A good computer repair place?

blank computerCarrie emails:

My laptop got hit with a fake anti-virus. I can't get rid of it myself, but I don't know who to call for repairs in Albany.
Do the AOA readers have any recommendations?

A similar question came up last year -- though it was more of "my hard drive died, who can help?" situation.

Got a suggestion for Carrie? Please share!


We are ethical, reliable and very fair with pricing. Drop off your PC in the evening and have it back the next day!


If you can't just back up your data and start over again, try Computer Renaissance. I like the Delmar location, but Latham's good also. Avoid Best Buy at all costs.

I got hit with the same virus Saturday morning. There was nothing I could do on my own to fix it. While not a local company, heypcguy.com fixed mine remotely for a flat fee of $60. They had me up and running again in less than an hour after I called. 877-717-2489. It was wonderful.

We live and breath by NPB Computers www.npbcomputers.com - great refurbished hardware, good repairs, lots of IT knowledge and affordable. Noah is amazing, highly recommend it.

I would take the advice of these computer repair places and take it to one of them. If it was something you could easily fix on your own, you probably would have done so already. I'm an IT professional with an engineering degree. I've been hit with this and have had friends and family hit with it. In some cases, it can be extremely difficult to fix. Take it to someone who deals with this sort of thing regularly. They're less likely to mess it up and more likely to get it done quickly.

I needed a heatsink for a socket 775 motherboard right away so I tried a few places. Eventually I found Computer Answers over on Central Ave (computer-answers.com). A very helpful employee dug around in the back and eventually found exactly what I needed. The only sucky part was that the floor manager marked up the price of the fan after I had already been given a price.

That was a hardware issue, but maybe they would be able to help with software as well? geekstogo.com is my go-to site for malware removal issues.

I've taken my computer to both Computer Renaissances and they both insisted I had hard drive failure in both cases. Where actually the motherboard had failed (in both cases). They can't figure out hardware failure with the program they use but I am sure they can format and reinstall your operating system for you. But I wouldn't use them for anything more serious.

Of course its pretty easy to format and restore a computer.


Great service. very knowledgeable. Good prices

I've used Geek Squad in the past. They were super nice and easy to talk to about complicated computer issues. Their prices are steep, though.

You can fix this on your own. I have, a number of times for friends and family. In some cases I have walked them through this over the phone. Here’s the process:

1. Download the free version of “Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 1.50” commonly known as mbam from CNET here: http://download.cnet.com/Malwarebytes-Anti-Malware/3000-8022_4-10804572.html CNET is always a secure place from which to download.

2. If you are able, use the infected computer to access the internet to download this program to the desktop. (In some cases the infection precludes accessing the internet through the usual channels) If you are unable to use the infected computer, download mbam to a USB flash drive from another computer. (When downloading use care not to click and download any of the other advertisement links meant to look like you’re downloading the free version of mbam.)

3. After downloading to your computer (or from another and then mounting the USB flash drive to your computer) double click it to install and or run the mbam program. It is a powerful anti-malware package. It will scan your entire computer and quarantine or eliminate the nasty culprit. If you are unable to complete this successfully, you haven’t done any harm to your computer.

4. Never, NEVER click ANYWHERE on any pop-up “you need this” window. They make a fortune from panicked people who think that they need to buy their $99 “fix-it” program. If you instead click the X to exit/close the window, you are actually installing the infection, which is probably what you did, right? This is what most people do. What they have now accomplished is to punish you for ignoring them, and also to teach you and others to never do that again, and that it is better (and easier) to buy their $99. fix-it program -- to fix absolutely nothing, by the way.


a) If you use the Internet Explore browser, you will likely get a permission pop-up, warning you that downloading an “.exe” file may harm your computer, and are you sure you want to proceed. The answer is yes. As you have discovered, deviants no longer need to rely on .exe files to infect your computer. This IE warning is now archaic. (**It is easy to miss this info bar pop-up warning along the top of your window just below the toolbars. If you don’t acknowledge that it is okay to download, nothing happens) If you are using Firefox or Chrome (my preference) this warning usually doesn’t materialize, it’s based on default settings.

b) Occasionally, the infection will actually prevent your computer from launching mbam or other anti-malware/spyware/virus programs to detect and eliminate itself. The remedy is to change the file name. Right click on the mbam.exe file and choose rename. Change the file name to abcdefg.exe, then launch. This usually works.

c) I keep the mbam program on my desktop for emergencies. When you click it to run it gives you the opportunity to update to the latest version.


Can someone tell me what this virus is? My laptop started acting funny today (freezing, screen going black, etc). It's relatively new and I'm wondering now if I have a virus. Thanks in advance.

Thanks everyone! Problems I've read about this malware is that if you don't get everything, it comes back worse than before, so I'm hesitant to fix it myself.

Paul- pretty much that's what happened, though it wouldn't let me X it out.

Katie- It's the Security Tool 2011 malware that infected my laptop. It cut off access to my anti-virus and anti-spyware, changed my wallpaper to a giant ad to make itself quite cozy. So far it has not froze or crashed the computer.


The way to escape the situation if you suspect a problem is to do a hard program shut-down.

For PC's, when you see a suspect pop-up window, hold down the "ALT" key and touch the "F4" key. This kills whatever program is currently active. BTW, you can use this to close out and quit any program anytime.

The other method to escape without clicking on any X's is to use the task manager's close program. Hold down the "CONTROL" and "ALT" keys and then touch "DELETE" once. Choose the "applications" tab, select your browser from the list, and click the "END TASK" button at the bottom.

This closes out your browser with no harm, no foul...as long as you haven't already clicked on a screen element.

I've been hit with this a couple of times and took my computer to Computer Renaissance both times. No issues with them other than time and price (you pay a premium if you want it fixed faster).

There's a new Macintosh-only service in the Capital District called 'Capital Mac Service,' which really only deals with older Macintosh computers, and doing minor repairs, memory upgrades, hard drive upgrades and software work. It was founded by a former 13-year Apple employee and they do pickups and dropoffs! Very reasonable and fast. Professional quality Mac support without dealing with the Apple Store--they work on older Macs that the Apple store won't even work.

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