Computer Service
    Repair & Upgrades
Fairmont, MN




Frequently Asked Questions

This page contains answers to common questions handled by our support staff, along with some tips and tricks that we have found useful.

This FAQ list will be updated from time to time. Be sure to check back here to see if anything is new...

Backup your data! GB's is NOT responsible for the loss of your personal data.


What we do:

  • Repair and upgrade Microsoft Windows based computer systems.
  • On site and in shop service.
  • Assist with hardware and software issues.
  • Wired and wireless network support.
  • System cleanup and virus removal.
  • Repair laptop computers.
  • Recommend solutions.
  • Support current Microsoft products: Windows and Office.
    Surcharges apply to older products (DOS, Windows 3.x/95/98/ME/2000/XP/8).

The currently supported Microsoft operating systems:

  • Windows XP versions:    - Support for XP ended on April 8, 2014 - surcharges added
    Home, Media Center, Professional, Tablet and x64.
  • Windows Vista versions:  -Support for Vista ends on April 11, 2017
    Home Basic, Home Premium, Business and Ultimate - x86 and x64 versions.
  • Windows 7 versions:
    Starter, Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate - x86 and x64 versions.
  • Windows 8.1 versions: All versions. Support for Windows 8 ended. Upgrade to 8.1 or 10.
  • Windows 10 versions: All versions
  • Microsoft Server versions:
    Home Server, Server 2003, Server 2008, Server 2011, Server 2012 - all versions.


Back to Top


What we don't do...

  • Support non-Microsoft systems (Linux, Apple/Mac, etc.).
  • Support illegal software. All software must be owned and licensed. COA sticker on system must match the installed operating system. Any illegal software found will be removed.
  • Sell new computers and systems. We may have recertified systems in stock. Also check the Specials page and eBay for used systems for sale.
  • Data recovery. You are responsible for your own data. Backup your data. Your priceless data and pictures is worthless without a backup.
  • Old computer equipment disposal. If you don't want your old system, more than likely no one else will want it either.
  • Repair low-cost printers, faxes, scanners. Most of these cost more to repair than to buy a new one.


Back to Top


Where is GB's...?

GB's shop is being ran out of my house at 1320 N North. It is located across from Lincoln Park north of the downtown Fairmont area.

If you are going to drop off your system for in shop repair, please call (507) 236-2446 first to make sure we are available.

Back to Top


Who is GB's ... ?

I have 35+ years of electronics and computer experience. I graduated from I.C.C.C. in Fort Dodge, IA in 1979 and then went to work in Minneapolis at Control Data/MPI/Imprimis. I transferred to Oklahoma City with Seagate in 1989 and transferred to Reynosa Mexico in 1999 until 2002.

GB's Computer Service has been in buisness in Fairmont since July 2005.

Back to Top


Are discounts available...?

See the SPECIALS page.


Back to Top



Should the PC be left on...???

Short answer: Yes...

It also depends... If you are using the computer through out the day, it is better to leave it on all day instead of turning it on and off each time you want to use it. The usual failure for a computer is the hard drive and it usually fails during the power cycle. The typical drive these days spins at 7,200 RPM or 10,368,000 times per day and 3,786,834,240 per year. There are also drives that spin at other speeds ranging from 4,200 RPM to 15,000 RPM.

When you first get a new computer system, We recommend power cycling it (completely off and on, not just reboot) during the first part of your computer's warranty period. If the drive, or any other parts fail during the warranty, have the vendor repair or replace the failed parts under warranty coverage. Later on in the warranty period (and beyond warranty) leave your computer on more and don't power cycle as much. Hard drives these days usually will either fail within the first few weeks or last for 5-10 years, or more.

Keep your computer system clean! Open up the case every once in a while and look for any dust and clean it out using compressed air. The dust causes parts to heat up and lead to failures. Check the CPU, power supply and case fans to make sure they are spinning correctly.

But why leave the computer running all the time if it isn't doing anything??? Run a background program that use your computer resources when you aren't. Examples of these are the BOINC programs such as SETI at Home and Climate Prediction, plus many others. These programs use your computer resources (and many other computers from around the world) to compute data for various projects. If these programs are set up correctly, you won't even notice that they are running but will help out these projects.

Personally, we have a computer (this web server) that we leave powered on 24/7. The only time it gets powered off is for hardware changes. It's on a UPS system so it stays powered up even during the (rare) power outages. We leave it powered up; it's been up now for 37 months (or more?). It does get rebooted (power stays on so the drives keep spinning) about once a month because of the Microsoft monthly updates.

My main computer (a Lenovo laptop) I power on in the morning and put in sleep mode at night. I leave it on when I'm out on service calls and use it for TeamViewer. When I'm gone, I change the power settings to shut its monitor off after 1 minute instead of using a screen saver.  I only turn on my other computers as needed, usually during the monthly Microsoft updates.


  • If you have a desktop, leave it powered up. This will extend the life of the hard drive and other components over doing power cycles on the computer.
  • Power off the monitor when not in use. Older LCD monitors use a fluorescent bulb to light up the display and they can go out over time. If you have an old CRT monitor, upgrade to LCD or LED flatscreen.
  • If you leave your system on, let it run BOINC or similar. No use wasting CPU cycles.
  • If you don't use your computer much (less than daily), power up as needed.


Back to Top


Upgrade or replace...?

We often get asked if a system is worth upgrading and which upgrades are recommended. It depends on how old your computer is, what it has in it and what you use it for.

If you have a newer system running Vista, Windows 7, 8.1. or 10, it should have at least 4GB of RAM minimum. Again, add as much memory as your system board can handle. The 32-bit version has the 4GB usable RAM limit. To use more than 4GB of RAM, the 64-bit version of Windows is required.

Should I upgrade an older Windows (98se) system to XP or an XP system to Vista/Windows 7/8.1? Basically, no... Systems designed for older Windows versions don't run the newer versions very well. They are limited on CPU and memory upgrading and it is usually cheaper to get a new (or recertified) system than trying to upgrade.

Only upgrade your Windows 7 or 8.1 to Windows 10 if your system can handle it. Check your computer vendor's website so see if your system can support Windows 10.

Hard drive upgrades. If you are running low on drive space, it is usually easy to add an additional drive or upgrade your original drive for a larger one for more space. The prices for hard drives keep coming down (they have now for the past 30 years!) so adding or upgrading to a 1TB (1,000GB)  drive costs less than $150 now.

Upgrading your hard drive to a Solid-State Drive (SSD) will speed up your boot time. But the cost of an SSD is more than double that of a hard drive.

So, you can upgrade your system with memory and hard drive space or get a good used recertified system for around $250 or a new system for around $400.

Back to Top


Service quotes...?

We do not give service price quotes (estimates). We will quote the hourly rates we charge for services.

We have ran into problems with a customer saying they have a certain issue and we would quote a price to fix that issue, only to run into many other issues and spending a lot more time than expected.

Some services aren't charged at the full hourly rate since a lot of the time is spent running scans.

Here are some approximate estimates.

  • Laptop DC power jack replacement - $100-150 (in-shop only).
  • Laptop LCD screen replacement $60-120, plus parts.
  • Virus removal with cleanup - hourly rate, usually 2 to 3 hours, but could hit the $300 Flat Rate. Ransomware adds to the cost of the recovery, usually $500+ in Bitcoin plus the Bitcoin exchange surcharge, with no guarantee of successful removal. 

Labor is taxable -- including free software and software updates.

Back to Top

I got a virus, can I fix it myself?

If you get a virus that causes issues like a pop-up that says your system is infected and to click here to buy and clean your system, do NOT click on it! If you do click on it, it may cause more problems and will be more difficult to remove and clean the virus. Beware of Conduit and Mindspark programs, they are bad software that will infect your system and cause lots of problems!

If you just got the virus, recommend restarting your system in Safe Mode by pressing the F8 key during boot (before Windows loads) and choosing 'Safe Mode'. Once in Safe Mode, select System Restore. It's under Start/All Programs/Accessories/System Tools. Choose a recent restore point when the system was working fine (before the virus infection). Your system will reboot and should say: "System was successfully restored to <date/time>". If it says it failed to restore, try another recent restore point. (This applies to XP, Vista and Windows 7. Contact us for the process using Windows 8 and 8.1)

Open Computer from the Start orb to browse your drives, folders, and files. In its Address bar, type %temp% to go to your temporary folder at C:\Users\<Current User>\AppData\Local\Temp. Press Ctrl-A to select all of the folders and files within the temp folder and press Delete to remove them. Some temporary files may still be in use and won't delete.

Once your system did a successful System Restore, run the command "MSCONFIG" by typing the command in the search bar (in Vista or Windows 7, the "Search for programs and files" box after you click on the Start button) or the Run command in Windows XP. This will open "System Configuration".  Choose the 'Services' tab and check the box at the bottom where it says "Hide all Microsoft services". It will then show only the non-Microsoft services, select the button "Disable all" to disable all of the non-Microsoft services from starting upon reboot. Click on the "Startup" tab and click on the "Disable all" button to boot without any of the startup items. Click on the "Apply" and "OK" button to close the System Configuration and reboot the system.

After the system reboots clean, you may get a message stating that the system started without some startup items (because of MSCONFIG). Now download, install, update and run the program MalwareBytes. Do a Quick Scan and fix any issues it finds, reboot as needed. The Quick Scan should take about 5 - 10 minutes. Rerun MalwareBytes again doing a Full Scan of your hard drives, again fix any issues it finds and reboot as needed. A MalwareBytes full scan may take 2-4 hours or more depending on the amount of data and speed of your system. Continue to rerun MalwareBytes until it does a clean scan and does not find any additional issues.

Once MalwareBytes runs clean, rerun "MSCONFIG" and select the "Services" tab. Check the box for "Hide all Microsoft services" to display the disabled non-Microsoft services. Enable the services that are required for your antivirus programs and vendor devices (Dell, Lenovo, HP, etc.). If you're not sure that a certain service needs to be started, leave it unselected and see if you have any issues. Select the "Startup" tab and select the items that you wish to start upon Windows startup such as your antivirus program. This is a good place to clean up your startup items so unneeded and unused programs aren't running all the time such as Windows Live Messenger, Adobe Reader, etc. These programs can be ran, when needed, and don't need to run all the time at startup. Select the "Apply" and "OK" to save the changes and reboot your system.

After you made changes to the startup using MSCONFIG and rebooted your system, run your antivirus program. Check for updates to your antivirus program and definitions and run a full scan to make sure your system is now clean.

Recommend running MalwareBytes regularly to make sure your system remains clean. Suggest doing a Quick Scan of MalwareBytes every few days and do a Full Scan weekly. Make sure to download the current definitions update to MalwareBytes each time you run the program.

Some viruses may keep you from performing some of these steps and are more difficult to remove. It is recommended that you bring in your system for repair. It may be required to reformat your hard drive and reinstall Windows to completely remove/clean up some viruses - all personal data WILL BE LOST. You will need to restore your personal data and settings from your backups.

Backup your data! GB's is NOT responsible for the loss of your personal data.


But I have an antivirus program, why did I still get a virus???
Antivirus programs and definitions are made to catch and remove most viruses after they're discovered  New virus infections may not be found using your current definitions or may not be known by the antivirus program vendor, yet. Most antivirus programs have a 'submit' option to forward unknown virus files to the vendor to add to their future definitions. Make sure your antivirus program and definitions are up to date. If there were an antivirus program that catches everything, they would have all of the customers using their product. Each vendor tries to do its best at catching and removing viruses, but none are perfect at it, yet...

Should I run multiple antivirus programs?
NO. Running more than one antivirus program on a system usually causes more problems and less protection, sometimes worse than not having any antivirus protection. If you wish to install a new antivirus program, make sure to completely uninstall and remove your old antivirus program and reboot before installing the new program.

Which antivirus program should I use?
This is a personal choice. If your system came with Norton, McAfee, etc., and you are used to it and keep it up to date, you may wish to keep renewing and using it. There are many antivirus programs available (some for free) that do a good job. You "usually" get what you pay for, don't expect much from the free versions. Windows Defender or Microsoft Security Essentials that come with Windows work fine, most of the time. Do a Bing or Google search for more information.


Back to Top


Getting Started with Microsoft Update

What Is Microsoft Updates?
It's the new website from Microsoft that helps you update Microsoft Windows and other Microsoft programs that you've installed, all in one convenient place.

Does it work with Automatic Updates?
Yes. If you turn on Automatic Updates using your settings in Control Panel, Windows will automatically find and install high-priority updates for any Microsoft products that you have installed and that are supported by the website.

Tip: To check which version of Office you're using, open any Microsoft Office program. Click Help, and then click About (program name).

How often should I visit Microsoft Update?
That depends. If you turn on Automatic Updates, you automatically get the most important updates for your computer. You only need to visit the site to check for optional updates for your software and hardware.

If you do not use Automatic Updates, you should visit the site as often as possible and at least once each week.

What types of updates does Microsoft publish?
See this description of the standard terminology used to describe Microsoft software updates.

How does the website work with my computer?
Microsoft Update works with updating software in Windows. When you visit the site, the updating software identifies which version of Windows and other Microsoft products you use. This way, the website shows you only the updates that apply to your computer, not all updates published by Microsoft. The privacy policy describes which information is used to find updates your computer needs in more detail.

How often does Microsoft Update release new updates?
Security-related updates are released once a month. However, if a security threat occurs, such as a widespread virus or worm that affects Windows-based computers, Microsoft will release a corresponding update as soon as possible. Other types of updates can be released whenever they are ready.

Itís a good idea to turn on Automatic Updates so that your computer can receive high-priority updates as they become available.

Which types of updates do Automatic Updates, Microsoft Update, and Windows Server Update Services deliver?
  Automatic Updates Microsoft Update Web Site
Express Custom
Windows Server Update Services*

High priority Updates

Critical Updates X X X X
Security Patches X X X X
Update Rollups X X X X
Service Packs X X X X

Optional Updates

Software     X X
Hardware     X  
Beta software     Opt-in setting  

*Network administrators can select any or all supported updates to distribute. Updates for Microsoft products such as Office, SQL Server and Exchange Server will be made available for use with Windows Server Update Services servers.

Back to Top

Backup your data! GB's is NOT responsible for the loss of your personal data.


Questions or problems regarding this web site should be directed to
Copyright © 2016 GB's Computer Service. All rights reserved.
Last modified: 04/25/16.

Backup your data! GB's is NOT responsible for the loss of your personal data.