Step 10: Fix Computers
I can show you a little troubleshooting you can do to fix most viruses.
First, if the computer is frozen but you can move the mouse, press ctrl + alt + delete. that will open the task manager. Just use that to shut down the computer. That should fix it.
If it has a virus, just run a virus scanner. You can find free ones on the internet (make sure they're legit). The only problem you may have is that it takes one of those things around 4 hours to do its job. But still, they work.
For everything else, you can always try searching instructables for one on computers.
Now just make sure in the poster you add "If I can't fix it, you don't have to pay me". It's only fair. I mean, how would you like it if some kid came into your house, tried to fix your computer, failed and then asked for his pay?
If the computer is frozen and you can't move the mouse, ctrl+alt+delete will still work. Then get around using the arrow keys and tab to move around. Shift+tab moves backwards. alt+f4 closes the active window. Alt+tab cycles through available windows. Someitmes you need to hit enter to select something. Other times it's the spacebar. the esc (escape) key will often take you back all the way to the start of something. Pressing the backspace (not "delete") key will take you back one. Ctrl+z is undo, although many times this is unavailable. Ctrl+y is redo, in case you go a little too far with your undoing.
If the computer is completely frozen, hit the power button on the front of the case. On older computers it is an actual switch, but on new ones it is just a "suggestion." If the power button doesn't work, reach around the back of the case and unplug the huge wire. Plug it back in, and on the bootup you will see what's called a BIOS screen. Hit esc or one of the function keys (there are usually directions), and you'll be able to putt around and try to fix something big. Generally you want to "boot in safe mode," then go about the rest of your troubleshooting. Again, this is if it's a big issue.
CD drives can burn out, parts can break, and for any number of reasons, they can get stuck. There is a small hole in the front of each one. In event of catastrophic failure, if you need to get a CD out, straighten out a paperclip and stick it in the hole. Feel for a clasp by gently pushing until something clicks. The drive will come open, and you can get the disc.
If someone's internet commection won't work (and they have dial tone and have paid their bill), unplug the power to their modem for a full minute. Plug it back in and let it get done waking up. Try the internet again. It'll probably work. If tey're still on dialup, they might be trying to dial a bad number. Open the browser login window, right click, properties, and select a different number. Other times the window itself will have a dropdown list of numbers. Look around. Try a different number till it works.
To defrag a hard drive, make sure the person knows that the computer will be unusable for several hours. Files load much faster on a defragged drive. It'll take possibly over a day, depending on how big the drive is, how fast the processor is, and how much RAM they have. Go to "My Computer," right click "Drive C:" (that's the primary hard drive), go to the "tools" tab, and hit "defrag." Now wait. Turn off their screen to save power. When their computer stops clicking (old ones) or the whirring stops and/or the light on the front stops blinking like mad, it's probably done. Tell them that when that hapens, turn the screen on. If it says "finished defragging," close that window. If it's still working, just turn the screen back off and wait. If it prompts them about something that they're not sure of, tell them to call you.
Don't limit yourself to just fixing computers. You can also offer to customize computers. You can set up a dual boot, install Linux, or make their XP look like OS X. There are a lot of great instructables to show you how to do these.
If you can't get to the BIOS screen, odds are it's because your computer's key get you there is not the escape key. Most of the time it will tell you at the bottom of the starting screen. If not you can just google the name of the computer to find what key it is.
One important tool for anyone wanting to fix computers is the bootable Linux Sytem Rescue CD. Download it here...
Once you get the CD I would advise keeping it with you on all jobs. It has great tools for fixing your system like GParted and other tools of the sort. To get it to boot, just go to the BIOS screen and set CD to the top of the boot order.
Finally, I would keep a bootable USB Stick or CD with Linux on it in case they've messed up their OS and it won't start.