Buying a PC? Here’s what you need to know now

If you’re in the market for a new computer, there are things you need to know. Things your PC manufacturer or retailer won’t necessarily share with you.

And with the frenzied days of buying just ahead, now is the time to inform yourself. Otherwise you could end up overpaying — I mean really overpaying — for your next laptop or desktop. Read more “Buying a PC? Here’s what you need to know now”

Take a screenshot like a pro: 5 insider tips

Minerva Studios/Shutterstock
Minerva Studios/Shutterstock
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but in a he-said, she-said customer service dispute, it might be even more valuable. A well-timed screenshot could score you a refund you deserve.

Consider how almost everyone who rents a car these days takes pictures before accepting the car and when returning it. A picture is pretty good evidence that those dents weren’t there when you brought back the vehicle.

Images also come in handy when you have a dispute with an online vendor. With a picture you can claim “That’s not what I typed” and you can prove it. How do you reply when the company rep says you made a mistake? And do you remember exactly what you typed? How many items you actually ordered? For what date? What did those terms and conditions actually state?
Read more “Take a screenshot like a pro: 5 insider tips”

Oh no! I bought the laptop from hell at Best Buy

Question: I bought an Asus laptop computer from Best Buy recently. Soon after I began using it, the PC started shutting down randomly.
Read more “Oh no! I bought the laptop from hell at Best Buy”

What’s your problem? A slippery component that destroyed my PC

Question: I recently paid $129 for a Cooler Master HAF 932 computer chassis at my local CompUSA for constructing a custom high-end computer system. Last night I stayed up late to put the computer system together, spending hours mounting the components and wiring them properly for optional functionality and aesthetics. (I’m a certified computer technician.)
Read more “What’s your problem? A slippery component that destroyed my PC”

New at On Your Side: personal computers

They’ve been at it again! Our researchers have added yet another category to our growing list of wiki categories: personal computers.

If you have a problem with your PC, now you have the names, numbers and email addresses of key customer-service managers at the companies. Don’t let them get away with bad service!

As of this morning, we have files on Apple, Acer America, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Toshiba America. And more are on the way.

I’d like to thank researcher Marianne Luke for her help with these categories. Remember, you can help make the world safe for consumers by becoming part of our research staff. For details, send me a quick note.

(Photo: orange acid/Flickr Creative Commons)

Get smart. Sign up for the newsletter.