Every passing minute of an unavailable device means tangible financial losses, posing a significant threat to any business.
Swift attention to this matter is paramount, as the uninterrupted operation of a device is pivotal to the sustained success and profitability of any enterprise.
It’s almost like the manufacturers don’t want you to be able to fix your own device! In fact, there is legislation in 30 states that proposes a right to repair for electronic devices! There are good arguments on both sides, which you can read about by searching “right to repair.” The topic is interesting but a little beyond the scope of this article, which is to talk about your six lines of defense when it comes to fixing your devices.
The truth is, there are some things you can troubleshoot on your own, depending on how tech-savvy you are and your patience levels (good luck with that); likewise, there are some times when a professional repair technician is the safest and best bet.
Before you do anything, try restarting your device. If it’s battery operated, power it down and wait 20 seconds before restarting it. If it’s plugged into the wall (smart TV or smart home device, for example), power it down and unplug it. Wait 20 or so seconds before plugging it back in and restarting it. Also, another take-it-from-us-we’ve-been-there-done-that piece of advice is to ensure the outlet is working. Make sure something didn’t happen to your power strip or electric outlet to trip it and turn off.
OK, you’ve done the obvious and the device is still not working. Here are some resources for DIY troubleshooting:
wikiHow: Known for concise, well-edited articles with clear illustrations, this site offers step-by-step guides for common device issues.
YouTube: A vast resource for tutorials on fixing various devices. Look for channels like MakeUseOf and Apple Support for reliable guidance. Many manufacturers have their own websites that offer troubleshooting and tips and tricks for getting the best out of your devices.
HowToGeek: This is another site that is pretty good at offering quick fixes, but, unlike wikiHow which is 100% how-to articles, HowToGeek contains news articles and product reviews, which you’ll have to sift through to get to your answers.
Other sites that offer a mix of helpful articles, product reviews and repair tips include: Tom’s Guide, Digital Trends, Lifewire, Android Central and MacWorld.
Visit the support section of your device's manufacturer for self-help options and user forums with tips and hacks. Many of them have what’s called “knowledge bases,” which are repositories of helpful articles, guides and videos. The goal of a knowledge base is to alleviate customer service teams from answering the same questions over and over, freeing them up to address more technical issues. Here are a few links to some of the most common consumer tech knowledge bases:
You can find more information on your manufacturer’s help desks by searching for [name] + knowledge base or tech support. Many of today’s manufacturers offer online support, both through bots and live chat.
Consider local repair shops for your needs, especially if your device is under warranty. Look for shops with certifications or authorizations from manufacturers. Chains like UBreakiFix and Geek Squad are notable examples. If you live near a college or university, or even near a business district, you’ll tend to find a lot of computer repair shops near there. The upside of that location is the more competition, the lower the repair prices (in theory). Shop around, ask for recommendations through your social networks, and check their reviews online.
Big-box retailers like Best Buy (home of the Geek Squad, mentioned in Option 3) offer extensive repair services for various electronics, including authorized services for brands like Apple and Samsung. Apple also has its own Genius Bar, which includes online options and in-store options. If you don’t live near an Apple store, they will connect you with authorized Apple repair shops near you.
ISPs like Verizon or AT&T might offer repair services, especially if you have warranties or service agreements and you bought or leased your device from them. Check if they provide mobile repair services for common issues, such as a cracked screen repair.
For non-urgent repairs, online services are a practical option. Review online repair shop’s shipping policies, warranty on repairs, data protection measures, payment methods, and communication during the repair process. Services like GeekSquad do offer remote tech support, which can be convenient for individuals and small businesses. You’ll need to give them access to your device, which allows them to connect over the internet to your laptop or computer, so they can see what you see on your screens. This, of course, is a service limited to laptops and computers. There are some remote services that will work on smartphones and other connected devices, which entail you working with a technician and following their instructions. Some video may be required, so they can see what you see!
Always start with the manufacturer's website for troubleshooting. If the issue is covered under warranty, initiate a repair request. For out-of-warranty devices, compare local and online repair services based on cost and time efficiency. Quick repairs might be more expensive, while less urgent ones could be more economical.
This approach offers a balanced view of your repair options, considering both self-help and professional services.