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Keep your computer virus-free for cheap

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

If you've had a virus or a slow-running computer, you probably know it can be pricey to repair. That's why we went on a mission to find the best prices in town.

We found out that it makes a huge difference in price where you shop. From the big box retailers to the smaller locally-owned businesses, we have you covered.

Helmut Grollitsch was shocked when he was quoted $400 at a big box retailer to repair two slow-running laptops.

"It was very, very slow. It just didn't want to do anything anymore," said Grollitsch.

After shopping around, he found Top Tech Experts, a locally-owned computer sales and repair shop. Instead of spending $400, he paid $100 to get his laptops running like new.

"On both of them, I would have saved $300," said Grollitsch.

Alex Diaz of Top Tech Experts takes pride in offering low prices.

"We charge what we think is fair. We have a lot of very shocked customers that end up being happy customers that for $50 they get their computers acting like new again," Diaz said.

Top Tech Experts charges $50 to remove viruses, install new anti-virus software and offers a free PC tune-up.

Micro-Center prices start at $120 for the same service while Houston's locally-owned Computer Hospital charges $145, but they back up your system. Best Buy's Geek Squad offers virus removal anywhere from $129 all the way up to $299.

If you need to transfer your data from an old computer to a new one, Geek Squad was the priciest at $99, The Computer Hospital charges $75, Micro-Center charges $59.95 while Top Tech Experts was the lowest at $45. But if you buy your computer from Top Tech Experts, they transfer the data for free.

For those of you who want to recycle your computer, Top Tech Experts will erase all your files and remove the computer for you at no cost. Micro-Center charges $39.95. The Geek Squad's price is $59 while the Computer Hospital charges $79.

The experts say though before you decide to recycle your computer and buy a new one, be sure to get it diagnosed. That service is usually free at most computer repair shops.

"You can always save it, you can always upgrade it, fix it and get several more years out of it," said Diaz.

That's exactly what Grollitsch did. He was about to buy a new computer, but now his old ones run like new.

Computer repair experts say the number one problem with slow or inefficient computers is viruses.

Here are the top three ways to avoid getting a Computer virus:

  1. Install anti-virus software, keep it up to date and perform daily scans.
  2. Do no open any emails from unexpected sources, as well as forwarded jokes, funny pictures, and chain letters, even if they come from a friend or someone on your contact list.
  3. Be very cautious of any website that offers free music, ringtones, movies, and programs. Just clicking on the link to these sites could infect your computer.

You can download anti-virus software on your own, but if you already have a virus, most of us will have to call the pros to get rid of it.

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