Frequently Asked Questions

Still got questions? Here's some common answers.

Still got questions? On this page, I have compiled a number of questions I frequently receive about both my services and computers in general. Be sure to check out the list below to see if any of the items address your situation.

How much do you charge for [insert service here]?

My pricing is transparent and no-nonsense.

    I charge zero markup on parts.
    I stock only the essentials to reduce the incentive to sell you less-than-ideal solutions to your problems.
    Most jobs on a single machine are under $200, unless parts are needed, in which case they are billed cost-only
    Nearly everything is a simple hourly rate ($96/hr in-lab + remote, $128/hr on-site) to keep it as easy as possible.
    A small handful of common procedures are billed flat-rate for simplicity.

For much more specific information, be sure to check out the Services page.

Do you accept credit card payments?

Absolutely, but there is a small processing fee to cover the cost. You see, since I don't mark up parts, if I didn't pass on some of the cost, I'd actually lose money on some transactions. It turns out that's a bad idea when you're in business. ;-)

I accept all credit card payments, including VISA, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover.

Processing fees are typically $3 - $4, depending on the amount of the transaction.

Of course, I also accept cash and checks, with no fees!

How long will it take you to solve my problem?

Of course, the answer to this depends on the nature of the problem itself. However, I can tell you that in most cases, I'm finished with a PC within a couple of business days. I'm quick, but I'm also a bit of a perfectionist. No matter what the issue, if you bring the PC to me, you'll receive a complimentary "mini tune-up," which is—to be perfectly honest—more or less my way of saying I'm going to speed/clean up your PC just because it drives me nuts not to fix and optimize everything I touch that has a keyboard. Once you meet me you'll understand.

If you'd still like more clarification about how long it might take me to solve your problem, of course, you can always email or call me.

Do you work weekends?

Sometimes, but don't bank on it. I try my hardest to spend time with the family during off-hours, though since this is also my hobby, I work whenever I've got a few minutes.

Do you offer a satisfaction guarantee?

You must not have talked to anyone who's used me before if you're worried about this. ;-)

I'm kidding, I'm kidding. The short answer is yes, of course, to the extent which that is possible, anyway. Obviously, if you asked your doctor whether he'd provide you with a satisfaction guarantee, he'd probably chuckle. That's because the human body is a ridiculously complex network of systems to which no guarantees can absolutely be applied. Guess what? The second most complex thing we all own apart from our bodies is probably our computers!

Nevertheless, in keeping with the industry trends, if you're unhappy with anything I do for you, I'll be more than happy to perform the service again for you at no cost within a reasonable period of time.

The slightly more helpful answer, however, is that I have literally never to date had an unhappy customer to my knowledge. I try to make it a point to ask people what they thought of my help after I'm done. The response is always positive—which is good for me considering that I rely almost entirely on customer referrals for business growth.

The universal catch

The big qualifier here, of course, is that computers are very complicated devices. Hard drives fail extremely frequently, parts fry seemingly spontaneously, and there are a host of possibilities for software problems (i.e., infections, driver corruption, etc.) that can lead to problems. I'm assuming you already understand this, but no technician can ever guarantee you unconditionally that everything is going to be fine precisely because of this. The good news about me, however, is that I am brutally honest with my customers about the condition of their equipment, and if there is an unexpected problem when it's in my hands, I'm generally your best shot at solving it.

If you're still concerned about your system before coming to me with it, drop me a line and I can talk you through your questions. I've done this stuff for long enough that I can generally provide a reliable estimate as to what the risks might be.

How do I know whether to trust what techs try to sell me?

It's easy when you use me. How come? Because I don't make any money off the stuff I sell. I don't mark anything up; I profit from services (labor) only. If we happen to need parts and I don't have them on hand, we'll order them over the phone together and generally have them the next day (I have affordable options at hand that make this cost-effective). The order will be in your name, and the product will be yours. You pay what it costs, and I see none of it.

Smart, huh?

I think I might be infected. How can I tell and what should I do?

I don't want to alarm you, but infections these days can be quite dangerous, especially if they are allowed to propogate unchecked. If you suspect you might be infected and your current security solution is not able to correct the problem, it's extremely important to contact an expert as soon as possible.

Some signs of a possible infection include:

    Slow or erratic behavior
    Unsolicited ads
    Warnings from security software
    Fake warnings from fake security software (and extortion attempts)
    Crashes and "blue screens" (Stop Errors)
    Missing or inaccessible data

Disinfection, prevention, and security happens to be my specialty. I'm heavily trained in the area and I can remove even the toughest infections without reformatting. Many techs reformat when they encounter a tough infection, primarily because they don't really know how to fix it. When you reformat, you lose your data and installed programs. I almost never reformat.

If you need advice or disinfection, simply contact me. If you bring it to me, the cost is my usual hourly rate to have the infection removed. Thanks to my level of experience, generally it doesn't take me longer than two hours; I only charge for the time I actively spend tending to the PC; unmonitored scan times and similar are not counted.

Help! I can't even get into Windows!

If you're getting an error message prior to Windows booting, or if your computer repeatedly reboots, it's important to turn it off and not attempt to use it. The reason why is that there is actually a reasonably good chance that your hard drive may be failing. If this is the case, every attempt to access data on the drive reduces the chances of a successful recovery. See here for more on hard drive data recovery.

You should call me immediately if you are experiencing these symptoms. There's a good chance I can partially diagnose your problem over the phone, so it's worth a phone call.

Better yet, I can fix it for you. If indeed it does happen to be a storage failure of some sort, I'm the absolute safest place to have it in the entire city of Louisville thanks to my $20,000+ of first-class drive recovery equipment and software. We can replace the old drive with a shiny new solid-state drive (again, at zero markup for the parts), and your computer will be returned to you many times faster than it ever was the day you first bought it!

My computer keeps crashing and I can't figure out why. Any advice?

This is sort of like saying "I'm really tired and I don't know why," in the sense that there are so many different possible causes. The long and the short of it is that system crashes (including BSODs/Blue Screens of Death/STOP Errors) can be caused by just about anything: driver problems, malware infections, poorly written programs, hardware failures and instabilities, conflicting security software installations—you name it. The key is pinpointing what precisely is causing your particular problem. You can check the memory dumps for some insight into this, but if the idea of that baffles you, why not just leave it to me? I can read through your most recent error dumps (if present), get to the bottom of the problem, and solve it for you.

One thing's for certain: it isn't safe to continue using an unstable computer. Doing so is akin to driving a car that's shaking uncomfortably, making odd noises, or dying randomly—you're risking some serious (possibly even dangerous) damage. If your machine repeatedly shuts off, depending on the cause, you could eventually find yourself unable to boot or access your data. By that time, it could be too late. It's a much better idea not to wait and simply proactively solve the problem before it becomes a serious issue.

I think my hard drive may be failing! Can you help?

It depends. If you're unable to access Windows or you think your data may have been lost, I can probably get it back for you. First off, be sure to stop using the drive immediately; the more you use it, the more likely you'll lose it.

In the case of any hard drive failure, you have a couple of options:

    You can send it to a data recovery company with specialized equipment and a Class 100 clean room and pay upwards of $1,500 to have it recovered

    or

    You can contact me and I can diagnose the drive for you. Probably 70-80% of the time, I can use the world-class recovery equipment and the pricey software that I own to recover your data.

Before I begin working on the drive, there are a couple of things I will check for you in the name of safety. The first is the drive's mechanical status. I will run non-invasive tests to diagnose whether the problem lies in the firmware or mechanical realm or the logical realm. If it's a logical failure, I can recover your data almost certainly.

If it so happens that it's a mechanical failure, we can discuss your options. Chances are, I can recover your data at a small fraction of the cost of any major lab. I use much of the same extremely powerful and expensive equipment as the big data recovery firms, with the sole exception that I draw the line if any firmware or mechanical repairs are necessary in order to read the drive (if this happens, I'll simply return your drive to you and refer you to a data recovery firm if you wish to continue).

If I don't recover your data, the drive diagnosis won't cost you anything!

I've got a dead computer, but I need my data. What can I do?

One option is to slave the drive to another system and copy the files you need. This actually isn't that difficult, but it does require physical removal of the drive and careful connection to the host PC. If it sounds risky to you, don't sweat it; I can do it for you.

On the other hand, if your data isn't visible or the drive is exhibiting strange behavior, you're better off to bring it to me anyway. If advanced data recovery is necessary, I'll let you know. Sometimes it's no big deal and you just need to take the right approach to get the data back; if that's the case, I'll charge you whatever it takes and nothing more. This sort of thing is generally easy for me and is often not at all expensive.

How long will you store my unclaimed equipment?

This is something about which I'm uniquely lenient. While most tech service/computer repair companies, as a matter of liability and even sheer storage space, limit their storage of unclaimed customer equipment to 90 days, I do my best to hang onto stuff for at least 6 months—or even longer if the customer regularly communicates/indicates their intention to pick up the equipment. I understand that things happen, and I do my best to work with everyone and their busy schedules. In the past, in fact, I've stored some items for well over a year (but don't bank on it).

However, it's impractical for me to hold your stuff indefinitely. If, for instance, you drop off a computer or hard drive, decline service, and I don't hear from you for months or even years, of course at some point I have to dispose of it. Rest assured that if and when I'm forced to do this, it's always done securely: I wipe/destroy all drives before they're recycled/disposed of, and the same goes for any storage in any PC or equipment.

Contact Steve
SteveTripleSComputers.com
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Monday-Friday 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday, Sunday Varies