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Getting Personalized Technical Support Help: Consultants
Of all the options available for troubleshooting stubborn PC problems, there's nothing quite as comforting as being able to call in an expert to diagnose and repair the problem for you, knowing that someone who knows what he or she is doing is at the helm. I think that in most cases this is unnecessary because the information on this web site along with the other technical resources described in this chapter should be sufficient to address most issues.
You may find that you have a problem that persists despite your best efforts, or you may simply find that you don't have the background or time to deal with a particular problem. If this is the case, you may consider "calling in the cavalry", so to speak. A qualified consultant may be able to find your specific problem where others cannot, and if you are willing to pay, will take the time necessary to get to the root of a difficult situation. Troubleshooting a system in person is always much easier than doing it over the phone, for example, because the person fixing the problem can work directly on the machine and get feedback with much higher frequency than going through an intermediary to the PC.
There are two main problems with getting a consultant to help you with technical problems. The first is cost; consultants are not cheap. Expect to spend at least $75, and that's for a relatively simple problem that can be addressed in under an hour. It can go much higher. The second is choosing someone to help you. There are plenty of people in the phone book, but how do you know who is good and who is not?
In many ways, choosing a consultant is like choosing a company from which to buy a PC. You need to decide what is the best company for you based on many different factors. Of course, if you know someone personally who can take a look at your PC for you, this is usually the best option, as many of my friends and family members can attest. :^)
Also, bear in mind that at the point where you decide to get a consultant to look at your PC, you are straddling the line between troubleshooting the computer, and actually having it repaired. Most places that repair PCs will troubleshoot them first, of course; you don't have to know what the problem is before you go to them. In many ways, if you get to the point where you feel you need to hire a consultant to help you figure out what's wrong inside the box, you should probably consider just taking the machine in to a repair shop.