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      03-25-2014, 12:04 AM   #1
SixBanger
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Want to learn PC repair

Want to learn PC repair mainly Windows XP, 7 and 8. I'd like to start up my own side business for computer repair. I'm interested in going to a local PC school called PC Professor, but they want $5k and my buddies (IT pro's) feel that going to Barnes and Noble and finding some books and reading them will be more than sufficent than wasting $5k. Any input would be great.
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      03-25-2014, 12:45 PM   #2
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It's been about 10 years since I've been in college and took a course in that, but I would think buying a book related to getting A+ certified would really help. It teaches you about PC components from the ground up. You could actually then practice with building a PC buying parts online for only a few hundred dollars.
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      03-25-2014, 01:11 PM   #3
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I just had someone ask me about getting an A+ certification and the classes in the area were all in the $4k-$5k range, which is insane. A+ is a very entry level certification.

Find a decent PDF (or book if you prefer the real thing) on the A+ cert and start reading. Check Amazon for reviews. A lot of times you can tell which books are better for beginners, are better for strictly passing the test, etc. from the reviews. You'll miss out on having an instructor you can bounce questions off of but there's plenty of forums and online information available that should be able to answer most questions.

I would knock out the certification, then try to get a part time job at a PC repair shop to get some experience. I think if you're trying to start a side business, it would be very beneficial to see how an existing shop is run, what to expect, what tools and software you'll need, what a testbed looks like, etc.

But I agree with your friends. I would do Self Study + Real World experience over a 5 thousand dollar class.
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      03-26-2014, 09:44 PM   #4
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Thanks guys
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      03-27-2014, 07:19 PM   #5
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Get a bunch of PC tools, registry scanner, file creation logger, used disk space graph displayer, task killer, process dll and services monitor, hardware monitor(voltages and temperatures).

Buy a 2nd hand computer take it apart and put it back together if you need to learn that. Get a few trojans and virii look up how to manually remove them and do it yourself for practice.

A course worth doing is the microsoft one, they have ways to break in to windows where the user has forgotten their password.
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      04-18-2014, 02:56 PM   #6
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I've been in IT for 15 years. I believe everyone in here's advice about going for A+ training and certification is solid. ItsHectic gives good advice, too, but if you're not quite at that level, I would start more basic. I think what he's suggesting is kinda overkill if you have very little experience. That said, NOTHING replaces experience, so I feel you should get your hands dirty. Time to build one of your own or, at the very least, buy a cheap used one and start loading some operating systems and getting the feel for how everything hardware and software goes together. The man who mentored me at 17 gave me an assignment right off the bat the first week I was under him during my 2 year internship. He gave me 1 work week to completely disassemble and reassemble a PC as well as produce a complete with drivers Windows NT Workstation 4.0 SP 6a install (no plug n play on that bad boy) while simultaneously doing grunt work as assigned. I could ask him questions along the way when he had time to answer them. That type of learning taught me more over my career than both my degrees EVER did\could. Good luck and PM me if you want more info. or just want to ask questions. I'm alway happy to help.
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      04-18-2014, 09:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davis449 View Post
I've been in IT for 15 years. I believe everyone in here's advice about going for A+ training and certification is solid. ItsHectic gives good advice, too, but if you're not quite at that level, I would start more basic. I think what he's suggesting is kinda overkill if you have very little experience. That said, NOTHING replaces experience, so I feel you should get your hands dirty. Time to build one of your own or, at the very least, buy a cheap used one and start loading some operating systems and getting the feel for how everything hardware and software goes together. The man who mentored me at 17 gave me an assignment right off the bat the first week I was under him during my 2 year internship. He gave me 1 work week to completely disassemble and reassemble a PC as well as produce a complete with drivers Windows NT Workstation 4.0 SP 6a install (no plug n play on that bad boy) while simultaneously doing grunt work as assigned. I could ask him questions along the way when he had time to answer them. That type of learning taught me more over my career than both my degrees EVER did\could. Good luck and PM me if you want more info. or just want to ask questions. I'm alway happy to help.
Thank you.
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      04-21-2014, 09:32 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davis449 View Post
I've been in IT for 15 years. I believe everyone in here's advice about going for A+ training and certification is solid. ItsHectic gives good advice, too, but if you're not quite at that level, I would start more basic. I think what he's suggesting is kinda overkill if you have very little experience. That said, NOTHING replaces experience, so I feel you should get your hands dirty. Time to build one of your own or, at the very least, buy a cheap used one and start loading some operating systems and getting the feel for how everything hardware and software goes together. The man who mentored me at 17 gave me an assignment right off the bat the first week I was under him during my 2 year internship. He gave me 1 work week to completely disassemble and reassemble a PC as well as produce a complete with drivers Windows NT Workstation 4.0 SP 6a install (no plug n play on that bad boy) while simultaneously doing grunt work as assigned. I could ask him questions along the way when he had time to answer them. That type of learning taught me more over my career than both my degrees EVER did\could. Good luck and PM me if you want more info. or just want to ask questions. I'm alway happy to help.
That's awesome someone was able to provide you with that opportunity at a young age. I also got my start in the IT world that way. It was my first job and I was still in high school at the time. 15 years old if I recall correctly. The store owner said I had to earn the ability to build PCs by doing all the manual labor around the shop (ie cleaning, loading stock, etc.). After a couple of months, he gained confidence that I had a good work ethic and trusted me with PC builds. So that's when the training began. I started building the old PC/XT compatible computers running on the old 8088 chips. I had to manually populate the memory on the system boards with individual DRAM chips, and install hard drives which were based off of RLL and MFM to ESDI and then IDE started to hit the market. I was blessed to see the evolution of the PC industry right in front of my eyes from IBM being the only game in town to the rise of AST, Leading Edge, Kaypro, Compaq, Hyundai...and also the fall of some of these companies. Man I feel old. Very valuable experience which lead me to ultimately make my current living as a Network Engineering professional.

The advice by others to buy a book is solid. You should get a good foundation by learning the fundamentals. At the end of the day, there really isn't much magical with PC building and troubleshooting once you have the basics down. Troubleshooting PCs is no longer what it was back when I doing it in the shop. When something is amiss, the tech troubleshoots the problem typically by seeing what the issue is then narrowing down the issue to a specific subsystem of the PC. There are diagnostic tools out which do a very good job of checking out the various components of a PC and many of them are freely available from the manufacturer. If a component is deemed to be suspect, that component just gets replaced and you move on. With the commodity nature of PCs, any time spent on troubleshooting is money lost. Shops that can turn around a PC the quickest stand to make the most money as they can move on to other problem PCs. These shops will tend to have a huge stock of compatible replacement parts on hand to do the repair/diagnostic work.

The big money is in services where specialized skills are needed such as being able to build/troubleshoot servers or installing/troubleshooting networks. I would say once you get you get established with the fundamentals of PCs, I would highly pursue getting well versed with networking...particularly wireless. Everything is going to be networked in some fashion and the trend isn't going to die down at all. Someone who can properly design, configure, and implement a wireless network is going to be able to write their own ticket. And this isn't just about being able to throw up a simple Linksys wireless router. There's a lot more to wireless than many people are aware of.
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      04-21-2014, 03:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
The big money is in services where specialized skills are needed such as being able to build/troubleshoot servers or installing/troubleshooting networks. I would say once you get you get established with the fundamentals of PCs, I would highly pursue getting well versed with networking...particularly wireless. Everything is going to be networked in some fashion and the trend isn't going to die down at all. Someone who can properly design, configure, and implement a wireless network is going to be able to write their own ticket. And this isn't just about being able to throw up a simple Linksys wireless router. There's a lot more to wireless than many people are aware of.
This is EXACTLY where I need to go. Part of my educational background is in networking, but didn't pursue it out of college. I did LAN\WLAN for about 3 years with a pharmaceutical manufacturing company I worked at for 5.5 years. I should've stayed there and kept going with that. I was getting pretty good at it. Now, unfortunately, I am pigeon holed at the company I currently work for and am trying to get out. I am ok with servers, I know enough to be dangerous, but not enough to do full time with it. I had that opportunity before this job, but didn't take it. I regret passing that up immensely.
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      04-23-2014, 08:23 AM   #10
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I've been in IT for 6 years now with a hospital. Get your foot in the door by doing an internship. You'll be surprised how much stuff you just instinctively get. No certifications for me just experience, but I am studying for the security+ certification.

The class was like $2k+ for a $300 test, so I just got a book instead. A class would help, but I can take the test like 7 times and still be ahead this way.
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