200 dollars. Maybe 250. That’s a general estimate of what it will cost to fix your trusty old machine. But is it worth the bother? It might be time toss that¬† hardware and spring for a shiny new box — be it a laptop or desktop computer.

Consider this. Repair costs on a four year old machine — for example — typically break down as follows.

  • Hardware — your new hard disk: 40 – 70 USD
  • Labor: Install the operating system, drivers, and software updates. Migrate your data from the old drive to the new one. Troubleshoot any configuration issues. 100-200 USD

You’ve just dropped 250 precious dollars, and you still have … your four year old computer. It’s got an old DVD/CD drive that might not run new media, it’s got a graphics processor that might barely support Windows 7, and it’s got four years of wear and tear. For a little more than twice your repair costs, you can get a brand new machine.

If it’s a desktop box, there’s the possibility of slapping in some new parts. But desktop prices have dropped dramatically. You’ll need to do the same kind of analysis on your big box to figure out if the repair is worth it.

Are you torn between fix it or chuck it? Get in touch and schedule an assessment with West Seattle Tech Support Guy. He’ll give you solid, honest advice on the best solution for your situation. Already decided to go the new machine route and don’t know what to buy? WSTSG is available for shopping trips, too.

And what about that old clunker? West Seattle Tech Support Guy can help you transfer your data from the old machine to the new machine. He’ll scrub your old machine so all your personal information is destroyed, and he’ll recycle your hardware for free.

After you’ve upgraded from XP or Vista to Windows 7 or transferred your data to a Windows 7 machine, you may find yourself in a bit of a folder mess.

The culprit? Junction points.

If you have changed the folder settings to “Show all hidden files and folders” you’ll see a lot of shortcuts. For example, you’ll see “My Documents and Settings” but try clicking. Access denied. Oops. That’s the result of clicking a junction point.

Documents and Settings have been replaced with Users. Each user has Documents, Pictures and more, all at the same level, all with the same rights. It’s no longer My Pictures, My Documents… your paths are new school now.

Old school path: C:\Documents and Settings\User Name\My Documents
New school path (Vista and later) :  C:\Users\User Name\Documents

Junction points first showed up in in Windows 2000. They provide backwards compatibility for older programs that are unaware of the new folder structure in Windows Vista. A program that is hard coded to install files in the old Documents and Settings folder uses the junction point to redirect the program to the new location in the User folder. Those shortcuts — or junction points — weren’t meant to be used by you, they’re little detour signs for data.

Want to know more about junction points? Here’s a good read on the Microsoft forums. Still having trouble with the aftermath of an upgrade? Get in touch.