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Frequently Asked Questions

 

How Much Should I spend on Getting My Laptop Fixed?

 

I am asked often “do you think my laptop is worth repairing?” and before I can draw a breath to answer the customer  will add “you can buy them now from Officeworks or Harvey Norman new for $300-400”. So I thought I’d address this question of where is the tipping point for laptop replacement.

 

These are the factors to consider:

 

1. The age of your laptop. The older it is the less you’d want to spend on repairing it as the dollars you spend are 2011 dollars and your spending them on 2005-2006, etc technology.

 

2. The initial cost of your laptop, or more importantly, was it an expensive one for its day or a cheap one. If it was a “high end” laptop to replace it with a $400 low end new one is like going from a used BMW  worth $12000 to a new Chery also worth $12000. You may not adjust very well after being spoilt with features and quality. If it was a cheap one then replacing it with another cheap one should be OK from a quality standpoint.

 

3. Software and Setup. Many people, I myself for example, have my own little world happening on my laptop software wise. I have my family history software, my Quickbooks, and various other applications all installed and working. In the case of Quickbooks I have lost my installation CD so I can’t reinstall a needed program should I replace my laptop. This is typical of most users. The value of their “software world” should not be ignored as it can be very painful to try to rebuild this prematurely on a new laptop when the old one is readily repairable.

 

4. Data transfer can also be expensive especially if you have a lot of email, music or photos.

 

5. Your type of fault is also important. You’d normally never replace a laptop that has software issues as these can be fixed quickly and without  parts. 

 

6. Some hardware issues are also straight-forward such as a broken screen or keyboard damage, etc,  as like changing a tyre on a car, the new part will 100% fix the issue.

 

7. If you have, on the other hand, intermittent, annoying hardware issues like freezing up, blue screens, corrupt display, random shutting down etc, these are the type of issues that may be hard to repair and could be a sign of future unreliability as the electronics in the laptop age.

 

8. Also an expensive repair normally will only have a 90 day parts warranty. This is the industry standard. Whereas a new laptop you can extend your warranty to 3 years.

 

So here is the benefit of my experience based on laptop age; Pentium 4 laptops or older – these are not worth repairing; Centrino laptops spend up to a couple of hundred dollars; Core2  laptops maybe up to $400-700, and  i3, i5 and i7 maybe up to two thirds of their initial cost.

 

We offer all Fix My Laptop existing and potential customers with an honest appraisal of their repair viability as, in the long run for us, the best advise we can offer will build trust and loyalty and this will and has underpinned our business success.  Drop in or call us any time if you need help.

 

 

There are our Terms and Conditions and our Privacy Policy, but thats about all. Our charges are here so we've really a "no surprises" type of company.

Premature death of laptops can often be traced to overheating. Research conducted and reported in the Gartner Hardware Failure Rates report of 2006 suggests that 22% of laptops die from overheating.

Inside your laptop the main chips (cpu and gpu) generate a lot of heat. To deal with this heat in a confined space the  laptops have fans and “heat-sinks” to draw away the heat from the CPU and other main chips.

From this photo of a typical cooling module you can see the fan is well enclosed in its housing and the pads used to cover the CPU and GPU have the copper heat pipes that lead to the vent that blows cool air onto the CPU and GPU chips: 

Typical Laptop Cooling Module

 

This design works well unless the system is compromised by lack of air flow. Just as a car will boil its engine if the radiator is blocked with bugs or vegetation, so likewise a laptop will overheat unless the cooling system can suck in and blow out air properly.

As the cooling system sucks cool air it can also suck in dust, fluff and dirt. If this happens over a long period of time (months or years) the cooling vents can clog up like the lint filter in a tumble dryer.

In the photo below, you can see the dust, hair and grunge built up from an actual HP Pavilion dv9000 we had in the workshop. It had died from overheating, or more correctly, it had died from user neglect causing overheating.

dv9000 cooling module choked with grunge, only accessible and visible with total laptop stripdown 

 Also the fans can fail because of the dust or for other mechanical reasons.  If these things happen the laptop will overheat.  In the photo below you can see that the “grill” used to cool the CPU and GPU has a wad of fluff on it, limiting air flow severly. To make matters worse the laptop has to be totally disassembled to get to the fans and the fan has been unscrewed from the metal heat-sink to expose the grunge.

 GPU cooling vent blocked with grunge

 How to Detect Overheating.

It may seem obvious but is your laptop is unusually hot to the touch or is the air coming from the sides of the laptop is very hot? If yes, then you could have a problem.

Other symptoms are:

* Do your fans run more or less constantly?

* Is the laptop switching off randomlyafter 10 or 20 minutes

* Is the laptop freezing up?

 These could all suggest overheating and like a car with a boiling radiator prompt action could save you serious money.

 Can I Fix This Myself?

 If you have your cooling system clogged with dust or fluff you can buy a “can of air” from Dick Smith or Bunnings and blow the compressed air backwards through the laptop. Naturally this only dislodges the fluff which may then resettle again in the same places.

But as a first step its better than nothing.

 

You can also go to www.alcpu.com/CoreTemp/ and download “CoreTemp” to check your laptops temperature. Under 70 degrees C is OK.

Need Help?

To properly clean your laptop’s cooling system and test the fans for speed and proper operation you may be best to have your laptop serviced professionally. At Fix My Laptop this is a common task we do on a daily basis. Click here to request a quote on a cooling system service

 

Mobile technicians offer convenience to you. .......And often thats all. The "geek" who comes to you, what experience in laptop repairs does he have? Would you have your cars' automatic transmission serviced in your driveway or would you want it repaired in a modern workshop by highly specialized technicians. The same applies to laptops. A mobile guy can't carry with him the parts, experience, specialist tools, and training to handle laptops. Make the right choice, and it need not be painful as we offer a free pickup service. Remember we repair thousands of laptops every year, we have the runs on the board. See what others say about us.

Simply put... we are laptop repair specialists. Our slogan is "Any Brand ! Any Problem". Its our whole business, our passion, and what we are about. Its not an "add on" service your "average" computer shop provides.

We do all Laptop repairs and servicing

including:

  • LCD Screen Replacement
  • Keyboard Replacement
  • Software Repairs/Maintenance
  • Memory Upgrades (Ram and Hard Drives)
  • Motherboard Replacement
  • Internet/Wireless problems
  • Virus/Spyware Removal and Protection
  • Laptop Servicing
  • Replacement Power Chargers
  • Replacement Optical drives
  • DC Power Jack Repairs

 

We supply aftermarket batteries that are very high grade and have a 12 month warranty. Typically the cells inside are Japanese, commonly made by Sanyo. With the AC adapters we supply we DO NOT sell generic or universal types as we consider these to be "rubbish". Most of our chargers are genuine from the Manufacturer; such as Dell, HP or Toshiba. Genuine chargers and high quality batteries are more expensive than Internet counterfeits but you really get what you pay for. We can and do also supply "genuine" batteries, especially Sony.
We can recover your data from your laptop by removing the hard-drive from within the laptop and installing it into a USB external enclosure. We then "reset" the Windows security so users do not get "Access Denied" errors when you try to access the data. We charge $49 for a high quality enclosure and $49.50 in labour (total of $98.50). This process is excellent as it gives 100% data recovery without the high cost of copying Gb's of data.
Yes, we can remove Fakeware from your laptop. Often this involves backing up your data and reloading Windows. Read an article about Fake Technical Support calls here and Fakeware in general here.
We open in Brisbane on Saturdays from 9am to 1pm. The workshop is closed on this day but you can pick up jobs, drop off jobs, etc.
If your laptop has an Nvidia chipset manufactured between 2007 and 2010 and these symptoms listed below, you could have this issue. The issues seem to be tied to one common theme; faulty display or no-display issues.

Other issues reported were:

- not booting up at all sometimes with a beeping
- no screen display
- external video display working but no lcd image
- 6 or 8 images duplicated on the screen
- wireless devices no longer detected in the system
- graphics issues when in 3-D such as blue screens or reboots
- fuzzy images on screen or random characters over the screen

Yes, we can repair most laptops with Nvidia GPU issues. There are two ways to repair a laptop with a failed GPU on the motherboard:

-         replace themotherboard with a new one

-         repair the motherboard.

Our experience has been that HP and Dell have been profiteering on the cost of replacement motherboards to buffer them from losses in attending to in-warranty repairs of their faulty products. Fix My Laptop have researched and perfected a technique to repair the GPU problems affecting laptops with NVidia chips that are failing. Our repair has a two pronged approach:

1)      Clean and Overhaul the cooling system. Here we clean the heatsinks and fans of dust and  debris and test the fan(s) for correct speed and operation. Reapplication of thermal paste is also part of the protocol.

2)      The laptop's graphics chip (GPU) has to be heated up on the motherboard. Using a high temperature air supply and pressure we have to reset the connection between the motherboard and the GPU. A metal shim may have to be placed between the GPU and the heatsink to help keep it cooler and to try to prevent the problem from reoccurring. 

Success Rates

Whilst it is early days without "reheat" program we are encouraged with the success and we hope this will stabilize the problem long term.  From the above information you should  be aware there is a known design problem with laptop model and these NVidia GPU's.We are unable re-design the laptop, we can only repair the fault by reflowing the solder and repairing any cracks caused by thermal fatigue of the solder. A repair is usually around  1/4 of the cost of a replacement part and when successful yields the same results. 

We repair all models of laptop that have LED screens. In our inventory of parts we carry most LED screens allowing us to provide a professional fast repair service.
We repair all brands of Netbook from Asus EEE, to Toshiba NB100 and all other brands. Wecan replace screens, keyboards, harddrives, ram, AC adapters and fix all software issues on netbooks.
As a rule we do not sell parts without fitting them ourselves. However we do have a full range of laptop chargers and laptop accessories in stock.  Read why we suggest your better served by having us supply and fit parts for you. Check out our 10 reasons.
These are several types of password that could be lost (and hopefully recovered).
  • CMOS Password - Moderately hard to break
  • Hard drive Password - Almost impossible to break
  • Windows Password - Easier to break

With your laptop we can try on a best effort basis. We cannot as of March 2014 remove Windows 8 passwords.

 Our advice for copying data from an old laptop onto a new laptop is to use an intermediate device such as a External Hard Drive or Flash Drive. Copy the files onto the device and then copy them onto the new laptop.

If you require help with getting data from your old laptop onto a new laptop one we can do it for you our rates for data transfer are generally 1-1.5hrs depending on how much data there is.

Just bring in the laptops and leave it with us for 1-2 days. If you need our help you can book a courier here.

Yes, we guarantee all our repair work.  In our Terms and Conditions under item (12) it says:

"12) Warranty. We provide warranty for all work done by us. We will make good any faults caused by us or replace any parts fitted by us during the part warranty period. We may choose to give you an advance replacement of the parts or you may have to wait for the manufacturer to replace the returned part. Re-infectation of viruses is not normally a warranty matter. Certain know faults of a design nature will not be covered by this warranty policy more than once, ie we will only replace a part under warranty once."

The best way to check up on your job is to give us a quick phone call on Northside (07) 3857 6875 or Southside (07) 3420 4666 or Gold Coast on 5592 4411. Interstate callers can use our 1300 364 229 phone number as well.
Our turn around goal is 1-2 business days. As we hold lots of parts in stock in most cases we are able to meet this. However if parts need to be ordered it may be an additional 1-2 weeks as we wait for parts to arrive. See what others say about how fast we are.

We charge a quote fee to cover our time it takes to diagnose and test the laptop, identify a solution and obtain a quote on replacement parts. This quote fee is only paid if you decide not to go ahead with repairs.

Yes, click here for to book in your laptop and arrange a courier. Click here for an online quote. 

Virus removal can be difficult without the correct tools and the knowledge. Make sure that you have Virus protection software installed onto your laptop. We recommend downloading the Free AVG anti-virus software if you don't have any. Be watchful of emails from people you don't know and offers that seem to good to be true. If your laptop starts acting strange or you suspect that it may be infected with viruses feel free to drop your laptop in and the technicians can do a virus removal, clean up and tune up. If the laptop is very badly infected a reload of windows may be advised. You can download anti-virus software and anti-spyware software from the links on our website.  If you prefer to have us sought out your problems feel free to request a quote here or book a courier here. If you are interstate or in rural Queensland you can use our free freight service to get your laptop to us quickly.

Yes it can be replaced. We will need to have a look and match up the corresponding drive. We can supply and fit a generic DVD-RW (Pioneer brand), the thing we need to check is the bezel to make sure it will fit.

Backing up your data is extremely important. Laptop hard drives are known to fail with out notice.

There are a few methods we recommend:

  • Buy an external hard drive from as little as $100, this plugs in via USB and copy across your important files. Things such as photos, emails, documents - thing that are impossible to replace.
  • Another way is to purchase a USB Flash Drive and as you save your photos or do a document - save it both on your laptop and on your Flash Drive.
  • You can also burn your data onto DVD.
  • There are also data storage places that will safely store your data for you, by googling data storage or online back ups you can identify costs and companies that offer this service.

We suggest that storing important data in a couple of places is the best way, so that if one thing fails you know that you can get you important data back, quickly and easily.

Review our recent "News" article on Backing Up To The Cloud here. 

First off if you have accidental damage insurance we can do an insurance inspection report to help you claim for the damage (click here to quick start your report), if not accept our condolences for the demise of your laptop. A liquid spill on your laptop can be fatal to it. If the spill has penetrated past the keyboard the unit will most likely short-circuit and fail. If the laptop stops booting up this usually indicates motherboard damage. If your laptop is completely dead (or only having a momentary flash of LED lights and some fan spin) can be a serious problem. Most commonly it is the motherboard which is a very expensive component to replace. I’d suggest the best course of action is to bring it/send it into our Windsor workshop so we can quote you on repair. Book a courier here.

Please note: If you decide to not repair this unit or you get an insurance payout we’d like to buy it for spare parts at a good price. Click here to find out more.

Some components of a laptop can be upgraded.

For example:
Your ram can be upgraded, must keep in mind that you only get two slots wherein you can put ram.
Your hard drive can be upgraded to give you more space.
Some models of laptops you can upgrade the video card.

However other component such as processor, screen size, motherboard can not be upgraded.

We often come across laptops that shut down (or freeze up) after operating for a while. This is a common symptom of over-heating wherein the laptop does a protective shutdown.

Commonly by cleaning the heatsink and fans to remove any dust or lint with recitfy the issue. This may require a lot of disassembly to get into the inner areas of the laptop.

Unfortunately the keyboards are not really repairable regardless of how many or few keys are damaged/not working. In a few cases we can remove/replace individual keys but this is a lucky dip. The individual keys are typically held in place by what we call "little deck chairs" that press down on rubber springs. On each keyboard there are various configurations depending on key size, eg the space bar would be different from the enter key which is different from the a-z keys.

If we have a faulty/dead keyboard we can mix and match keys in an attempt at repair, but this is a hit or miss affair. We will try for you in which case the repair would be around $20 (or less depending on how long it takes to find the small parts needed)

In the worst case a replacement keyboard is needed. We normally have most keyboards in stock. (same day repair) If we have to order it in so allow for 3-5 days from job commencement. We can pull out your own keyboard and lend you an external USB keyboard until it arrives if necessary

A dim screen can be caused by four things:
  1. The LCD inverter which causes the LCD panel to light up
  2. The CCFL fluro tube in the LCD panel
  3. The motherboard supplying signal & voltage to the inverter
  4. A damaged video cable between the laptop and the screen 
Most commonly (say 80% of the time) it’s the inverter, 10% it’s the ccfl tube in the LCD panel, and 10% it’s the motherboard or the VGA cable.

Yes, we just need to replace the LCD or LED screen including touchscreens. The price varies according to make/model/age/resolution/supply and demand. To get an exact price - call us or submit an online quote. We use new and refurbished panels all with 3 months warranty (used panels also have a 3 month warranty). We normally have most LCD and LED screens in stock. (1-2 day repair) If we have to order it in so allow for 3-5 days from job commencement. 

You can call us on 1300 364 229, or fill in our online courier booking request. For all SE QLD we use Couriers Please.
 It is common for laptops with damaged Windows files to try to load Windows then crash (commonly with the "blue screen of death" (as the geeks call it)) and loop around trying to load the operating system. It is also common for Windows to partially load then freeze up before you see icons, or for it to crash and go to the safe-mode F8 menu.

To determine if its hardware or software we have some hard-drive technician tools that tests the drives and the Windows structures. In about 75% of the time it's the hard drive rather than a "spontaneous" corruption of Windows files (or a virus/spyware attack). To determine what the exact problem is the technicians would need to test your laptop and then quote on repair

You can pay by Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Direct Debit, Cheque and Cash. Payment is made when collecting the laptop. Special arrangements may be undertaken - for example a deposit may be requires when ordering parts.
There are a few different causes to a battery not charging up: 
  • the laptop’s power charging circuit could be faulty
  • the battery could be faulty
  • if a new battery has been fitted, that new battery could have died on the shelf by dropping to 0% charge and latching itself as faulty
  • or it could be the wrong battery or charger for the laptop
 To have your laptop completely dead/not turning on (or only having a momentary flash of LED lights and some fan spin) can be a serious problem. Most commonly it is the motherboard which is a very expensive component to replace ($500 ~ $1000+ depending on make and model, etc). It is also common that a laptop that presents as dead can be revived if the fault is:
  • flat battery and/or faulty AC charger
  • stuck in hibernation or some "twilight zone" state
  • faulty ram or hard drive
  • a repairable motherboard issue.

Yes, we have a 24 hour or less inspection, quotation and Insurance Report service that will allow you to lodge a claim quickly if necessary. The report will cover the inspection results, a quotation on repair or replacement, and an overall recommendation on what we consider to be the most prudent action to take.

For example, old laptops are no longer able to be repaired as parts are discontinued, also with liquid spills or dropped units, the risks of damage being more widespread that initial inspections can cause us to recommend write off.  

The insurance inspection (including dismantlement), the sourcing and pricing of replacement parts or laptop, and the written report costs $120. This is normally paid by the Insurance company. We can fax or email the report to your insurance company for you, as well.

You can quick start your report by clicking here or drop in today with your insurance details, your insurance company, claim number etc.

The cause of a laptop that is running slow can be a few different things:
  1. insufficient ram
  2. Norton products in particular Norton Internet Security or Norton Anitivirus (even if fully or partially removed)
  3. Other internet security software or suites
  4. Actual virus/spyware/malware damage or infection
  5. Large numbers of items in startup
  6. A failing hard disk drive
  7. CPU settings wrong in BIOS or powersaving set to run CPU at low speed all the time.
  8. Overheating from blocked/clogged heatsinks and fans.

We can identify your issues, fix the straightforward things straight away and if necessary quote you on more memory or a new hard drive.

Click here to request a quote for the above services.

It really depends on what needs to be done.

Our standard fees are as follows:

Quote Fee $66
This is for workshop time in diagnosing of the problem - identifying a solution or sourcing and pricing replacement parts. This is only paid if you choose not to go ahead with any repairs.

Minimum Workshop Fee $99
This is for up to 1hr of workshop time.

Hourly rate $99/hr
Most repairs are able to be done within the 1-2hr range.

Insurance Report $120
Comprehensive report submitted to insurance company

For an online quote click here or to talk with someone please call 1300 364 229.

Our Brisbane based repair centre: 130 Albion Rd, Windsor  QLD  4030. 

M-F 8.30am to 5.30pm  Sat 9am-1pm