7 Things Ex-Geek Squad Employee Wishes Every Computer Novice Knew

Not all Geek Squad technicians are ex-Domino’s delivery guys trying to siphon porn from your computer, some of them actually have a heart. This guy gal does, and it keeps breaking over and over again as he she sees clueless consumers queuing up to pay for service for mundane computer issues they could have prevented with just a teensy bit of know-how. Perhaps that is why she no longer works there. In any event, he she sent us a list of 7 different money-saving tips he she wished every computer owner knew. Most Consumerist readers probably know them, and most Best Buy customers don’t, so send this on to your Aunt Gretchen and lose Geek Squad some business:

The Geek Squad guy writes:

I work with the geek squad and have tips on how consumers can SAVE MONEY when it comes to their computers. This is what all computer owners should know by now:

1) Keep all your data backed up.

Put it on a disc, external HDD, upload it to a data safe website, another computer, somewhere! One place is NO GOOD, two places is OK, but once one fails, you need to create another second spot! This will save you from 99 to 149 dollars when you bring your computer in to Geek Squad right off the bat. NO manufacturer warranty covers your data, you need to do it yourself. Back up your pictures, contacts, documents, taxes, music and ANY business information you have.

2) Have recovery discs for each computer you have.

This is your licensed copy of your OS. These are specific to your computer’s guts (processor, mother board, sound and graphics cards) They have the drivers needed for your computer to use itself. Burn them right away when you get your computer on to DVDs and put them somewhere safe. It will take from 1-3 hours to do. If you loose them you can order them from your manufacturer for between 15 and 50 dollars, depending on the brand. HP is usually cheaper, Sony is wicked expensive. They take about 2 or 3 weeks to get in if you end up needing them when you replace a hard drive or need to fix windows. If you don’t get them that way, you can purchase a full copy of snow leopard for about 30 dollars, or windows 7 for about 200.

3) One antivirus at a time, please.

Two at a time is like pushing fat pigs through a dog door, neither can get inside correctly and they block each other from functioning properly. They can tear nasty holes in your operating system depending on which ones you’re trying to combine (seen it!) or at least SLOW YOU DOWN TO A CRAWL because two systems are trying to scan your every move as well as each other’s moves. More than one is usually LESS protection than one good one. Remove the old ones, even if they’re expired they’ll get in the way. YOUR COMPUTER CAME WITH A TRIAL OF SOMETHING, take it off if that’s not the one you’re gonna use! Most antivirus is 40 dollars for a year, but if you buy 2 or 3 licenses you usually get a deal.

4) Don’t install tool bars, they’re bloatware that will slow down your internet speeds.

You don’t need 5 of them, they take up most of the screen and will end up effecting performance.

5) “Free” stuff can be expensive:

Free games, movies, music taken from torrent sites, as well as pornography sites and even free social networking sites are riddled with viruses. Virus removal is 129-199. Be safe and smart on the internet. If you got a virus, it’s your own fault. Viruses are a software issue, and are considered private data, not covered by any warranties.

6) Computers don’t like liquids.

This includes water, coke, beer, soup, bodily fluids and excessive cleaners. Don’t spray screen cleaner directly on your screen, spray it on your cleaning cloth and then wipe. A stream of any liquid can cause damage. Computers also don’t like gravity or being punched. This will probably cause lots more damage and not fix a speed issue.

7) No computer is immortal.

Technology changes at an extremely fast rate. Average computer life span is 2-3 years for a laptop or closer to 4 for a desktop. This makes sense, because laptops undergo more stress: movement, impact, temperature changes, and are prone to overheating on a lap. Your computer takes electricity, and circulates through lots of things and gets hot. They burn out sometimes, but if you have your data backed up, you’ll be up and ready on a new one in no time.

You wouldn’t get mad at your mechanic because you don’t know how to change your oil, or your vet because you didn’t know how to take care of your dog. BE POLLITE to people in the service industry. They touch your grimy nasty computers full of skin, nicotine, pet hair, dust bunnies… and fix them if you can’t.

Comments

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  1. pantheonoutcast says:

    This guy’s manifesto should be reason enough never to use Geek Squad for anything.

    Honestly, what is he, 14?

    • ExtraCelestial says:

      I hate to say it, but Geek Squad and their customers kind of deserve one another.

      If you’re not able to handle the above 7, you probably should be paying that 200% markup for simple repairs performed by chimps. And if Geek Squad was able to do more than the above 7, for a reasonable price, and not screw up other stuff while they’re in there, well they would have more sophisticated customers.

      • evilrobot says:

        I think you are exactly right.

        This list of what we all know as common sense has not taken hold with many people that don’t do a minimum of light tech reading. I cringe as I hear an otherwise intelligent neighbor speak of taking their desktop/laptop to GS.

        Overall, people are lazy and just don’t care to know why they shouldn’t blindly click on shiny things and random internet boobies. For this, they proudly earn a place in line at BB/GS.

      • Doubts42 says:

        So because you grew up in a house with no computer, and have never been taught anything about PC’s you deserve to be screwed?

        • Sleepingbear says:

          Nothing is stopping you from learning. Tearing down a PC and doing basic troubleshooting is not that hard.

          • excaza says:

            It is for a lot of people. My mom never remembers how to copy and paste something, even though she uses a computer regularly and has had the process explained to her. She’s not stupid, it just never sticks in her head.

          • mythago says:

            “I make my own computer-repair knowledge at home.”

        • Pandrogas says:

          How do you think computer techs learned how to fix things?

          You can either fix it yourself or pay someone else to fix it for you. Same as any other repair service.

        • Doughbuy says:

          I could say the same thing about the plumber for my home, the mechanic for my car, and I suppose even my doctor…

          It’s our choice not to learn how something works, then it’s our choice to pay out the ass for it when it breaks.

    • goodpete says:

      Honestly, I think this is pretty good stuff. It’s extremely basic if you’re at all tech-savvy. But you’d be amazed the number of people out there who just don’t know this stuff.

      The OP does go a little overboard in saying “music from torrent sites is littered with viruses.” You’re far more likely to get a virus from KaZaA or Frostwire or whatever than a torrent site. But chances are that folks who gain something from these 7 points aren’t going to know enough to differentiate anyway. Best to avoid those places altogether.

      You’d also be amazed how many people “back up” their data to an external drive and then don’t keep a copy locally (because it’s “backed up!”). Then the external drive fails and they’re left with nothing.

      All that being said, the best thing you can do for your computer is not ever take it to Geek Squad. The OP is one of the very few remaining knowledgeable employees there. You have a much better chance of having your computer wind up with a porn hoarder or incompetent salesperson than you do a qualified technician.

      Good luck to the OP in their career. Chances are Best Buy will find them eventually and fire them for being too good at their job (Circuit City Style).

      • moosetoga says:

        Agreed. And I learned at least one new thing from reading – that restore disc prices vary widely between manufacturers.

      • coren says:

        Just throwing it out there, but I can’t tell you how many people try to disguise wmv files (and throw viruses in) as the newest episode of x hot tv show. No real group ever releases in wmv which is how you know, but the people who’d need these tips? Probably wouldn’t. I’m sure similar situations exist for music.

    • Kitamura says:

      Truth be told, lots of people are idiots. There’s a reason the help desk asks “Is your computer plugged in” when you call to complain that it won’t turn on, and it’s because there are actually a reasonable amount of times that fixes the problem.

      Sure it sounds stupid, but many people in from the pre-high-tech generation and even some people from the current generations do not understand simple concepts such as these.

      • Doubts42 says:

        +1

        also applies for “is your caps lock on, when your password won’t work

      • jefeloco says:

        That’s a bingo!

        My time at t-mo as well as several years doing IT support (like now) has proven this again and again. One of the first things I would ask people who couldn’t call/text/breathe was if their phone was powered on. People would always drain the battery or forget they removed it: they would also turn their phones off and wonder why they didn’t receive the text from their sister (or whomever) about some important family event, somehow holding me responsible. The possibilities with phones are endless.

      • bwcbwc says:

        “A lot of people are idiots…” More like nearly everybody is an idiot in at least one area of their lives. Whether it’s crappy spelling and grammar, inability to do simple math, letting their kids run wild, there’s always something. You can make good money by being good at something most people are idiots about. Like computers.

    • edosan says:

      Actually, most of his suggestions are pretty reasonable.

    • Emperor Norton I says:

      14 is pushing it!
      He is yet another idjit that doesn’t know the difference between “lose” & “loose”!
      You can lose your recovery disks, but I can’t figure out what would happen if you loose them.
      Maybe all the data will spill out!

      • Andy says:

        Grammar Nazi! HO!

        • Clyde Barrow says:

          WHO CARES! All of you know exactly the point of his story.

          • perruptor says:

            Yes, that computers don’t like gravity.

            They should only be used in orbit, or in deep space, far from any gravitational fields.

        • regis-s says:

          Normally I find them annoying. Occasionally it can be fun to watch them argue though.

      • Sure I could agree with you, but then we'd BOTH be wrong. says:

        Not to mention “Affect” versus “Effect”

        #4:

        Toolbars AFFECT performance. You will notice the EFFECT of the toolbars when your performance drops.

        • AnthonyC says:

          Or perhaps they do effect performance. “Effect” as a verb means “to bring into being,” though. So sadly, if his spelling was right, then he contradicted his own point by stating that toolbars increase performance. :-)

          • Fine Material says:

            ARGHHH! Effect is not a verb, it is a noun. Affect is the verb. You and Mr 14 year old should start a club.

            • sea0tter12 says:

              Um, effect can be a verb. Perhaps you fell asleep that day in class?

            • thisistobehelpful says:

              It’s both. Maybe you should pick up a dictionary.

            • Dave on bass says:

              In case the other replies weren’t clear enough…

              Effect and Affect as per typical usage: understood – effect is the noun and affect is the verb “version” that causes the noun to happen, like something that affects you will have a lasting effect.

              Effect as a verb, though, exists: “The new manager effected a more efficient production process.” Subject of the sentence didn’t ‘affect’ the process – it didn’t exist before. ‘Effect’, as was said, meaning ‘to bring into being.’

      • coren says:

        Awesome, because good spelling and grammar are both requisites for knowledge of computers or knowing what common problems the geek squad deals with.

        • RvLeshrac says:

          Effective communication is a key part of any customer service job. Part of that includes proper written communication. This is why most office suites have spelling and grammar checkers.

          Oh, and if you want to search for a solution on the web, spelling it wrong isn’t going to help.

          • thisistobehelpful says:

            And if you spell the word wrong in any sort of c prompt situation you can destroy the entire computer. And of course there’s file extensions and misuse of punctuation that can ruin entire programs!

            Spelling matters kids.

      • Griking says:

        I blame MS Word, Firefox and other spellcheckers for most of the typos I see on the web nowadays. I’m admittedly a bad typist. I know how to spell reasonably well but sometimes my fingers don’t agree with what my brain is thinking. When this happens my Firefox notifies me by underlining the word. Sometimes however Firefox’s guess as to what I was trying to type isn’t always accurate and the result is laughably bad comments.

      • zjgz says:

        You can’t have loose recovery disks, they just wont work. You have to use the recovery disk tightening tool. Luckily, I sell those for only $200.

    • AnonymousCoward says:

      The writing could be better, but the advice is surprisingly good, especially for a Geek.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      You laugh, but I taught a Excel adult school course for two years at night. Easily 90% of adults were in their 50s and moms; homemakers from the old school of “stay at home moms”. One of the first things that was asked at each course was, “Where’s the ON button” regarding the computer. So this guys advice is warranted and good because a lot of people have other things in life to do besides work on computers. Just a fact of life. I mean is it funny that they wouldn’t know the basics but yet, a lot of people just don’t care either. They have other things to do in their lives.

      • SavijMuhdrox says:

        my Dad bought a computer and we showed him how to use it. He wanted to ‘learn’ his way.. So we sat down and went thru it with him. We came back a week later to find he had handwritten instructions to himself on how to use the computer, which is a perfectly sane, reasonable thing for an older person with limited computer exposure to do.. But i did have to chuckle when he drew a picture of the ON button and wrote “Press this to turn machine on.”

    • JamieSueAustin says:

      I find that most of the computers that are brought to me to fix suffer from one of the issues he mentions.

    • Pax says:

      If he or she is only 14 … well, that makes them a teenager who really _IS_ smarter than 99% of the adults around. The list above is absolutely dead-center SPOT ON.

  2. steve6534 says:

    8) Geek Squad is the worst place in the world to take your computer if you actually want it fixed without pointless upsells.

    • Griking says:

      I work at a computer repair shop (not a Best Buy).

      I typically get older Windows XP computers in for repair because they’re running slow. Some still have 256mb of RAM. I generally recommend (upsell if you wish) a RAM upgrade. Do you really consider this a pointless upgrade?

      How about when I recommend a Tune-Up to a customer who’s 5 year old PC and has NEVER defragmented his hard drive or deleted any of his temporary files? Again, pointless huh?

      What about the person that brings his PC in fr a virus cleaning who’s running Norton Internet Security 2006? Is it inappropriate and annoying for me to recommend (upsell) new current Antivirus software?

      What you fail to understand is that if people were willing/able to maintain their PCs and keep them updated in the first place many of them wouldn’t have to bring their PCs in for repair at all. So not all upsells are pointless.

      • Extractor says:

        Upsell? Microsoft has Security Essentials for XP, Vista, and 7. I recommend everyone running those flavors of Windows to uninstall whatever crap came with their computer and install MSE. Dont need to pay for something thats free and MSE does the job. Consumer Reports backs this up in their review of Antiviruses.

      • DH405 says:

        I think you should take a good long look at the word “pointless.”

        Break it down. Appreciate its components.

        Point.. In this case, this refers to a purpose.
        Less.. Without.

        Without purpose.

        Is there a purpose to a reasonable RAM upgrade? Yes, so the commenter wasn’t referring to that.
        Is there a purpose to a “Tune-Up?” Yes. It sounds like your idea of a tune-up is incredibly elementary, but I’ll assume you do a lot more than defrag and such. If you’re charging for it, you should.
        Is there a purpose to buying the latest AV? No, probably not. If they’re a home user there are a ton of great AV programs available for free. If you’re selling them an AV without telling them of the great free options, you’re lining your own pockets by misinforming them, which I find dishonest.

        So, stop personalizing everything that others say.

  3. leastcmplicated says:

    more like a list of 7 things so you can put Geek Squad out of business.

  4. mantari says:

    Tech: “It looks like you have a bad hard drive. We’ll need to replace it.”
    Client: “The entire hard drive? I paid $800 for it just two years ago!”

    Actually, I think it is adorable when non-techs refer to the PC itself as the hard drive.

    • Nighthawke says:

      Seen worse. When the 100GB drives hit the market, I snagged a WD model and it blew its little mind not 2 weeks out of the box. Track 0, TARE errors their diagnostics reported. Needless to say, their tech support was perplexed, and FedExed a replacement to me with a prepaid overnight sticker in the box. Western Digital WANTED to see what caused the poor thing to quit like that.

      WD’s been good to me all these years, and I’ll stay with them even longer.

      • Sparkstalker says:

        I used to be a huge WD fan. But I’ve had too many go bad, right after they dropped from a five year warranty to a three year…and of course, they all failed in the fourth year.

        • Extractor says:

          Buy it with a mastercard world or visa signature and you got the 4th year covered by the credit cards extended warranties. I buy tons of components and have probably built over 100 PCs, all with those 2 cards. Strange that you should have such a high failure rate. Maybe you should use more fans and better power supplies as well as battery backup units. I rip them apart way before they might fail and replace all fans and power supplies with heavy duty units.
          Its also nice to play the rewards game with the Credit cards, Bing Cashback (ending 7/31), newegg.com Shell Shockers etc. Newegg.com is great, never a problem with an RMA request (a few, sh-t happens)
          Currently Discover and Chase Freedom both give 5% on gasoline thru 9/30 although its limited to a certain amount and I doubt if you need an extended warranty on gasoline.

    • pot_roast says:

      Or get RAM and drive space mixed up. “What do you mean its out of memory? I bought a 500 gig-bite hard drive, it has plenty of memory! I even threw away all my old movies!”

    • Dragon Tiger says:

      I love the ones that call the computer “the CPU,” not realizing a CPU is just one little component in that big ol’ case.

      • Anonymously says:

        My mom calls it the “CPU” and my wife calls it “the mainframe”.

        • ichiban1081 says:

          My mother-in-law calls almost everything the modem. “My modem won’t start, my modem is acting slow, I have almost no space left on my modem”! Everytime I have to give her tech support I dread it.

      • Bix says:

        That’s the fault of video games referring to computer-controlled players as “CPU.” I can understand that one at least: They think CPU stands for “computer,” not “central processing unit.”

      • jefeloco says:

        That used to be “correct” jargon though, I have several IBM and Sun manuals from over the years that repeatedly refer to the “box” as the CPU and the proc as a processor separately from the “central processing unit.” It didn’t make it right then either but that is how they marketed the terms to the sheeples.

        It is just as bad as the “memory” and hard drive available space issue; I have an old Seagate ST251 advert hanging outside my office with ridiculously expensive ways to increase your “memory” by installing the new 80MB hard drive.

        I would rather see all of this and more than to hear my mother in law call her mouse the “boomper” and the text entry field “that empty-ish space thing on my screen.”

    • diasdiem says:

      People misusing technical jargon makes my face twitch. Kinda like when you were a teenager and your parents misused your generations slang, or used it in that tone of voice that acts like a vocal nudge and wink, as if to say “see, I’m cool, right?”

    • NoThankYou says:

      Or their hard drive as their ram. I have 250 gigabytes of ram. Oh wow really!

    • Doubts42 says:

      I work internal support for my company. For some reason a large portion of the non-technical folks refer to the PC as a modem. Confused the hell out of me for the first 3 or 4 weeks I worked here

    • Griking says:

      I tried helping my mom with her computer over the phone. Her wireless keyboard and mouse stopped working and I was asking her to look behind the computer to check to see if the USB receiver got unplugged somehow. She has a few cats which sometimes knock things over. I spent a good 15 minutes trying to describe with a USB port and the receiver looked like before I realized that she was looking at the back of the monitor and not the PC.

    • Benjamin Stearns says:

      This happens partly because the supposed techs don’t bother to help educate the customer about how their computer works, or about the proper terminology.

  5. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    The tip “computers also don’t like gravity or being punched” nearly made up for all of the grammatical and spelling errors, but “Most antivirus is 40 dollars for a year, but if you buy 2 or 3 you usually get a deal” jogged me out of my shock at the concept of a Geek Squadder who actually knows what he or she is talking about to remind me – oh yeah, a really helpful person would have pointed to the dozen or more very good FREE anti-virus programs out there.

    • axhandler1 says:

      http://free.avg.com/ is what I use, and it has always worked great.

      • JoeDawson says:

        even WINDOWS 7 comes with a FREE one (you have to download it)… IF nothing else, Windows Security Essentials is better than NOTHING

        • dp05 says:

          Actually, many sites rate MSE as one of the best offerings available, even compared to the paid services, and definately alongside free offerings such as AVG. Very light on resources, but very good at keeping the computer clean. May very well be one of the best products Microsoft has produced, and they don’t even charge for it!

          • AZCPhTHiker says:

            Agreed, Microsoft Security Essentials works great, havent had any issues at all, very light and I have put it on every single computer I have repaired.

            • Daniellethm says:

              MSE, huh? I’m a bit wary of Microsoft, but if my current fails I might try it. AVG is ok for being free, but it happened to miss two trojans so I switched to Comodo, and so far it’s great. I also use Malwarebytes for malware, since Comodo only covers antivirus/firewall/ system monitoring (They call it Defense +, but it allows me to monitor every action on my computer)

              I supposed for someone with no tech skills might want to stay away from multiple anti-virus, but sometimes one program just can’t get everything. It is possible, you just have to add exceptions on each program for the other.

              The toolbar thing, my god. My Mother-in-law and Sister-in-law both go apeshit for toolbars, or blindly click “Ok” to their installation, I’m not sure which. I laughed a good ten minutes the first time I saw their IE (Savages, tried to get them on Firefox, but no dice) half the damn window was toolbar after toolbar and they wonder why their internet loads slowly. Their computers only get a clean-up/defrag when the hubby and I stop over, it gets messy and takes hours. I try to explain to them to run these thing at least once a month, if not more often, but it never happens.

              • nybiker says:

                You don’t mention if you’re a few blocks away or across the country from your relatives, so I will suggest that the next time you visit, that you install LogMeIn (www.logmein.com) on their computers. That way you can remote control them and do whatever maintenance you need to do (since it seems that they’re not doing it). Logmein offers a 2-week trial of their Pro version, which then downgrades to their Free product. Free lets you connect to the computer as well as copy/paste to/from the remote system/local system. So if you’ve got a website url on your system, you can copy from your browser’s address bar and then paste it into their browser’s address bar.
                Oh, of course, add the logmein to your own system, so that if you’re away (and of course your system is on) then you can always access your own. Although I have seen that newer systems that have wake-on LAN capabilities seem to be able to be turned on via Logmein. But I haven’t nailed it down if it’s a Pro feature only or if it’s also in Free. Considering that my Dell is 7 years old, I know I don’t have it.
                Good luck.

                • RvLeshrac says:

                  WoL has been around for more than a decade now. Little reason your Dell wouldn’t support it, unless it was shipped with WfW.

                  Also, I lol at the people who immediately shy away from MSE because OMGMICROSOFT (insert douchebag-ironic dollar signs where inappropriate), but continue to use the rarely-functioning crap that is AVG.

                  If you want a decent, free AV, AVG is off the bottom of the list. MSE, Avira, and AVAST are the only ones worth using, in that order, and AVAST is plunging rapidly.

                  On the rare occasion I’ve run across something MSE failed to detect, sending in a sample has resulted in its inclusion in the definitions several hours later.

          • Dyscord says:

            MSE is a godsend. It’s free, offers some of the best protection I’ve seen, is easy on resources, and is easy for even a novice to use. I used Avast! for the longest time. They were good, but I got annoyed with having to update the free license key every 6 months or so. MSE is pretty hassle free and it’s laughable that a group that calls themselves “geeks” don’t even mention it.

      • diasdiem says:

        I used AVG until it started giving me a nag screen to upgrade to the paid version, then I switched to MSE.

      • satoru says:

        Dunno I’ve yet to find a free AV that isn’t a total hog on the system in general. The corporate versions are generally ‘better’ than their consumer counterparts if you cna get them.

      • Bix says:

        It’s gotten really bloated. Avast is noticeably better nowadays. I’ve heard good things about Avira, too.

    • satoru says:

      I’ve had my share in the old days of having to deal with liquid soaked keyboards and computers. One lady spilled what appeared to be an entire orchards worth of OJ onto her computer. Yes lady, we have to back charge your department for the replacement. The warranty on this thing doesn’t apply if the motherboard is covered in OJ.

      The whole ‘gravity’ argument just moved from laptops, to phones now. Yes if you drop your iPad/iPhone/Crackberry from 5ft onto concrete there is a good chance you’ll crack the screen. Yes we have to back charge your department… again…

    • coren says:

      I know there’s good free, you know there’s good free, but to the person who’s going to take a computer to Geek Squad to begin with “the Norton one!” is obviously the one you need to use.

    • Griking says:

      IMO free Antivirus programs are generally only useful to people that know how to maintain their PCs in the first place. Other people need to have a program hold their hand and do everything for them

  6. chaesar says:

    the morons are keeping these IT novices employed, I wouldn’t complain if I were him

    • edosan says:

      Seems to me like he’s just trying to help.

      Oh, wait, I forgot — this is Consumerist and Geek Squad rage overrides all. Carry on.

      • chaesar says:

        computer care tips can be found everywhere online, this guy isn’t trying to help Consumerist readers, he’s airing his grievances

        and you might want to check on the definition of rage

    • coren says:

      This isn’t complaining, imo. Plus even if you got rid of all the stupid shit they deal with like this there’s still a ton of stuff that comes up

  7. JonBoy470 says:

    Re: #3: One of the silver linings of having XFinity from Comcast is that they give you the full Norton Security Suite for free whether you have a PC or Mac. You just go to their site and download it.

    • JoeDawson says:

      Norton is terrible… and a memory hog… There are plenty of lightweight free ones without resorting to Norton or McAfee

      • axhandler1 says:

        Yeah I am done with McAfee forever. Paid for a subscription with them for awhile, till I got a killer virus that the system didn’t stop and couldn’t remove. I paid upwards of $90 bucks to have a McAfee “specialist” in India take remote control of my computer and fix it. I watched while he did it and basically, he just force deleted a bunch of files and then declared it clean. It wasn’t, so I got my cousin to call back with me, and he’s a microsoft-certified something-or-rather who does software work for Reuters. He showed the McAfee people that they actually hadn’t done a thing, and they refunded my money. My cousin tried to help me out by fixing the virus himself, but in the end it was so bad that I had to reset my comp to factory settings. Still, McAfee is pretty ineffective, IMO.

    • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

      Of course, your next question to ask is: why? Norton is little more than a memory/resource pig that tries to do everything but unclog the toilet. Thus it fails miserably in doing the jobs it claims to do. All you need to do to protect yourself: don’t click attachments in emails, don’t download files from places you don’t know, make sure your OS is ALWAYS updated, and keep your computer behind a firewall. Yes that means buy a router even if you only have one machine connected to your cable/DSL modem. Use Firefox as your main browser, and use the NoScript extension. Use a lightweight anti-virus/malware product (MSE works just fine for me) and happier computing will be enjoyed by all, and Geek Squad will not benefit from your ignorance.

  8. kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

    You can usually get anti-virus software on eBay for a fraction of the retail cost. Fully sealed, able to license it, etc. I’m not sure if these sellers get the discs legitimately or if they “fell of a truck”. In any case, supply is usually plentiful.

  9. kylere1 says:

    Friends don’t let friends Best Buy

    • diasdiem says:

      I’ve only ever used Best Buy for games an movies. The only time I’ve ever used them for computer related stuff was when I had a hardware emergency like a burnt-out power source that I couldn’t wait for to come in the mail from NewEgg.

      • SwoonOMatic says:

        Best Buy is good for that “I need it now, regardless of the price.” situation, otherwise once you know, you NewEgg.

        • Skankingmike says:

          Staples will be price matching internet prices, most stores will do it now, it’s official in a few months. FYI

    • Sumtron5000 says:

      CABBB: Consumers Against Buying Best Buy

    • Griking says:

      Yeah, it’s much better to buy a no name brand computer from Billy Bob’s computer shack down the road that doesn’t come with a warranty. Warranties from name brand computer manufacturers are over rated. Of course Billy Bob (who has no real computer training) says that he’ll take care of you if anything happens. You can trust him.

      • OutPastPluto says:

        Billy Bob usually is the one with the actual clue. Since Billy is putting his own machines together, they are probably much more future proof and standards compliant. They’re probably much more upgradeable rather than being an oversized version of a Mac Mini.

        I would certainly trust Billy Bob more than Dell or some “employee” at Best Buy.

        Getting grandma to trust Billy Bob is a different story.

        Elevating willful ignorance ultimately harms consumer quality all around. If you have absolutely no clue, then you have no way of judging quality or knowing of you’re being ripped off. This isn’t just limited to computing.

  10. anime_runs_my_life says:

    I have a problem with #2: Those recovery discs that you make yourself *don’t work*! I spent a week between HP and working on a laptop that decided it wanted to self destruct trying to get the discs I’d so dilligently made and it didn’t fix the problem. I had to order the discs from HP and yes, they do take about 2-3 weeks to show up. If I’d known how much of a hassle it was going to be, I’d have just gone out and dropped the $200 for Vista. Dealing with HP support is like going to the dentist and not using novicaine – very painful.

    • JoeDawson says:

      Dropping 200 dollars on Vista is/was a crime against humanity

    • satoru says:

      Odd. Usually HP desktops come with a specific hidden partition that contains an image of the computer. You just boot into the recovery partition and restore the image. Though these days, even with laptops, you can pretty much load Vista or Windows 7 from the base install and 90% of the stuff will work.

      • anime_runs_my_life says:

        The partition was corrupt. If it hadn’t been corrupt, I wouldn’t have been without a laptop for nearly a month. From what I’ve discovered through the magic of Google, it’s a problem with Vista itself for computers that have a recovery partition.

    • Griking says:

      Yeah, it may take two weeks to come in if you opt for the free standard shipping. However they do offer Fedex 2 day shipping if you need them right away.

      • anime_runs_my_life says:

        Even with Fedex 2 day, it takes more than a week. I ordered the discs a week before Christmas, and they didn’t show up until right after New Year. No one could explain it. So in *theory* it takes 2 days, but it’s more like 2 weeks.

  11. tedyc03 says:

    Ah, I love a good seven reasons why the Geek Squad guys are idiots. Thanks Ben!

  12. Hi_Hello says:

    1) Keep all your data backed up. AGREED

    2) Have recovery discs for each computer you have. SOME PEOPLE ARE JUST LAZY TO DO THIS.

    3) One antivirus at a time, please. I never knew people did this. I know some people install more than one anti-spyware.

    4) Don’t install tool bars, they’re bloatware that will slow down your internet speeds. Most people don’t even know what is a toolbar. Programs add them and people don’t realize it.

    6) Computers don’t like liquids. It doesn’t like dust either. most of the desktop hardware failure is caused my blocked air flow.

    7) No computer is immortal. For what people do and the hardware vs the software out there. computer can last 5-10years.

    • justdragit says:

      You must work at Best Buy.

      • AnonymousCoward says:

        Not exactly. I said I hack computers for a living, not break them. I leave that to the geek squad.

    • AnonymousCoward says:

      7) Yes and no about how long a computer can last. Agreed that for what most people use their computers for, they could continue using the same computer and same software for 5-10 years. However, from a security standpoint (I hack computers for a living), the user should never have any software on the machine that’s so old that it’s out of support, because unsupported software won’t have the latest security patches. Most software is only supported by the manufacturer for 3 or 4 years, then the user has to upgrade. The upgraded software will usually require beefier hardware. So, 4 years is about it for a typical desktop machine.

      This would apply to laptops, too, but laptops usually get bashed to bits before they turn 4.

  13. NarcolepticGirl says:

    #3 & #4 are great.
    My boyfriend gets all these ahole idiot real estate agents calling him all day and a lot of them have 6+ toolbars with a million pop-up blockers which hinder their ability to use the web application that he supports. Some of them also have multiple anti-virus software programs running which also screw everything up.
    Then they get mad when he tells them they need to delete some of this crap. One lady started crying because she was afraid her computer would “break” if she deleted any of her four anti-virus programs and several toolbars.

  14. Rocket says:

    I make (and fix) my own computers at home.

    My desktop is a Shuttle, which I bought barebones and built myself.

  15. yessongs says:

    I have 7 things any Geek Squad Moron needs to know…

    1. Check the HDD jumper
    2. Clean out the fan
    3. Check all internal cables
    4. Inspect the power supply and make sure it is not burnt out
    5. Make sure the power button isn’t broken
    6. If the laptop’s sound doesn’t work, turn the volume control dial
    7. Don’t send in computers with roach infestations or other nasty surprises in the case.

    Bonus tip: Learn how a computer works!

    • wellfleet says:

      Someone must work at Geek Squad City… I had a desktop returned in the biohazard bags due to a roach infestation that I personally missed. On the one hand, that conversation with the client totally sucked. On the other hand, if I’d seen roaches crawling around I would have probably fainted and/or screamed. My favorite is the 2 packs a day smoker + fist-size dust bunnies, a real treat for my gag reflex.

  16. Jozef says:

    On the topic of life span: Comcast techies are not happy with me for using AVG antivirus instead of the Norton they have been pushing on me. I explained to them that Norton doesn’t work with my Windows 98 desktop anymore; that shut them off.

  17. wellfleet says:

    As a former Deputy of Counter Intelligence (that’s Geek Squad manager to you guys), these seven “tips” address 99% of Geek Squad customer issues. About 75% of the work we did in my precinct was virus related on computers that had Limewire or for customer who started with “Well I let my roommate use my laptop and…”

    The data backup was the biggest single source of pain. Clients didn’t want to pay us to do it, but they didn’t want to do it themselves and/or it was too late. I have zero sympathy for people who start a shitstorm and call corporate after they sign off on a contract that says they may lose their data and then when it happens, they’re devastated. If their data is so important that they’ve never bothered to back it up, it’s just not that important. About once a month we’d have someone freak out and claim they were never told data loss could be an issue. Even when we’d point out to the contract and a separate sheet where they acknowledged that they declined data backup and that data loss is a risk, they’d claim they didn’t understand.

    My precinct and my agents could go toe to toe with any IT pros out there, my guys were geniuses and we treated our customers’ property right. I would even audit their little folders to make sure that clients signed off on what they were supposed to.

    It takes a dozen horror stories (and a few dozen Phil Villareal sensationalized headlines, love you Phil!) to turn a business full of mostly great people into a laughingstock.

    • Dyscord says:

      Consumerist’s sensationalistic headlines can be annoying. I’ll be the first to agree. However that’s not what turns Geek Squad into a laughing stock. I’m sure your guys are great, as there are some good people out there. However the majority of Geek Squad members are idiots that charge an arm and a leg for barebones work. I understand the need for services like Geek Squad because there are people out there who are afraid of their computer, but a good bit of them rip people off.

      • zombie_batch says:

        Dude, every business rips it’s customer’s off with markup. That’s capitalism! ….and also how you pay for all the less obvious costs of running a business.

        • Dyscord says:

          It’s not the markup that is annoying. It’s the quality of work. You pay them an arm and a leg and they either barely do the job, or make it even worse.

  18. GuidedByLemons says:

    I was going to tell this person they have a right to start being smarmy when they get a real IT job, but these are actually pretty solid, level-headed tips.

  19. Sitbacknwatch says:

    Not all of the geek squad employee’s are utterly incompetent. I worked as a double agent for a store in NY that bordered NJ for about 5 years to pay my way through college. Some were pretty terrible, but for the most part they were pretty good at what they did. I myself never pushed items or services on people that i didnt think they needed, and i will agree that the costs of service is outrageous. However some people dont have the time, the patience, the interest in figuring these things out for themselves. Since i no longer work for geeksquad, my basic pricing for in home service is take what best buy or other local in home repair services cost and slice it by 50%. I think one of the reasons that these services are so expensive is due to the cost to insure the cars, pay for the gas, pay the employee’s, and various other items while still trying to make a profit.

    In the end, a good portion of the people there are pretty good techs, HOWEVER just like every job, theres always going to be the douche bag that ruins the name for everyone else.

    • Dukebruno says:

      Did you happen to see the Wall Street Journal article this week about printer repairs? A Geek Squad tech from Paramus NJ related a story where a trucking company was having a problem generating paychecks. The checks were being printed with the wrong amount on them. The GS Agent proudly explained that he fixed the problem by replacing the printer. Oh, P.S., the trucking company is out of business; I’m sure Geek Squad wasn’t to blame.

  20. edosan says:

    I know the average Consumerist poster is trained to go into full-on Rage Mode as soon as they read the words “Geek Squad” in a post, but those are pretty good suggestions for people that know nothing about computers. People that aren’t computer literate do need to learn about backing up their computer once in a while. using an antivirus program (and updating it) and not installing every free thing they see.

  21. Anonymously says:

    If you don’t have your recovery disc, It’s not really hard to scrounge up with a windows disc when you need it without paying for it, and downloading drivers isn’t that hard.

    • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

      Except for one thing: when it comes down to that product key stuck to the bottom of your laptop/side of your desktop, Microsoft codes them to specific versions of the OS, and I do mean specific. Just grabbing your friend’s retail box copy of Windows 7 Home Premium (or his/her recovery disc) and sticking in the product key from your computer’s sticker will usually result in “sorry, this product key cannot be used with this installation of Windows.” What may work is to install Ubuntu on that computer you need to recover. During install, Ubuntu will in fact notice the recovery partition on that computer, and upon a restart or two, you’ll notice you’ve got the GRUB Multiboot manager. Usually at the very bottom of the selections available will be that very recovery partition that you tried and failed to make recovery discs from. Select it. Then pray it works.

      • Anonymously says:

        Well obviously I’ve never been in that situation. Sometimes life is easier when you live in the gray areas, if you know what I mean.

  22. scientific progress goes boink says:

    I really wish people would stop assuming “more is better” when it comes to anti-virus. My Dad’s friend had me look at his computer because it was running slow (and he was about to go to one of those “speed up my computer” websites); turns out he had 4 AVs installed- and was paying like $50 a month for each. Even worse than the time he almost bought a new mouse because the batteries died.

  23. ChemicalFyre says:

    Backing up is important, but backing up your entire drive or imaging it is simply a waste of time unless you update the image frequently. Having a backup area that is actually up to date is what gets most people.

    Unless I need to deploy many machines with the same image, I don’t bother. Some of the best tools for this aren’t really in the consumer price range to begin with.

    My suggestion:

    If your new computer came with a backup utility, use it as soon as you’ve gotten your computer out of the box and deleted the bloatware. This gives you a ‘factory baseline’ that you can add your own drivers for accessories or your high end video card.

    Don’t bother backing up Windows, and don’t bother backing up applications that can be re-installed. Use System Restore with Windows and the various rollback features for drivers when you are troubleshooting. System Check Points are your friend when you install that new Wifi card and are greeted with the blue screen of death.

    Save your installation discs, and copy installers delivered digitally. The important items are different on every machine, only the user really knows what they absolutely need and chances are it isn’t some strange DLL sitting in the windows directory.

    I personally have a ‘disaster recover kit’ that contains my Windows CD, an older version of linux on a live cd, as well as Hiren’s Boot CD, and a flash drive containing installers for critical applications. Important items are copied over off the hard drive by a scheduled task, and they are copied to a storage device on my network, based on date, stored in folders that can go a week back. I can go about a week back to revisions of my files if need be.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      That’s a good idea. I think I’ll make me a kit this weekend. Most of my important stuff is already on a couple of external drives/CDs and at Dropbox, but I’m not sure if I have the discs like I should. Almost all my programs are on discs or easy to re-download.

      I have added to my music library since I saved last, so I need to do that as well.

      • ChemicalFyre says:

        Nicely done. By eliminating the OS and applications from your back up you will reduce the amount of space (and time) required by quite a bit :)

  24. aka_mich says:

    +1 for the content

    -5 for the delivery

  25. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    #8 – If you’re stupid enough to listen to a Geek Squad “expert” then you deserve to have a craptastic computer and poor customer service.

    Really…all those points are valid, but blindingly obvious and demonstrative of no expertise on his part whatsoever.

    • coren says:

      No one said you had to be an expert. What do you think people go in to the Geek Squad for, many times? Just cuz it’s obvious to us doesn’t mean we’re at all the average computer user.

    • bwcbwc says:

      The point isn’t whether the Geek Squad guy is a PhD in computer repair, the point is that even a rookie technician can identify customers paying out the nose because they keep making the same stupid mistakes.

    • brinks says:

      I was a manager at a place that did some computer repair. The general public really doesn’t know this stuff and they. Yeah, the younger generation knows all this, but their parents don’t. Hell, I’m in my 30′s and only learned much of this stuff because of that job.

  26. djudd says:

    Average life? Excuse me as I write this on a 6 year old Dell Dimension 8300….or look over at the PII Dell Latitude that’s so old I can barely get XP to run on it with 14 services.

    There is no average life on PC’s….what should be said is as computers became cheaper, cheaper parts were used to ensure profit. As a result of that they tend to break/fail with a set life span.

    Hell my original Nintendo NES still works (after blowing on the cartridge 50 times) so don’t give me this “expiration date” bs with computers. Cheap caps, underpowered power supples, and enough bloatware to choke a pig are the leading cause of early computer death.

  27. Twitch says:

    Geek Squad Manifesto: The Real Version.
    1. I’m here to make money. Not fix computers. Please let me sell you stuff.
    2. I don’t really know much about computers, so if my script of standard tests and scans can’t find your issue, I won’t think outside the box and try to fix it. Please see point #1
    3. I don’t really care about your or your computer. I do, however, care about your porn. Would you like a bigger hard drive to store your porn on?
    4. I enjoy snooping through your personal files. And since I’m just a high school kid making $7.50 an hour, it’s all good.
    5. You know when I’m in the back room, working on your computer. We’re all laughing at you – Thanks for the entertainment.
    6. There is no 6th point to this manifesto. Please upgrade your system through me.

    • cattrin says:

      Reading things like this just kill me. I agree, there a lot of dim-witted highschool kids who couldn’t tell you the difference between a router and a modem working at these places… but please understand that there are some of us who do genuinely want to help. Problem is most actual IT places won’t take anyone who doesn’t have x number of years on-paper experience (which means personal work doesn’t get you anywhere.) Besybuy, staples.. these are the only places that’ll take anyone with a blank official state. A lot of us have to just suck it up and save any genuine help we can offer for when the manager isn’t looking. And hope the years fly by for a little while.

      A lot of folks are screwing it over in the name of quick cash, but please don’t just assume we’re all money grubbing whores :)

  28. BewareofZealots says:

    I don’t have a problem with the suggestions, they are great for the 90 year old woman just learning about using a computer.

    Might have included:
    1. Just because you got an email from someone does not mean you HAVE to open that attachment.
    2. Just because it says a site is safe, does not MEAN the site is safe.
    3. Free games….. sigh…..
    4. Get an antispyware program.
    5. Get off the porn sites.
    6. DO the simple things. Defrag, disk clean.

    My mother in law has never met a link she didn’t have to click or a free game she didn’t have to install. I tried to trick her into using firfox by changing th desktop icon to the big blue e, but she found out and was able to get ie back. (Sigh). Then I removed her admin privileges. Man, she was pissed. I tried to explain it was for her own good. I had to give them back to her cause my wife then got mad at me.

    Her final solution, she bought a new PC. I got her old one and it’s awesome.

    • Big Ant says:

      “I tried to trick her into using firfox by changing th desktop icon to the big blue e, but she found out and was able to get ie back”

      if she was able to figure out how to get IE back then she knows more than she thinks she knows, I’d tell her that if she won’t listen she is on her own.

      If people are not willing to take advice from someone who knows what they are doing they deserve what they get. I had people ask me questions then I would answer and they say but person x said such and such. I just tell them that that is why they are having these problems and if they are not willing to listen then I can do nothing. Then they ended up going to the Beast Buy and paying $150 and the fix was exactly what I was telling them to do. Then they would say that I should have convinced them. I am not wasting my time trying to convince you when you argue with everything I say based on what some random guy or website told you.

      To sum it up basically some people will never learn/listen because if it says it on the website or your friend told you it can’t be wrong (but makes me wonder then why it is wrong when I tell them things, maybe I am not a friend???) Which is why places like Beast Buy can rip people off with these prices.

  29. RyGuy1152 says:

    2-3 years lifespan for a laptop? I’ve had mine over 4 and it’s still going great! Buying a new laptop every three years is a complete waste of money.

  30. Concat says:

    Well that was a boring list.

  31. menty666 says:

    I would also add:

    “Keep your embarassing/naked photos of yourself and others on an encrypted usb drive. The first thing any computer tech will do is search your hard drive for the extensions, .jpg, avi, .divx, and .mp3″

    On the upside, that’s how my neighbor got busted for kiddy porn, his computer broke and the tech found the images on his drive.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      Considering most people put those embarrasing photos on Facebook these days for everyone to see, I am sure this is the last thing people are thinking of…

    • ElBobulo says:

      kiddie porn: that’s all fine and dandy, but what happens when the tech decides he doesn’t like you and installs some “incriminating evidence” on your computer for you? Then suddenly “finds” it?

  32. Cyniconvention says:

    Good tips. But I thought #6 was sort of common sense.
    (Also, bodily fluids? What the heck?)

  33. AnthonyC says:

    Oooh, oooh! Does this mean we get to write, “7 things we wish every geek squad moron employee knew?”

  34. DashTheHand says:

    Laptops last 3 years? What the hell is this guy thinking? Yet another reason why Best Buy Geek Squad are the backwoods hillbillies of tech support.

  35. cybrczch says:

    Thanks for reminding me to back up my computers this weekend.
    I’ve had to tell my family many of those same things over the years, again and again…

  36. Duckula22 says:

    Fired in 10, 9, 8…

  37. A Pimp Named DaveR says:

    My computer technique is completely ADEQUITE!

    -Lindsay

  38. WeirdJedi says:

    The page is a little too informal and I certainly feel the rage bleeding from the page. I guess it comes from the frustration to work with customers who only want things to go back to normal without actually doing anything. I disagree when someone says “this happened to you because you didn’t know and therefore it is your fault.” It just sets up a firefight to make things worse. “This happened because you didn’t know; It might be fixed, but try this to ensure it doesn’t happen again” might be better.

    I also feel the “salesman pitch” in this story. There are always free alternatives. I personally dislike Geek Squad and will try my best to avoid them entirely. That’s my advice, anyways.

  39. brianisthegreatest says:

    Interesting that the Geek Squad would say these things. I’ve always been informed it’s most lucrative for charging people on these smaller services. How nice that a noble employee would inform the public of these tips. A little less noble that he works at the Geek Squad and not a local shop where they treat customers a little more appropriately with cost of services compare to actual work done. You can’t be the nice guy and work at Best Buy, what kind of idea is that?

  40. PAZ002 says:

    In a perfect world we would hope people would follow these steps to make computer repair techs’ lives easier. Sadly that will never happen, we have too many stupid people in this world that believe if they can buy it they should. There are tons of people that shouldn’t have computers because they can’t even do the simplest task, also if you can set up an e-mail on your smart phone doesn’t mean you need to…you are not that important to have it on your phone, so don’t. I can’t even tell you how many idiots I have to walk through just clicking on icons to get onto the internet, set up their e-mail on a phone that they never will really use, or even plug in a power cord.

    I have no sympathy for people that cannot figure out how to operate the basic functions of a computer, in my opinion you shouldn’t even own one. And if you need one so badly, go out and fucking take a basic computer class at a community college for $100 you will be amazed how much money you will save from that class.

  41. Snoofin says:

    As someone who works in retail but not Geek Squad Id like to add that if you buy something and don’t know how to use it or hook it up you should call the manufacturer. The store isn’t there to give you free tech support just because you don’t know how to use it. Employees don’t have 30 minutes to spend on the phone telling you how to hook up your blu-ray player while there are 30 customers in the store.

  42. Clyde Barrow says:

    “Computers also don’t like gravity or being punched.” LOL,,,or being kicked.

  43. WickedCrispy says:

    If they buy a PC at Best Buy, they deserve every last bit of rape they get.

  44. gman863 says:

    This guy may get a “B-” on his writing skills; however his free advice scores an “A+”. If I had $20 for each hour I’ve spent with friends and relatives fixing issues one though five over the past 10 years, my credit cards would be paid off with a few thousand bucks left over.

    On the data backup issue, the best plan is both local and off-site backups. The best deal I’ve found for off-site backup is Carbonite: At around $55 per PC per year it automatically backs up an unlimited number of files, music, video etc. This only sounds expensive until your laptop comes up missing or (in my case) both your PC and external hard drive grow legs when your house is broken into. Since using off-site backup saved years of files I would have lost otherwise, it’s priceless.

  45. DerangedKitsune says:

    Working as support on consumer level computers, I have to agree 100% with buddy here. I see almost the whole list (exceptions being 6 and 7) on a daily basis.

    Data loss is the biggest thing people piss and moan about. Worst part is that NO ONE knows how to back up files. Many people don’t even know the directory their stuff is stored in, or even what a directory is. I feel really bad for the mother who is at risk of losing her kids baby photos.

    Of course the same can’t be said for the business man looking at having to restore files and programs; you’re running consumer level hardware, with consumer level support; you’re basing your whole business (your sole income, etc) around a device you don’t fully understand doing things you can’t fix yourself or comprehend how they work together; and finally you never made any kind of plan should that device fail on you and are now angry that your info is lost and you’re “losing thousands of dollars a day” because of that.

  46. MrPenny says:

    Items 1-6 are good and useful points. I’ve been in support for several years and he’s spot on with those complaints.

    Number 7 not so much. Yeah, they’re not immortal, but neither should you expect a laptop to be “used up” in 2-3 yrs. I just installed Windows 7 on my 4 yr old Latitude and it runs like a top.

    • Ryan says:

      I have worked repairing computers as a job, and I still do some repair work for occasionally for family, relatives, friends, and acquaintances. I think all of the suggestions made are fairly good for those with a low to moderate amount of skills in computer repair. I haven’t always followed those suggestions, and still don’t do all of them. I don’t back up, and even though I check the health of my hard drives frequently, the condition of the drive itself that is hardly a replacement for a backup.

      I think that the seventh point is important, too often I saw people who wanted to repair computers that were their home computers and that may have cost them $2000 nine or ten years ago, but at the time were of no value. Making the computers run again would be possible, but spending an additional $300 for a new computer on top of the $300 it would cost to fix the old computer would result in a far faster, far more reliable and more useful computer. So consider the cost of repair versus the cost of replacement with computers, just as with so many other items.

      I have a high-end laptop from Acer that just turned five years old that is so extremely overengineered, it isn’t even funny. Carbon-fiber chassis anyone? It still works, and offers better performance than current Atom-based netbooks but it is currently serving as a wireless NIC for my desktop. I’m planning on reconditioning the laptop soon so that someone I know who can use it in a more useful manner, can use it.

  47. zakakazakk says:

    See what’s funny about this guys article is simply this…. When you fix computers for an hourly rate say 40 bucks an hour completely reasonable by the way, then computer “moron’s” are your best friend. This guy is stuck at geek squad making 13 dollars an hour and doesn’t want to have to do the mundane stuff. It’s the mundane stuff that keeps geek squad in business especially because they charge upwards of 80 Dollars an hour.

  48. brinks says:

    Props to this nice Geek Squad guy. I was a manager at a competitor that did computer repair, and these really are the biggest issues that people bring their computers in for. If people were only a little more educated, they could save themselves a lot of money.

    Kids learn Powerpoint in the 5th grade now. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t even invented when I was in 5th grade. For those of us that are too old to have learned this stuff in school, tips like these are really helpful. I learned most of this stuff at that job, but many older people never get that chance.

  49. coldfire409 says:

    These tips are very good. When I was in college I worked for a computer repair shop, and I must say that people rarely maintain their computers. The biggest thing is that people wouldn’t defrag their hard drive, clear their cookies, cache, and history, preform a disk clean up, and they wouldn’t reboot their computers when they first had something act a little strange.

    Also you would be surprised how often we would get somebody bring in a computer running Windows 95 or Windows 3.1 because it was running too slow. Now this was in 2004 to 2005 and they wouldn’t understand that their 10 year old computers aren’t going to run at peak performance. Another thing I’d see is that people would bring in their computers and not understand why it was running slow because they subscribed to high speed internet service.

  50. chbrules says:

    You can get good antivrus products for free (like AVG). You don’t need bloated AV suites (like Norton/McAfee) for spyware and all that crap. Just use some common sense when using the internet. Don’t open attachments in emails from people, don’t download/install toolbars, don’t download a bunch of pirated junk that could have viruses, etc. That will solve something like 95% of all computer issues.

    I’m not some Geek Squad kid. I have a masters in MIS, and I have years of industry experience with businesses in the field of IT and software. I’ve seen every problem imaginable with lay people and computers. Sometimes I live thewebsiteisdown.com. People just need to learn that computers and technology aren’t some special thing, it’s analogous to owning and driving your car.

  51. Bby says:

    I love how the first few comments are directed at how awful Best Buy is, rather than acknowledging that these are sensible statements.

    Now, I know that the first 3 posters must be IT geniuses, because obviously by their comments on an anonymous message board they know more than anyone employed by Geek Squad ever.

    Did it ever occur to you that this site is a joke? If you were so intelligent, you might realize that Best Buy provides a service that MOST people don’t have the time or inclination to do themselves. You are deluding yourselves into thinking your comments actually affect an electronics giant like Best Buy.

    While you spend your time reading and commenting on biased “stories” on a third rate website, your local Best Buy is taking in more money in one day than most of you will make all year, let alone what they do as a company.

  52. Senchou says:

    Decent tips, especially for those who don’t know much about computers.

    Also, I might just be lucky, but my local Geek Squad is actually friendly, helpful, and prevents me from spending money I don’t need. I took my laptop over because the fan was clogged really badly and it needed a cleaning. I was fine with paying the $30 they list for a cleaning fee, because I needed it done quickly, but the guy just took about a minute to clean it with compressed air. He got all the dust out, gave it back to me, didn’t charge me a cent.

  53. dipthonggirl says:

    I second all this. There are so many things GS wouldn’t have to do if people followed those rules.

  54. Extractor says:

    A major problem right now is people clicking on those phony antivirus warnings. Antivirus 2009 is a good example. Social networking sites seem to be big offenders with regards to virus transmission as well as file sharing site.
    My favorite aspect of computers is that I dont need to buy Malpractice Insurance unlike my primary job. I dont care if I kill a computer but try and do anything to a human and my malpractice will have to get involved.
    Worst aspect, someone trying to rush me on a surgery so that they can get tech support.

  55. Dyscord says:

    Remember back in the day when the companies would give you a recovery disc. Now they require you to burn it yourself. I understand not everyone has the knowledge to look for drivers on their own and all, but I just find download a copy of the OS and use the registration key that came with my computer. That way I don’t have all the damn bloatware either.

  56. Dyscord says:

    I also find it amusing that this person is pushing virus removal and how you can get a deal if you get multiple licenses.

    If they really were trying to save themselves a headache they’d mention that there are some very good FREE antivirus suites out there. Microsoft makes a VERY good one itself.

  57. uhclem says:

    I fix computers too. Mostly for old geezers. 99% of the problem is viruses and root kits and they all come from pr0n sites…and every single geezer tells me “I never look at that stuff!” Ha! Also I don’t think the geek is 14; He uses too many words correctly.

  58. ChungkingXpress says:

    Honestly, I kinda cringe inside every time someone who I consider to be for the most part intelligent fail to grasp the very basics of owning a computer…and while I scoff at the notion of paying for basic stuff like what’s in this guy’s list…there are a lot of people who either just can’t learn or vehemently refuse to…

  59. Benjamin Stearns says:

    How about a list that computer users wish the Geek Squad “techs” knew? I think that would be even better!

  60. consumerd says:

    Considering I see as least one to two machines a week to the above problems I can agree with this 110%. Backup your data- That’s not hard, nor should that be difficult. Hard drives fail, they are not prone to immortality. Recovery disks- My reload price is $50 if you have the recovery disks $75 if you do not, recovery partitions don’t count! Recovery “partitions” are a waste and if the MBR has to go, so does the chance of being able to do a successful recovery. The disks help because the software is already on media that can’t be infected, or damaged by viruses. Toolbars, myspace, and facebook apps- I have yet to see any of these people explain to me why they need that “free crap”. Yea it’s free… for a price, and your computer is the one that pays the bill! Liquids is just common sense folks- you get it wet, it no worky… that’s not that difficult of a concept. Go drop your iPhone/iPad in a pool and see what happens. What do you think your laptop or computer is going to do when you spill liquid on it?

  61. Bob says:

    I used to this kind of job before. I have seen lots of people that are not only clueless about PC maintenance but get total “brain-lock” on anything you show them on a PC. All of their knowledge about complex machines, like cars, is steadfastly not even applied to PCs because “computers are hard”.

    For the average clueless PC owner you can educate them and everybody feels better about that (the customer, me because I get to fix the really hard and expensive problems, their bank account, etc). When you get a customer with total PC “brain-lock”, because they expect learning PCs to be “hard”, expect to be servicing their computer, for peanuts, for the same preventable problems at least four times a year.

    BTW, I thought the $199 Dell PC should’ve nearly killed off the Geek Squad. I know I had to close down my business and go into computer networking. Since them life is lots easier.

  62. Coops says:

    Wow what a helpful list of things.

    Now if only every GeekSquad member was actually useful.

    These are arbitrary musings of some guy who is displeased with the ‘morons’ that come in.

    Guess what, a computer is an appliance. People want it to work, and sometimes they don’t know enough or they know just enough for their own demise.

    Having operated my own computer ctore for 5 years, having fixed over 15,000 computers in my career and hearing the horrible stories of FutureShop and BestBuy service all I can say is that I find this guy’s list a load of crap.

    Be polite to people in any industry… that’s just a given.

    My biggest problem with this (yeah I’ll stereotype) is that it’s a GS employee. GeekSquad, known for it’s horrible service, untalented workers and schemes to charge every customer as much as possible… yeah a very trustworthy source.

    I wonder if his A+ certification is up to date! (what a joke that is. In Canada at least, FutureShop prides itself on A+ certified techs.)

    • SuperTech3498 says:

      How exactly is this list a load of crap? As an Agent myself, it all seems like very logical things you should have on deck if you own a computer. But, as always, people don’t do the logical thing and they end up having to pay for it one way or another.

  63. loueloui says:

    What this computer moron wishes every Geek Squad employee should know..

    1) It shouldn’t cost $99.99 to install a video card, unlees it’s on the International Space Station.

    2) If you don’t know to fix something, be honest, or at least LEAVE IT ALONE!

    3) Fixing implies that you made something better, not just different. A faster, defective hard drive is not a suitable replacement for a defective hard drive.

    4) You are an employee performing a service, act like one. Just because someone brings in their comuter for you to fix does not mean you are welcome to browse through their personal affairs, perv.

    Anyone for number 5? I’m out of time, but not ideas.

  64. XianZomby says:

    Yeah. My mom doesn’t really know how the computer works. But at work she can run a probe over your nut sack or tits and find a tumor. She can biopsy it too, to find out if it’s cancer.

    I don’t consider her an idiot because she doesn’t know how to partition the hard drive. She’s good at things, I’m good at things.

    If you’re good at something worth being proud of, you won’t have time turn your nose up at people for lacking knowledge about something they can pay somebody else to do.

  65. lumberg says:

    As a former computer service employee, those of you who haven’t had the “pleasure” of helping the general public with their computer problems have no idea just how stupid the majority of people are. Most customers seem to think that computers are like toasters – they work the same exact way every time. General common sense is thrown out the window.

    I’ve never worked for Geek Squad – I worked computers for both CompUSA and Staples – but the comments this guy has made are things that many people just don’t seem to know. Worse yet, when I would tell them, they’d forget it three seconds later. Taking care of your electronics is too much of a hassle. If it breaks, it’s somehow the fault of the people who purchased it.

    That being said, I’ll be happy to admit that most companies that do computer service are overcharging their customers. I once had a guy who couldn’t get a USB hub to install on his laptop. I have no clue what he was doing, because when I plugged it in it showed right up.

    And he paid $30 for me to do it.

  66. vesey says:

    I’m not a spelling nazi, but any person that spells polite incorrectly probably should’nt be working on computers in the first place. Maybe the reason she is’nt working for geek squad anymore has nothing to do with her stated reason…………

  67. SporadicBlah says:

    Lets see how many of these wishes I broke. I back up my data on a very old Western Digital external HD. I’ve NEVER had recovery disks. I always run 3 anti virus programs at once. (All FREEWARE). I LOVE the Yahoo toolbar. I’m still using the laptop I bought in 2000 with XP on it. 11 years old and going strong! Geek Squad can SUCK IT! Then again, I’m not a computer novice ;P

  68. consumerd says:

    As someone who works on restoring PC’s….

    I agree with numbers 1, 2, 4, 5 6,

    I can’t say I have really seen too much of number 3. Number 7 is just technology moving forward.

    As of late I have been getting a lot of emachines with failing mainboards.