- Repairs on campus
- Computers under warranty
- Computers not under warranty
- Repair shops and on-site service
- General troubleshooting and recovery
- Preventive maintenance
Many hardware and software problems on students' personally-owned laptops and desktops can be diagnosed and repaired right here on campus. See OIT Walk-in Center for details.
If your computer is under warranty, first contact the OIT Walk-in Center or visit the manufacturer's support website. If you're not sure what to search for on the website, contact their technical support department via email, chat or telephone. Ask if they provide on-site repairs. See:
Even if your warranty has expired, check the vendor's support website. Many have databases and free user support forums that are useful in resolving problems. See:
- Contact local computing service vendors to find out about:
- estimate of cost and time needed for repairs
- warranty on repairs
- labor rates
- availability and cost of parts
- on-site service
- return, repair and replacement policies
- Verify repairs and service
- When you pick up your computer after a repair or installation, before you leave the store, ask for an operational demonstration to verify that it is working properly.
- Do the same for on-site computer service.
Use a systematic approach to help determine the cause of a problem:
- Sluggish or erratic behavior
If you notice general sluggishness or erratic behavior, try running an antivirus scan.
- Error messages
- Write down any unusual or serious error messages you see, including as much information as possible about the error.
- The more information you provide, the better technical support staff can diagnose a problem.
- Troubleshooting utilities
- Run any diagnostic or troubleshooting utilities your computer's manufacturer provides.
- For assistance with these, contact vendor technical support by email, chat or phone.
- New hardware or configuration
- If you have recently installed new hardware or changed your configuration, make sure all settings are correct.
- Visit the hardware vendor's website or contact their technical support if necessary.
- New software
- If you have recently installed new software, verify that there were no installation errors and all settings and options are correct.
- In some cases, uninstalling the software and rebooting your computer may correct unusual problems.
- However, some uninstallation programs will not remove all traces of the software from your computer.
- Visit the program vendor's website or contact their technical support for assistance.
If you think the problem is network-related, contact your Internet Service Provider for support.
Many non-hardware repairs can be prevented and performance can be improved with regular maintenance and care.
- Visit NC State Antivirus Resources for a free copy of antivirus software, provided to all current students, faculty, and staff for their personal computers.
- Make sure that it stays updated.
- Perform scans at least monthly.
- Software updates
- Keep all your software up-to-date.
- For Windows, turn on Automatic Updates.
- For Mac OS X, make sure that Software Update notifications are enabled.
- Always install updates as soon as they are available.
- Some programs, such as Mozilla Firefox, use pop-up messages to notify you about updates.
- Remove unused software
- Review your installed software occasionally.
- Consider uninstalling any that you no longer use.
- If programs have components that run even when you're not using them, uninstalling them often improves your computer's performance.
- Maintain security
- Restrict access to your computer and use it in a secure manner.
- See Safe Computing at NC State and ResNet Security.
- Back up files on a regular schedule
- Store your files on a medium separate from your hard drive (e.g., CD-RW, external hard drive, USB thumb drive, on-line disk storage service).
- You can copy files by hand or use a backup utility.
- Consider disk imaging
- If you have advanced backup needs, consider a disk image imaging product (e.g., Acronis, Symantec Ghost, Retrospect, SuperDuper!, Apple Disk Utility or Time Machine).
- Use it on a scheduled basis or whenever you change your hardware or software configuration.
- If you're willing to learn how to use one, a backup and disk image utility can save time and effort if you have to restore your computer system or files.
- Store information securely
- Store your original software packages, licensing information, backup files and disk images in a safe place.
- You may also wish to create copies of installation discs, in case your originals become lost or damaged.