One of the biggest misconceptions about computers is that it takes a rocket scientist to fix any problem that might show up on one. I'm here to tell you that fixing your computer is something you can do.
Now, in no way am I calling down your local computer repair person (I am one, remember) - they're by and large a very smart bunch of people, usually with a lot of education and experience.
However, the fact remains that a large portion of the problems that computer users encounter can be easily solved by following freely available advice on this and other sites online. Even more difficult problems can be solved if you're willing to invest a little time to learn a few things about your computer along the way.
Important: At very least, before you take your computer in for service, see my List of Common PC Problems and How to Fix Them. If you don't see your problem there, be sure to search for it in the search box at the top of any page.
Fixing Your Own PC Will Save You Money
Saving money is probably an obvious advantage of fixing your own computer.
Getting your computer serviced at a local shop will usually run you from $40 to $90 USD per hour or more. Some are less expensive but that's not the norm. Remote computer support options are typically cheaper but they can only help fix some software related problems and are useless in cases where hardware is to blame.
If you fix your computer problem yourself, you can completely avoid what might end up being a several hundred dollar bill. No matter what your financial situation, free is a pretty good deal. That's a lot of money you can save by investing some time in trying to fix it yourself.
You Don't Need Expensive Tools to Fix Your Own Computer
Many people think that they have to buy lots of expensive diagnostic hardware and software to fix a computer. This is absolutely not the case. Expensive tools do exist but they're usually used to help computer repair services test or solve things quickly or in bulk.
Chances are you already have 95% of the physical tools you would ever need to fix any computer problem in your toolbox or garage.
Computer repair services also use many software diagnostic tools to determine what might be wrong with a computer but most of the very best ones they use are available for free online!
Here are a few of my favorite free, professional level diagnostic tools available for download by anyone:
You'll Probably Be Back Up and Running Faster
You might be thinking to yourself at this point that surely it'll take days or weeks to learn enough to repair your own computer and that it won't be worth the trouble. You need your computer working right now, right?
First of all, unless you're lucky, after you drop your computer off at the repair shop you'll likely be waiting at least an entire day, usually longer, before you'll be able to pick it back up. You are your only client when you've become the repair person yourself so my guess is that you can get on it a bit more quickly.
Secondly, you might be surprised to know that most common problems are solved by relatively simple steps. The more time you spend looking for solutions to computer problems online the more you'll see that this is true.
Finally, and I really want to stress this one, you don't need to learn to solve every computer problem to solve this computer problem. A knowledgeable computer repair person has a lot of experience and education and can solve a multitude of problems with ease. You don't need to reach this level of knowledge about repairing computers.
You need to solve your single problem as quickly as possible. Well written, easy to follow troubleshooting information online will get you that.
You Know More Than You Think
If you're having trouble using the mouse, keyboard, or screw driver then you might have a problem repairing your PC. Otherwise, you're only a step-by-step troubleshooting guide away from solving pretty much any computer problem you might see.
So much great information is available to help people solve PC problems online - from forums like mine and others around the Internet to fix-it and troubleshooting information available on this and hundreds of other sites.
If you can think logically, follow instructions in order, and ask questions when you're not sure about something or don't understand, then you should feel confident enough to try to fix your own computer problems before you even think about paying someone else to.