In a world where basically any information can be found within a few seconds, and there is approximately 44 Zettabytes online (that’s 1 099 511 627 776 Gigabytes!), it may come as no surprise that clear tutorials to fix most computer-related issues are readily available – for free. However, despite this, you’ll find a staggering amount of people, not least in the creative field, who take their computers to the shop for the smallest problems.
Now, especially during these tough times for small businesses, I don’t mean to imply that people shouldn’t support computer repair shops at all. We definitely should support all the small businesses we can while the government reserves its support for connected corporates, and while almost half of small businesses in South Africa closed due to lockdown. There are a lot of issues that can only be solved by trained experts.
The Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, but then it starts its own tree and becomes the world’s first trillion-Dollar tree
What’s the one thing that people outside of the creative industry know about creatives? That they’ll buy anything if it’s shiny and made by Apple. Yet, at the same time, the same creatives complain about the high costs of living and low wages offered by some gigs. Without delving too deeply into the reasons behind so many creatives choosing the (much) more expensive Apple over similar and superior non-Apple configurations, I think Rory Sutherland from Ogilvy UK summarized it succinctly by saying that it’s all about magic. Apple computers are objectively overpriced, and their build quality and anti-self-repair policies are routinely criticized by those in the repair industry, such as Louis Rossman. Yet, that doesn’t matter, because they look and feel great to use. That is, until a drop of liquid enters the keyboard, or the screen has a line on it, or it just stops working due to improper cooling built into it.
To those willing and able to afford the certifiably insane costs of firstly purchasing, then repairing, and (heaven forbid) upgrading their Apple machines, enjoy. However, for those of us who don’t enjoy throwing our hard-earned cash into a giant corporate Apple-shaped hole, there are very easy ways to fix and upgrade our own machines. Even for those who’ve unfortunately already been saddled with Apple machines, there are a surprising amount of repairs and upgrades you can do yourself – if you’re willing to spend a bit of time watching online tutorials, sourcing the right parts online, and have a very steady hand. As previously mentioned, Apple hates its consumers repairing their own products (see the worldwide Right to Repair campaign, and Apple’s vehement opposition to it).
What to do when your computer does something it’s not supposed to
Wait! Before jumping on Google to find the nearest repair shop, ask yourself: does this seem like something I could find the solution to online? More often than not, software issues especially are something that can be addressed online. Stack Overflow, How-To Geek, and Tom’s Hardware are just a few of the community-driven platforms where you can ask questions that you can’t immediately find the answers to. The Microsoft Support site is also a great resource for a lot of common Windows errors, much better than any help Apple users will get on their support site (which mostly tells users to take their devices to an Apple Store for “repairs”, which mostly ends up being an opportunity for the “geniuses” to up-sell the next device to you).
Learn your way around computers
The first thing you should know is that computers are far less complicated than you think. Of course, we’re not talking about component-level repair, which requires trained hands and expertise beyond a simple hard-drive swap. But for the most part, computers make a lot of simple sense. Just spend some time opening up your computer and getting to know its parts. Sounds gross, but seriously – this will help you to understand how everything fits together, which is the first requirement before upgrading any components yourself.
Furthermore, having basic knowledge of the layout inside your computer will help you to troubleshoot when something goes wrong. For example, knowing that a lot of startup issues can be caused by faulty RAM setups, and knowing where the chips are and how to remove them, can help you to determine the issue in a few seconds by removing them one-by-one and testing if one of them is corrupt or incorrectly positioned.
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Besides being an all-round content production and digital marketing studio, we also possess some knowledge about tech issues, and have helped a few people sort out a multitude of problems by doing virtual consultations and screen-sharing. If it’s an easy problem, we don’t mind having a look.
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