In computer repair, it is a question that we get asked day in and day out–or at least face in one way or another–while providing services for our clients.
Overall the answer will always be, “it depends.” It depends on who is working on your device, the commonality of the element in question, the issues you are facing, and ultimately how we can best serve you and meet the needs of your repair.
System Passwords, Device Logins, Access Devices, and Personal Identification Numbers – Almost always YES. Oh the number of repairs delayed because we forget to collect a password, receive a hard-to-read password, forgot a password, or otherwise had to contact a client for a password or some other means of unlocking the device.
This one single thing is so simple but so easily forgotten, and can become a massive roadblock in finishing–or even starting–a repair.
Account Passwords – Generally no. Unless the account is the reason for the repair or will be included as part of the repair work.
For instance, while we may not need login information for your antivirus program (long gone are the days of license keys) every time we see your machine for repair, that information becomes important and necessary to reinstall that software and can delay the repair or lead us to return the machine with the software installed, but not fully functional until you log in.
Cords & Cables
Power Cables – Yes and No. For tower-based or most desktop computers, most smartphones, no. For laptops, Chromebooks, all-in-one computers, uncommon charger-based phones (including some iPhones depending on model), some tablets, printers with an external power brick, most monitors, or any device with a less common powering method, YES! Repairs can be delayed if we are unable to power a device, by battery or charger, to see the issue, or verify the repair.
Connection Cables – Generally no, again unless that cable is unique to the device and that connection cable is connected to another device and the repair involves making the device work.
For instance, if you are sending in your monitor with your tower or desktop because the tower powers on but the monitor doesn’t work, we would need the desktop, the monitor, the monitor’s cable between the computer and the desktop, and the monitor’s power cable.
External Drives – `Generally no. Thumb drives, hard drives, disc drives, unless they are a device that isn’t working with your computer or you need data transferred from them, are not needed.
Keyboards, Mice, & Other Input Devices – Generally no, Unless the input device is not working, needs installation, or they are very specific to the device, they are not needed.
Printers, Scanners, Multifunction Printer/Scanner/Fax Devices – Generally no. Unless the printing device is not working or needs installation.
Other Peripheral Devices – Generally no. Unless this device is required to boot/access the machine (such as card readers and an access card) or other access devices for the computer, or this device is not working or needs installation. While covered under “System Passwords, Device Logins, Access Devices, and Personal Identification Numbers” above, this bears repeating, if it is required to login, it is required for repair.
Discs – Often no, but discs are important for your repair when they affect the issue being addressed. If you are unable to get a disc to work (to install software or to install a device) or need to reload the operating system (Windows or Linux) on a computer, and especially when needing to transfer data, discs can be vitally important to ensure that we have the necessary software for the machine to operate properly. While modern operating systems are generally able to automatically install devices and many devices have software available online, there are some devices that are unique enough to have neither option available to them.
Manuals – Very rarely do we need manuals, in whole, to complete your repair. If the issue is with specific instructions in the manual or the device is uncommon, we may ask for any documentation that comes with the device to help better understand the device, the issue encountered, and to enable us to figure out how to resolve the issue or get in touch with the manufacturer to help troubleshoot the problem encountered.
Cases/Bags/Covers – In most instances, we will not need cases, bags, or covers for the device, and sending them with the item can in rare instances expose them to loss or damage. We do, however, highly appreciate when device owners do let us know about the existence of such and use them at both ends of the repair.
While infrequent, this can actually help us diagnose issues that are not related to the system but to the use of accessories. And can also result in some tips and information about how to best use accessories to protect your device and avoid damage.
For instance, if we were to receive a laptop a week ago with reports of a “darkened area in the screen,” this issue may not be present when we attempt to repair it a week later. What may initially seem like a screen failure (or pending failure) that requires a costly screen replacement, could entirely be because of a mistake in the storage of a laptop in a bag with its cable, putting pressure against the screen causing flexing of the screen. Sometimes this may not even be the issue that someone reports, but have experienced, that upon seeing the way they store their laptop, we can make recommendations to help prevent damage and ensure the longevity of the device.