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Review Article of the Month - February 2012
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Calling all Local Computer Users

Into February we have decided to focus our current review page on computers and computer repairs. Anyone using Rochford Life has got to be a computer user and as computers form such a significant part of so much of modern life, we decided to focus on providers of computers and especially computer repairs in Rochford and Ashingdon. We have covered each of these providers and so each of the links you’ll find here will take you to their pages where you’ll find more information on them.

Having decided we would do this, this month, as life would have it, one of our two PC’s developed a serious Windows corruption that threw up an error message and wouldn’t load. Having used various diagnostic tools to no avail we reluctantly decided it needed an expert.
Our first stop was to Argon Computing on Southend Road almost opposite the Vulcan. You’ll recognise them by the large figure that is always outside! “Yes,” they said, “we can deal with that for you.” “How much I enquired and how long?” “Well we have a basic charge of £45 and it won’t be today. We deal with things in the order they come in.” “No problem,” I replied and left it with them. Two days later, I rang them? “Any joy with my computer?”  “We’ve just got to it and it’s just going on the bench and we’ll ring you.”
A while passed and they rang. We are having a bit of trouble with your computer. We’ve tried absolutely everything and nothing is working. We can only suggest we save all your data and then completely reload Windows.” We talked the possibilities and concluded that was the right course.
A day later it was done. They had been working on it on and off for over two days. I expected a large bill. “Oh no,” they said, “it’s always the standard £45 charge, obviously plus parts if need be, and if we can’t sort it we don’t charge.” They warned me previously that reloading would lose the working programs I might have on the computer but when I started it again at home there is was fully working and with a slightly more updated version of Office and a freebie anti-virus program. Impressive! And it was now fast again!

Argon clearly get a lot of work and so if you are in a real hurry to get your computer repaired you may like to think of one of the other two providers in town. Having said that, when the power went in this same rather aging computer a number of months ago, they repaired it and had it ready for me in under three hours - you need to check with them - but the price will be good.
If you live in the Rochford end of town or drive past the Riverside Estate behind the fire station, you will undoubtedly want to try Riverside Computers. These guys will charge you £35 for a check and reload as above, perhaps a bit more if they need to spend days on it! Ask.  If you need to carry on working they will loan you a laptop free and will even come and pick up and return your computer if you can’t leave home. It’s worth roaming round the back of this estate to find them - they’re about the third ‘inlet’ -  look for Rochford Garage’s sign. If you want a cheap computer as backup or just to replace you’ll find reconditioned PCs and laptops here for well under £100. Go and talk to them about what programs they carry. You can’t beat it! If you’re starting in computing, don’t spend a fortune, go here and get their advice.
We’ll mention them in passing, but if you live at the bottom end of Ashingdon Road, Ashingdon Electronics DON’T deal with computers - spares for Hoovers and goodness knows what else, but not computers.
If you live up the other end of Rochford or in Ashingdon, then you will no doubt try Discount Computer Repairs - you’ll probably see their sign outside and they’re tucked between the Flower Basket and Stephanie’s. As their window posters declare they’ll deal with computers, Sat Navs and iPods etc. Most jobs, they tell us, will not exceed £55. If in doubt ask.  They also sell the occasional reconditioned PC as well at good prices, so what we said earlier applies. Check them out before you go spending big money in Southend!
Remember, if you need professional help, the key things to think about  are:

1. How long can I afford to be without my computer?
If it’s business, you’ll be more concerned about getting a guide time or even a temporary replacement
If it’s pleasure you can afford to wait, don’t fret - but still ask for a guide.
2. How much will it cost?
Check the basic prices being quoted  - will it be more?  Cost of parts?  Ask.

If you have an aging computer don’t be surprised if it goes slower now that when you first bought it. Every Windows update, every anti-virus update and every new program added conspire to slow you down. If you want faster you may want more RAM - go along and ask them if you lack the confidence to do it yourself. It may be you need a faster processor, a disk cleanup or even a new computer. It’s worth going along and asking the guys here in the business. They’ll all be happy to talk to you about it.

If you do need a Windows reload, bear in mind that they will be able to save your data but not you own programs. So, a word to the wise, hold on to your program CDs, you may need them again one day. And if you bought a program by downloading from the Internet, hold on to contact details etc. to get back to the original provider if you need a replacement. All things to be thought about!

One further thing to think about: If you buy a new computer after years with an old faithful, it may be 64-bit (if you’re unsure what that means, look it up in Wikipedia) and you find that it won’t run the older programs you loved on your old computer. That may be a case for buying an older reconditioned one sometimes.  But if you really want FAST, then it’s probably new!

If you have serious trouble, we hope some of the things above will help you. Remember we have a number of computing pages on Rochford Life that cover mostly basic things so if you want to think more broadly, check out our Computing Contents page. Happy Computing!

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