Desktop and laptop computers can work for years and develop issues that are beyond your ability to resolve. When that happens, it pays to take the system to a reputable repair service. Before you do that, take the time to prepare your computer for repair. Your efforts will make it easier for you to keep working while the system is in the shop and also help the repair team. Here are a few tips that will help.
Create a Hard Drive Image Backup If You Can
Your first task is to create an image backup of your hard drive. This process will vary slightly based on the operating system that you use. There is also software that will help you with the process. Save the image to a disk or upload it to a secure cloud position. In the event something happens during the repair, it will always be possible to restore the hard drive and begin again.
Copy Folders and Files You Will Need While the Computer is in the Shop
While you can get by without some of the data stored on the hard drive for a few days, other files and folders are essential. Before the computer goes to the shop, copy whatever you believe will be needed to a USB drive or upload those folders to a secure cloud storage service. Either approach ensures that you will have an easy time retrieving the data that you need and even loading it onto your backup computer if necessary.
Encrypt Sensitive or Proprietary Files You’re Leaving on the Hard Drive
While some of the folders and files on the system are okay for anyone to view, take the time to encrypt files that contain proprietary or sensitive information. This is especially important if you keep tax documents, client lists, or confidential information that your clients have entrusted to you on the hard drive. As with creating the hard drive image, the process for encrypting individual files will vary slightly. Find the right process and try it with a single file. If all goes well, repeat the process with the other sensitive files and folders.
But Ensure the Computer is Accessible to the Repair Specialist
Be aware that there are ways to encrypt an entire hard drive. Other than the passwords you already use (and that you will provide to the repair specialist,) do not attempt to add another layer of security to the entire hard drive. The goal is to make sure that when you prepare your computer for repair, only individual files that must remain secure are locked. Every other aspect of the system must be accessible using the primary password that identifies you as a user. Remember that if you can temporarily disable the primary password, do so.
Prepare an Electronic Document Providing All the Details About the Problem
It’s true that you talked with someone at the repair service already. During that conversation, you shared what was happening with the system. Keep in mind that whomever you spoke with also talks to a number of customers every day. That means you should prepare an electronic document that provides all the details about what’s happening, what you tried to resolve the problem, and the password the specialist will need to get into the system.
Depending on what operating system you use, it may be possible to save the document in the startup folder and have it display in the start menu. That works well if the system can still be booted up.
Print a Copy and Tape it to the Body of the Computer
Just in case, print out a copy of the document and tape it to the body of the computer. If for some reason, the electronic copy cannot be accessed, all that information is still at the fingertips of the repair specialist. As an added precaution, save the document onto a jump drive and load it onto your backup computer. If there’s a question about the details you provided, it’s possible to pull up the file and go over the information with the specialist.
These tips on how to prepare your computer for repair are simple and won’t take long to manage. Thanks to your efforts, you and the repair specialist are prepared for just about any contingency. Best of all, the odds of losing any of your data are somewhere between slim and none.