Before You Take Your Computer In To Get Repaired, Remember These Vital “Computer Repair & Backup” Checklist Items … I Always Do!


Computer Care Repair ChecklistIs your computer not feeling well?

Do you need to have it looked at? Was your computer infected with a virus, trojan or malware? Do you need to add more memory or hard drive space? What kind of work do you need done to your computer?

For many of us, computers today are the lifeblood of our businesses and how we make a living. Make sure your computer is always running at all optimum levels. When it’s not, it’s time to have it looked at by someone who knows a lot more about computers than you.

For me, that means taking it into a computer repair store. Perform a search in online to find computer repair stores in your local area. Go down to a few of them and get to know the owners.

Before you turn your computer over to them, do you feel comfortable dealing with them? Wait in line! Listen to how the owners respond to questions other customers have about their systems. What can you learn?

After doing your due diligence, take the plunge and get your computer fixed. Time is money, so the sooner your computer’s fixed, the sooner you can get back to making money.

Computer Repairs You Might Have Performed

Below, I’ve outlined a number of computer repair services you might have performed on your system. When you take it into the shop, make sure you ask for specials and discounts on groups of services you might have them perform on your computer to keep the costs down. Also, ask what their turnaround time is? It should typically be around 1-3 days for the services they’ll perform for you.

  • Add RAM/memory and/or extra hard drive space to your current computer or laptop …
  • Hardware repair/installation (i.e., motherboards, processors, video cards, etc.) …
  • Reinstall the operating system complete (make sure you backup your computer) …
  • Remove viruses and spyware/adware/malware/trojans …
  • Software repair/installation …

Now, after an initial analysis of problems, if the problem that needs fixed is complex, and the computer repairman says something like, “Your hard drive is shot. We will need to reinstall your entire operating system. May we do that?” Just don’t say, “Sure, go ahead.” Yikes! Stop in your tracks!

Instead, before you turn your computer over to the computer repair people for repairs, make sure you back up everything on your computer before you say “goodbye” to your baby for awhile! In the next section, you will learn exactly what to back up so you don’t have new problems when you find out, “Yikes, I lost _____ when you reinstalled the operating system!”

Backup These Files Before You Get Repairs Done

Before I turn my computer over for service repairs, I always make sure I back up everything I’ve outlined below on an external hard drive. If for some odd reason, something goes wrong while in the hands of the repair shop (trust no one, remember), I can feel good that I have backup copies of everything I need to install in a new system, if that’s what’s required. On a side note, you should be making backups of the following on a regular basis anyway … Now, to the list!

____ INTERNET BROWSER BOOKMARKS … What website browser do you use the most? Chrome? Internet Explorer? Firefox? Safari? Make sure you back up your bookmarks/favorites. There are so many things to backup, this one thing will really mess up your Internet browsing life if you don’t remember to back up your saved bookmarks, also called Favorites in Internet Explorer. All the time you spent, over the past several months or even years will be lost forever if you don’t backup your bookmarks.

____ CLIENT FILES … Do you perform work for clients using your computer? For starters, you should be backing up these files on a regular basis (i.e., weekly, bi-weekly, daily, etc.) to an external hard drive. If you must turn your computer over for repairs, before you do, back up your client files. You’ll need them to work on while the computer is in the shop anyway, right? If you don’t back them up, and they get lost forever, you might not have a way of making money when your computer comes back. Or, at least, the time it will take to reproduce all those files and documents. Ouch! Back up your client files now.

____ CONTACT/DATABASE FILES … Do you keep contact records of your friends and clients on your computer? You better make a backup of your contact database records so you can send them a Christmas card next year. It’s embarrassing to ask people to send you their contact information when you’ve been holding it for years!

____ DESKTOP … Some people save files to their desktop. Some people save  A LOT of files to their desktop. Be sure to review your desktop folder if there are any files to save.

____ DOWNLOAD FILES … We all download software and other files from the Internet to our computer from time to time. Do you know where you download your files? After awhile, the list of downloaded files becomes quite large and valuable. Make sure you make a backup of these files so you can access them at some point later on when you need to. A good example of this is software. Why make it difficult to track down the software programs you downloaded last year that you’re still using this year. Back them up, so you can reinstall them later if you have to.

____ EBOOKS … Do you collect and store eBooks on your computer? Don’t forget to back them up. If you loose them, you might have to buy them again to get them back. Not to mention, the research it took to find some of the ones you really found helpful. Back up your eBooks.

____ EMAIL … Unless you use a web-based eMail program like GMail, Hotmail or Yahoo, it’s vital you back up your eMail files. Do you use Outlook or Thunderbird? These eMail programs store vital eMail data on your computer; not online! If the computer repair store reinstalls the operating system, all of our eMail files will be wiped out. Yikes! Don’t let this happen to you. It takes literally minutes for you to backup your eMail and import those files back into your eMail program.

____ PERSONAL NOTES/DOCUMENTS … Do you have anything on the computer that you’ve worked on that relates to you, personally? Such as journals, notes, miscallenous documents, files and folders? Find them and back them up.

____ MUSIC/AUDIO FILES … I don’t know about you, but I have A LOT of music on my computer. Years ago, I ripped 100’s of my stereo-playing CDs to MP3 music files. Since then, I’ve tossed out all my old CDs. Now, I truly would have no way of replacing all that music (if I lost it) without having to buy all those CDs all over again. Can we say, “Ouch, to the pocketbook?” Well, not to worry, back up your music files like I do so you never have to cry over lost music. This includes iTunes folders, which also contain music stored on your computer. Don’t forget these locations either …

____ MY DOCUMENTS … This one is the most crucial. Make sure you research your entire computer; looking in every file folder on every available drive to find, locate and back up every document you ever created and wish to access when you get your computer back.

____ PASSWORDS … Did you create a file that contains all your passwords in it? You might want to make sure you have a backup copy of that file. Also, if you use Roboform to keep track of your passwords, you can copy the passcards associated with your Roboform so all you need to do is move those passcards into the appropriate Roboform folder. Doing this instantly repopulates your Roboform passcards so you don’t have to recreate each one over and over. Another way to backup your Roboform passcards is to print a PDF file containing them. Here’s how all this is done.

____ PHOTOS … Do you have photographs you scanned into your computer or photographs from your digital camera? How about from the web? Either way, make sure you find these photos and make backups of them so you don’t lose them forever.

____ REGISTRATION CODES … I keep a list of software registration codes and installation serial numbers so that I can install software programs on my computer and any other computer(s) I might purchase for myself. If you have such a list too, make sure you make a backup of it. I actually moved my list of registration codes to the web inside my Gmail account. Wow, talk about a sweet backup. I also like to print this list out for a hard copy as well.

____ SCANS … Do you remember scanning anything to your computer? Unless you specify a specific folder, these scanned files are often placed in a folder called My Scans located in the My Documents folder. Well, make sure you take a quick peek in there to see if there are any files you scanned that you’d also like to make backups of.

____ SOFTWARE … Some software you install on your computer didn’t come on a CD-Rom. Instead, you downloaded it from the Internet. Well, make sure you make a backup of the software you’ve downloaded and installed on your computer in case you need to install it again. It’s a pain in the “you know what” if you have to go back to the Web to find (and buy) the software you once downloaded to your computer after you found it and/or paid for it. Make backups of your computer’s downloaded software collection. Also, just make note of the software you have and use. Do you have a list of the programs you use all the time? Where did you get them? Do you have their installation disks and/or registration codes? You better. If your computer’s hard drive is ever formatted and wiped clean, you can say “bye bye” to all your software programs. They will need to be reinstalled.

____ VIDEO FILES … Did you record any video with your digital video camera and store it on your computer? Did you download any video to your computer? Make sure you make backups of the video files on your computer so you don’t go, “Oh no, I didn’t make backups of my favorite video recordings I took of little Suzie’s 3rd birthday party …” Back up your video files.

____ WHAT ELSE? ________________________________________

____ WHAT ELSE? ________________________________________

____ WHAT ELSE? ________________________________________

What Are Your Back Up Options?

Backing up is really a simple procedure, but it does take time. Time you will later thank yourself for spending, instead of facing the agony over lost files and having to spend more time or money.


  • While this is a good idea for a few files, it doesn’t serve all your backup needs.
  • The pros? If you only have to back up a FEW small (but important) files, use a memory stick.
  • The cons? Memory sticks don’t have enough room on them to back up your whole computer.
  • So, you’re better off purchasing one or more (500gb+) external hard drives to do the job.
  • Now, you might transfer some of your most important files to a memory stick for quick and easy access. But, in the long run, the external drive will always serve you better.


  • While this is a good idea for a few files, it doesn’t serve all your backup needs.
  • The pros? Burning storage CDs and DVDs can be quick if you don’t need to back up a lot of files.
  • The cons? CD’s can only store up to 700mb of storage data. DVDs can only store up to 4.4gb of storage data. Is that a lot? No. If you have a ton of personal and music like I do, you’ll be burning backup data CDs and DVDs all day and all night.
  • Burning CDs and DVDs is also extremely time-consuming. If you have tons of eBooks, software, client files, video and photos to backup, not only will it take you all day to burn those CDs and DVDs, but you’re going to need A LOT of them to get the job done. So, forget it.
  • You’re better off purchasing one or more external hard drives to do the job. Transferring files via USB to an external hard drive goes much faster than burning CDs and DVDs.
  • Now, you might want to burn a “convenient” data CD or DVD to store some of the files you might want quick access to. But, in the long run, the external drive will always serve you better.


  • External hard drives are my personal choice. I have several external hard drives and I use them often to back up my personal and business files on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
  • The PROS? I’m in control of what I want to backup and I can take the external hard drive anywhere I want to go. With an external hard drive, you can access the backed up files 24/7 with or without an Internet connection. That’s assurance.
  • Scenario: I once helped a client with her computer, where I actually drove down to the computer repair store and backed up her files on her computer (with her present) right onto an external hard drive. She felt better and went ahead with the computer repairs planned for her system with confidence that she had everything backed up.
  • The CONS? Even external hard drives can crash every now and then. You’re better off buying two (or more) external hard drives and keeping backups of your backups. Also, every year or so, replace these external hard drives with new ones. The more backups you have, the better. Don’t get in the habit of using the same external hard  drive for years on end. Move what’s on it to a newer external hard drive every 1-2 years.

OPTION #4: Online Backup Services (GOOGLE SEARCH RESULTS)

  • Online backup services are great and typically charge a nominal monthly fee.
  • The PROS? Your data is backed up on a third party server accessible anytime you like. Also, these services offer a little more protection than burning data to CDs and DVDs, which can be lost or scratched. As I mentioned, even external hard drives have their problems. These online backup services claim to alleviate all those worries.
  • The CONS? You need an Internet connection and it takes more time to back up HUGE files over the Internet. What if you have 100 60mb files to upload? What if you have 1,000 4mb files to upload? For me, backing up (i.e., transferring files via USB to an external hard drive) from your computer is much faster and more convenient. Especially, if you have several large files to transfer.
  • You could take advantage of both, external hard drives and online backup services. The more backup protection you have, the better.

About Bart Smith

Bart Smith is the author of several books, professional marketer and self-publishing consultant, a personal coach, and a dynamite, motivational speaker. A self-starting, life-affirming, renaissance man, Bart is an entrepreneur at heart, who also bakes the world's best chocolate chip cookies at He shares his insights, skills, training and knowledge here, on his training website,, and helps people make money online with his online marketing shopping cart software,

Check out some of Bart's books on business, motivation, networking, coaching, checklists, and personal development.

Books by Bart Smith, MTC Founder

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