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Computers 4

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Upgrading Your Computer

The current hourly rate that most places charge to install components in your computer is around $65.00/hour. Whether they are installing 32 MB of RAM memory, a 4 GB SCSI hard drive plus a controller, or a new screw to hold your computer together, it's still $65/hour. Even though the installation of most items, such as a hard drive, power supply, or memory modules takes only 10 to 15 minutes to perform, you are almost always charged for a full hour. So, that great deal you got on a modem for $30 isn't so great when you end up paying another $65 to get it installed!

In my opinion, no one should ever have to pay someone else to install a component inside their computer, especially at the rates most places are currently charging. Unless you don't have a shred of common sense or don't know which is the business end of a screwdriver, you are more than capable of installing a SIMM memory module, a hard drive or CD-ROM drive, or an adapter card such as an internal fax/modem or sound card. Of course determining complicated internal hardware problems is another story all together, if you can operate a screwdriver, you can install new components. The only exception to this would be in a situation where you were trying to install a component that just didn't want to coexist with everything else inside your computer and then, in a state of panic, you dropped the computer off at the local computer shop to get it running again. But at least try the installation first, you might just surprise yourself and save a little money.

The basic tools that you will need to work on a computer are a small flat-blade screwdriver, a small and large head Phillips screwdriver, and if you are installing an adapter card or second hard drive where you need to change some jumpers, a small set of needle-nose pliers comes in handy (all of these tools should be non-magnetized). On some systems, such as IBM and Compaq, you may also need a set of hex-head screwdrivers. Also, a grounding strip is a handy device to have if you are going to be doing a lot of work (available at most electronics parts stores), but if you are careful, it's not necessary.

Before you attempt to work on your computer, make sure you have a reliable backup copy of any files on your hard drive that you can't afford to lose. In fact, while the computer is busy backing up your data, that's a good time to open the manual and read the sections relating to removing the cover and installing internal components.


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