program is essential.

“You don’t hear as much about viruses, but I do get quite a few calls as regards a broken computer due to a virus,” Wilkinson said.

Even with a new computer, it is always good to have a backup plan. Wilkinson said a backup computer, hard drive, disks or cloud storage for disaster recovery are good to have.

Most companies will get new computer equipment every three years, said Dave Lowery, who owns CPR Cell Phone Repair shops in Jackson, Clinton and Hattiesburg.

Lowery, who formerly worked for HP, said some consumers can get away with using their computers for five years.

“We do have the capability of taking out an old hard drive and putting in a new hard drive or bigger hard drive, and the person can continue using that unit,” Lowery said. “It just depends on what of flavor computer they have. We work on desktops, laptops, tablet, drones, Bluetooth speakers, gaming systems and just about any phone except flip phones, which are going away. Most are consumer-graded products as opposed to a commercial line of products that most business-to-business customers would use. The commercial products are built different. I use a commercial-graded HP laptop. It is called a work station.”

Lowery said every three to five years a computer should be updated as not only do components wear out, but technology changes.

“You have to keep up with that,” he said.

Lowery said about 95 percent of his customers are not properly backing up data in case of a malfunction or natural disaster. While storing backup data in the cloud is a common solution, he personally just uses a flash drive. He backs up important data and programs to a flash drive and puts in it a fireproof safe in a location away from the office.

Each of his three CPR Cell Phone Repair locations repair about 300 devices per month. About 60 to 70 percent of the business are in phones. Today smartphones are often as critical to operating a business as a desktop or laptop computer.

Depending on the version of the phone, smartphones can be repaired by replacing the digitizer, which is cheaper than buying a new phone that can cost $999 not including sales tax, a case and a repair plan.

Apple recently announced it is expecting to lose $9 billion because of weak iPhone sales blamed on it being cheaper to replace the battery than buy a new iPhone. Lowery said repairing old iPhone is a popular alternative to buying a new one. Repairs start at $59 and go up from there.

Lowery said the decision on when to repair rather than replace electronic devices depends on how old the device is and whether parts are available.

“People come in with an old iPad to repair, but you can buy a refurbished one for about $99,” he said. “People come in with pay-as-you-go phones that only cost $50. That isn’t something they want to get repaired. They are better off to get a new phone.”

One of the most common problems with phones is the screen has been damaged. People can minimize repairs costs by purchasing a good protective case and screen protection.

“That goes for iPads and tablets, too,” Lowery said. “You need to have screen protection. CPR franchises such as ours have an exclusive warranty replacement partnership for ZAGG InvisibleShield, a tempered glass that is a high-density shield to protect against scratches and breakage. ZAGG provides three times the protection of a regular screen on your phone. It goes over the top of your screen or tablet. If you drop it, you can reduce the impact of damaging your device.”

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About Becky Gillette

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