Is Your Computer Beyond Repair?

16 March 2021
 Categories: , Blog


One of the biggest fears people have when they contact a computer repair business is that their machine will be beyond fixing. Fortunately, most modern computers use a highly modular design that makes it simple to swap components out and get things working. That's not always the case, but you should be able to tell in most instances. Here's how you can judge whether computer repair work is likely to be worthwhile.

Can You Get to the Desktop?

Generally, the ability to boot the whole way to the desktop is a good sign. That applies even if a host of other issues are popping up after you get there. Making it to the desktop implies the machine's components are still talking to each other. Some might not be electrically stable, though, so it's a good idea to not press your luck. Minimize or stop your usage until you can take the system to a computer repair technician.

Does It Beep?

The highly recognizable initial beep when a machine comes on is known as the POST. This is an acronym that stands for power-on self-test, and it has been around for decades so you can expect even many not-very-modern machines to beep. Some machines take a little while to POST so try to give it at least 10 seconds before turning the system off.

Notably, you're looking for a single beep. That's the sign that the POST was successful.

If you get a series of beeps, just turn the machine off. These beeps are manufacturer-coded, and a technician can cross-reference them as necessary to diagnose problems. However, even though a series of POST beeps can sound distressingly bad, they do at least indicate that the machine is still semi-functional and probably repairable.


Yes, smells are bad, but they're rarely bad enough to preclude fixing a machine. Most systems have fuses in the power supply modules, and these are meant to reduce fire hazard risks if there is a short. They work very well, but you don't want to push the issue even if the machine is happy booting all the way to the desktop or even running applications.

Screen Glitches

This seems like it should be very bad, but it's often still possibly repairable. Especially if your machine has a graphics expansion card, the modular design of the system bodes well. Oftentimes, a technician can swap the card for a new one. Even if the computer uses onboard graphics, replacing the motherboard or the CPU may do the trick.