We live in a throw-away society. Disposable this, recyclable thatfew consumer products nowadays are designed to be fixable, let alone upgradable. PCs are an exception, although you wouldn't know it from reading the mainstream media. While we were writing this book, we were flabbergasted to read an article in a respected publication that seriously suggested the best cure for a spyware-infested PC was to throw it out and buy a new one!
The article did have a valid point, though. Paying someone to disinfect a spyware-laden system can easily cost hundreds of dollars. Similarly, one of our readers was quoted a price of more than $200 to replace a failed power supply in a two-year-old system. The problem, of course, is that parts are cheap but skilled labor is expensive. In most parts of the country, PC technician time is billed at $60 to $100 per hour. At that rate, it doesn't take long for the bill to add up to the cost of a new PC. Fortunately, you can bypass those high labor costs by doing the work yourself, and you needn't have special equipment or be a computer wizard to do it. If you can change the oil in your car or hook up a DVD player, you can repair or upgrade your own PC.
You won't be alone, either. If you visit a local big-box store, you'll find aisle upon aisle of PC componentsmotherboards, processors, drives, memory, power supplieseverything you need to repair or upgrade your current system. The trick, of course, is knowing what needs to be done and how to do it. That's what this book is about.