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Computer RepairSep 8, 2017VerifiedStein Solutions's reply
Eric had a laptop disk that was damaged per Windows and smartmon tools confirming – Windows could no longer boot. He shipped me the disk and I recovered all his files using a high-end best-of-breed tool I am licensed for, including 30 cell phone screen shot text messages needed by his attorney for an important civil matter. The disk is uncloneable but he is now shipping me the rest of the laptop, from Alabama, for me to replace the disk with a new laptop HDD I found him on ebay for $35 that is 7200 RPM (his was 5400 RPM) and is cheaper than a SSD replacement ($150) which is not worth it on a budget PC. I will restore the oiginal Dell Windows 8.1 and prep it to catch up on Windows updates, install multiple apps, etc. – another 6-8 hour job I am happy to perform as this remains a Christian ministry for me.
Computer RepairMay 25, 2016VerifiedStein Solutions's reply
Norbert asked me to add this message as Thumbtack does not permit a customer to add a comment if they inadvertently skipped the "Share-Your-Experience" field (they are working on a warning message). Anyway...Norbert says:... "Harry helped me try to salvage my old Inspiron 530 with Windows Restore, last known configuration, etc. and we concluded the only option on this Vista PC was a factory restore from a CD we would have to order and Harry advised me on the better value of buying a new or refurbished PC since there was no data to recover. He even found a suitable replacement PC for $90 from a local builder but I opted to purchase a new computer. We also had an in-depth security discussion for a volunteer organization I am a member of and I intend to take this knowledge to the appropriate people and Harry, a security expert, even offered to advise them pro bono. For all this, Harry charged me a very small nominal fee significantly lower than his original quote since he was unable to repair my PC. Thank you Harry Stein!"
- What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?My price is a flat fee (parts are sold at my cost) and includes interview for constructing a forensic timeline, performance tuning, malware/virus removal, uninstalling unnecessary applications, reducing committed RAM memory footprint, security checkup, manual inspections (scheduled tasks, services, event logs, indexing, etc., resource monitoring), system integrity checks, memory and disk diagnosis, network troubleshooting (DNS, latency, congestion, network retransmissions, speedtest), full documentation on all of the above results and full mentoring on how the customer got in trouble and how to prevent the issue(s) from re-occurring. I also freely offer advise on any topic. To my competitors: you are being totally disingenuous and serving up mediocrity if you honestly believe you can walk up to a customer computer (or remote in) and get this work done properly in anything less than *4* hours. You are scamming them. Period. Plain and simple. This means YOU! How do I know this? Because I have had to clean up after almost all of you, with hundreds of customers. I can count on two hands the number of Thumbtack professionals across the country I have respect for. They all have a 4.9 or 5.0 average. They don't have multiple 1-star and 2-star reviews. Almost all 5s. They don't charge $50 to $100 for a password reset but freely recommend the customer go to Best Buy and get it done for $29. See my reviews. There is only one way to do the job, and that is to do it right and do it ethically and not charge a nickel if you don't fix the problem. I have bad news for novice technicians: IT TAKES TIME TO DO THINGS RIGHT. For my future customers: don't believe a word anyone says when they tell you otherwise.
- What is your typical process for working with a new customer?Every new customer is a new experience. We speak for 15 to 30 minutes and I describe how things will go in the best and worst case and then I remote in and begin to go through my extensive checklist mentioned earlier. I do this over the course of as many hours and perhaps days as necessary -- always working around the customer schedule and respecting their sense of urgency and/or time pressures. I either work alone or with the customer on the phone: it's always their choice (some love to learn; others can be overwhelmed). At the end, I need to review my documentation to show them the results and make any recommendations about how they should manage their computer going forward.
- What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?I read endless articles from the top security experts across the country and am continuously evaluating third-party tools and observing in amazement how little they can do to stop the onslaught of malware. However, these companies (Norton, Symantec, Avast, Kaspersky, AVG, TrendMicro) are most appreciated as they are a perfect complement to an educated computer user. I have a Bachelor's Degree double majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics at the University of Pittsburgh where I grew up (however I have been a 25+ year resident in my home in Texas).