A lot of things can physically go wrong with your computer. Sometime it’s easy to figure out, but in most cases when it breaks, it just breaks. Here is a list of some of the most common hardware issues we fix, and what we do about them. EMAIL US to tell us what's wrong with your computer. 


  • RAM 
  • FANS
  • CPU


Sometimes when your hard drive starts to go bad you’re given a few hints. A telltale clicking, or buzzing, a slower and slower start up; sometimes there is even an electronic burning smell. However, most often there is no warning at all. At some point your computer just won’t boot up anymore, or you get an error before Windows loads. The main concern at this point isn’t how much will it cost to repair, it’s HOLY SH&%$ did I just lose all my stuff?! At Rethink Associates , we can diagnose your hard drive problem for free; figure out if your data is recoverable, and then install a new hard drive in your system. We can recover your data, burn it to a DVD, back it up online, or put it on your new drive, however you want it.


One of the first things to go wrong, physically, with a computer is the power supply. The reason is that most computer manufacturers don’t use very good power supplies in their machines. They do it to save a few bucks, but in the end it probably costs them a ton in warranty work. The power supply converts your normal household power into the electric maelstrom your computer needs to run all of its components. Without it, your computer just won’t turn on. When it’s on the fritz it can send too much power to your computer and fry your machine. If it sends too little power, the CPU could overheat because the fans don’t work to capacity. In any case we at Rethink Associates  can replace the power supply in your machine. We could even repair it, but trust us, it’s far cheaper to just replace it.


There are a lot of misconceptions of what RAM does. Most people think “computer memory” is the hard drive. RAM is more like the short term memory in your computer. Here’s how it works. You ask for a piece of information, say a photo of your kids at the lake. Your CPU tells the hard drive to go retrieve the photo. Your Hard drive looks for it on its disk then sends it back to the CPU who then loads the data to your RAM. In some cases your graphics card gets involved but we’ll cover that later. RAM is your computer’s short term memory. Everything your computer does runs in RAM. The more RAM you have the more your computer can do simultaneously. Well RAM, as it is the workhorse of your computer, can sometimes get worn out. Anything that has a lot of electricity flowing through it can fail. Sometimes only one or two chips on the RAM go bad, and so you won’t notice it much unless you really start to max out your computer’s abilities. Other times though, the whole chipset goes bad. When this happens your computer crashes at random, shows the blue screen of death, or if it’s a Mac, you see the pinwheel or beach ball of death too often. (Why do Macs have a beach ball for a waiting cursor option anyway?) I think I got a bit off-topic. The bottom line is if your computer is just acting funny, it could be the RAM. At Rethink Associates, we have special equipment to figure out if your RAM has gone to the dark side. (Star Wars Reference #1, we held out for almost 2,00 words before we pulled that one out, ha!) We can also figure out the best way to replace it. In most cases we can upgrade your system to hold even more RAM, which means even more speed for you. You’ll be able to play solitaire faster than ever!


Your motherboard is a lot like your spine. Everything in your computer needs to use the motherboard for power, to relay information, and for cuddling, ok, just kidding on the last one, but seriously why call it a motherboard if you can’t cuddle with it? Apple calls theirs a logic board; who wants to cuddle with that? It sounds like something a Vulcan would come up with and you can’t cuddle a Vulcan, they just look at you… weirdos. Ok, back to the motherboard repair thing. Diagnosing a bad motherboard is difficult. There really isn’t any way to be sure if your motherboard needs to be repaired until you’ve tested everything else in your machine. Even then it’s probably your power supply anyway. One telltale sign of a bad Motherboard is to look at the transistors on the motherboard. If they have crud kind of coming out of them, are crooked, or leaning it could mean your motherboard is bad. More often than not though when EVERYTHING else in your system checks out and you still get inexplicable crashes, it’s probably your motherboard. Rethink Associates can replace your motherboard. This isn’t a small task by the way. You have to remove the CPU, the fans, and yank that sucker out of the case. This can take hours if done properly. Once done, if the wrong board is used to replace the old motherboard you’ll have to reformat your hard drive, reinstall your operating system, and all of your data. ARGH! Anyway, we replace motherboards, like 1,000 times a year, so we’ve gotten pretty good at it. As for repairing your motherboard, I wouldn’t suggest it. The motherboards don’t cost much to replace and once you start soldering components on or off a motherboard the world gets more complicated than it needs to be.


Whether you’re a graphics designer, a video editor or a video gamer, your computer’s graphics card is pretty important. The function of the card is pretty self-explanatory. The thing about modern day graphics cards is they are miniature computers unto themselves; they have a board much like a motherboard, a CPU, and RAM. It can also be the most expensive component in your computer. If it goes bad, you could be looking at a replacement cost in the hundreds of dollars. We at Rethink Associates can replace your card, and even do some pretty delicate work on your graphics card. Give us a call for a free estimate.


Most modern computers have the network card built into the motherboard. However, there are aftermarket upgrades you can buy to speed up your network. There are also wireless network cards you can add to your system. Like anyting in your computer, these cards can go bad, and they can be replaced. In many cases it’s pretty inexpensive for this type of repair.


So, the CPU is the brains of the whole system. If this piece of equipment is down, you’re going to be sorry. The most common repair for a CPU is reseating it or adding more cooling. The CPU gets really hot, and can expand and contract in its place. Given the right circumstances it can dislodge from its position and not make total contact with the motherboard. Rethink Associates can reseat your CPU add more thermal paste, and even add more cooling to your computer. The cooler the better, like us.


The average system has two fans, which is ok under optimum conditions. But once you start to introduce pet hair, dust, and various other matter that the fans suck into your computer, conditions quickly become less than optimal. Rethink Associates  can replace fans, make the ones you have run better, and we can even set up filters for your computer so the fans don’t actually suck anything into your system but air, the way Michael Dell intended.


Optical drives are quickly becoming obsolete. As we buy more of our movies, music, and software online these drives become less important. That being said, if you have one and it’s broken, and you want it to work, Rethink Associates can help. We can replace the drive for you, no problem. We have even retrieved disks stuck in the drive. The cost to repair these drives is too much; it is better to just replace them when they go bad.


If you play video games on your computer, a good sound card is almost as important as your graphics card. This is certainly the case if you edit audio or have a huge collection of lossless files. At Rethink Associates we can replace these cards and get the tunes cranking again.


If you’re like a lot of us, you have a DSLR camera and take a heck ton of photos. You can max out an SD card in no time, which means you have to move all of those files to your computer. Your card reader can work overtime, and if it isn’t working right it can damage your card, and maybe even be the catalyst to you losing some of your best photos. You have to have a good reader. Rethink Associates can replace these readers for you. We can even recover data from your SD cards if necessary.


USB hubs aren’t very expensive, so replacing them doesn’t cost much. But if you have a USB card installed on your system, it can short out other components on your system. Not to mention if you have something critical plugged into a bad card you can lose data. Rethink Associates can replace these cards, or remove them so you can use a USB hub instead.