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3 Steps Students Should Take When a Laptop Breaks

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Most students rely on laptops, notebooks, or Chromebooks to handle their coursework, and with more classes moving online, a computer isn’t a luxury for students — it’s a necessity. If your device fails, don’t panic. By taking appropriate actions, you can reduce your chances of a hefty repair bill while minimizing downtime.

Pay attention to the symptoms. Listen for unusual tapping or whirring noises, which can indicate a hard drive failure. If the computer displays any error messages, write down the exact text including any numbers or codes. Look for flashing lights or obvious signs of mechanical damage (for instance, a damaged power cord).  Find the computer’s model number and serial number, which can be useful for troubleshooting.

If you believe that the computer is infected with a virus or other malicious program, follow our guide here to attempt to remove the malware. However, if the computer shows signs of physical damage, keep it powered off after you’ve made a list of the symptoms. Operating a damaged computer can result in media damage, file corruption, and data loss.

Back up data (if possible). If your computer still boots, you may be able to copy important files to a flash drive or cloud backup service before performing repairs. Depending on your technical proficiency, you may also decide to remove the computer’s hard drive or solid-state drive to access the data from another machine.

Try to prioritize your most important files, and if the computer’s symptoms seem to be getting worse, turn it off right away.  Don’t attempt to copy files from any device that shows signs of physical damage (for instance, a hard drive that makes clicking or whirring sounds).

If you rely on the laptop, don’t attempt repairs on your own. If you can clearly determine the cause of the failure (for instance, the computer shows an error message indicating a media failure), you may be able to repair the laptop on your own. However, many modern laptops aren’t designed to make user repairs easy; you may need special tools to disassemble the device and access the damaged components. Attempting repairs may void manufacturer warranties, so don’t start unless you have a clear plan in place.

In other words, if you’re unsure of the source of the problem — or if you haven’t backed up your data — leave it to the professionals. Attempting repairs could cause permanent data loss or increase the cost of your repair bill. The safest (and cheapest) option is to take the computer to a qualified repair service.

At PC Geeks, we have the tools, resources, and expertise to address any laptop failure. Whether you need data recovery, virus/malware removal, or you simply want to get your computer into working condition as quickly as possible, our technicians are ready to help. Contact us today to discuss your options.

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