Local Business News on the Southern Oregon Coast
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By Lisa Carroll, Staff Writer

If your computer is giving you a fit, why not give professional techie Dale Barrett a call? His business, QuickTech, is an on-site computer repair and maintenance service. Dale covers the coast from Florence to Brookings, as well as Roseburg and the Eugene/Springfield area. He also has a shop where he’ll work on your computer if that works better for you. Also note that Dale is one of the few people in the area who works on Macs as well as PC’s.

Dale got started in the computer repair business 12 years ago when upgrading wife Shelly’s computer to get on the internet. “I’ve always liked to tinker with things, and being mechanically inclined, I just took to it. I like the challenge of making a computer work when it quits, and I like being able to go and help somebody with a problem. People are always pretty glad when their computer works again.” Dale also works with his wife Shelly in her venture at Bay Area Nutrition, which he describes as a wellness center focused on achieving healthy nutrition at a cellular level. “When the body gets the nutrition it needs, it can do wonderful things,” says Dale. Both Dale and Shelly are natives to the area, and in their spare time they like to go to the dunes or travel. Dale is also a classic car and hot rod enthusiast.

QuickTech's Dale Barret and wife, Shelly, with whom he also works at Bay Area Nutrition. 

But, back to computers. Dale gets a lot of calls for networking, upgrades, memory installation, or replacement of hardware.  Another big thing is virus removal. “A lot of different things get grouped into virus removal,” he said. “What many people refer to as viruses now-a-days are not a true definition of a virus.” Dale explained a big issue is malware posing as anti-virus software. Usually, a frightening pop-up warns that your computer is at risk from a dangerous virus. You are told it is urgent that you purchase their service in order to remove the bug from your computer as soon as possible. People who fall for this scam soon discover the only thing the bogus "anti-viral service" removed was money from their bank account. 

What advice does Dale have for  maintaining your computer? “Backup, definitely. If a hard drive fails, everything is wiped out, it is gone. It costs about $1500 to have that info recovered.  Also, create a recovery disk.  Sometimes brand new computers don’t come with a disc to reinstall Windows, but there is the ability to create a recovery disk. It is time consuming, but well worth it.” Dale goes on to explain the importance of using canned air to clean the dust out of your computers. “No matter how clean you keep your home or office, you’re going to get dust in your computer. The cooling fans suck it right up. Overheating due to lack of cleaning is where I see a lot of hardware failure, especially in laptops.” The worst place you can place your computer is on the floor, because that is where most of the dust is.  Dale also warns against placing your laptop on a soft surface, such as a bed or on a blanket, when running it. “There are vents in the bottom of most laptops where the fan draws the air in to cool the computer. If you cover those holes up, you can fry the main circuit board. Laptops are as expensive to repair as just buying a new one.”  And, of course, Dale also urges everybody to keep their anti-virus software current.

I asked Dale if he gets a lot of calls to build computers from the ground up. He told me that unless a person needs a really high end computer, such as for server applications or hard-core gaming, it is a better deal for a person to buy a pre-built computer right off the shelf. Contrary to what I thought, a pre-built computer is not harder to upgrade than a home built computer. “These days, it is a company like Intel or AMD making them, and they are not as proprietary as they used to be, so it’s much easier to find the parts. If you can’t install it yourself, you would call somebody like me to take care of that for you.”

If you are more of a do-it-yourself kind of person, Dale has a great website, iCompute, which is loaded with how-to articles and advice.  Dale explains, “It’s a self-help website that walks through some of the more complicated but common problems that people have with their computers. If something is not covered there, I also have a link that allows people to email me with questions.”   You can find computer parts and accessories at great prices there, too.

Dale can be reached at 541-260-2839, or visit the website iCompute, at www.icompute.info.

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