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.