questionshow much do you think it should cost to have a pc…

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Zero dollars. There are about a billion tutorials out there that will walk you through it step-by-step if you're worried about doing it by yourself.

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Lots of free tools exist on the Internet for removing viruses.

Malwarebytes.org is my first stop, usually.

So zero dollars is the correct answer.

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You have to remember that if someone has one virus on their machine that they noticed, they probably have tons of others that they didn't. Even if they aren't officially viruses, they will still want them removed.

When I used to do it, I had three tiers of pricing. The cheapest was to back-up the data folders onto DVD and nuke/pave from OEM restore. The second was a backup, and then to run several av tools on it and let them remove what they could.

The third was for when the av tools didn't clear it. It was an hourly charge, and expensive. I only had one person take me up on that one, which was for a business laptop that they had to have the application repaired on for tax compliance reasons. I got it done, but it wasn't fun, and it wasn't cheap. I think I bumped the hourly rate after that.

Sometimes the price is how much it will cost to get the technician to do it. Some things aren't worth the hassle.

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It depends how long it takes. Usually, I don't charge friends, family, or co-workers, but they'll give me $20-$40 bucks and a pat on the head sometimes.
All viruses are different. It takes some time to determine what the problem is and then how best to fix it. Might just be a system restore that takes 10 minutes. A lot of these computers run slow as heck and that can be very frustrating trying to copy files and/or run virus scans. Sure, the easiest way is to just reformat and start fresh, but then you still have to do all the updates and extra software installs to get it back to how they had it. Do they have data they can't stand to lose? Do they even have the restore discs? (if it's not on a recovery partition) Sometimes you can't just wipe it out if they don't have the OS to put back on it. I'd say like $40 an hour is fair because it can be very time consuming if you do it right.

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I'll chime in since I've done it for pay in the past. Regardless, you won't get your money's worth with Geek Squad. They don't have talented nor capable people in general. Best to go to an independent shop if it's at all critical.

If you don't care about your data, virus removal can be relatively cheap - just a simple reinstall of Windows. Geek Squad will resort to this if their go-to tools fail. Chances are good they would blow away whatever is on your computer and claim it was already lost anyway.

Automated tools are the next step up, but I don't trust them alone. This is about as far as Geek Squad will go.

For a careful manual cleanup with the assistance of tools, it can take 2-3 hours. Part of it depends on the age of the system. Slow computers take a lot longer to work on. If that fails, and it sometimes can, the only option is a careful backup and a reinstall of Windows, followed by restoring the data to the appropriate place. This can get expensive.

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Consider that no-one wants to spend 2 hours fighting with a really slow PC for a few dollars. If you can find someone moonlighting or otherwise working cheap to do it for $40 an hour, consider yourself lucky, and realize that while most viruses can be eradicated in 1 hour, 3 hours isn't unreasonable, either, especially if the PC is slow.

The Geek Squad consistently charges about twice what companies without their advertising budget do. There's a place near me that charges a flat $100 to do it, and I think Office Depot is similar. Likewise, MicroCenter, if there's one near you.

Think of it like this: if you don't want to do it yourself (which isn't usually so hard), whoever does the actual work will get paid something like $30-40 an hour*. If there's a flat fee or other guarantee, or a corporate office, advertising, or even a receptionist, you're paying for that, too.

* I checked out a Geek Squad job once, just out of curiosity; they start around $30 an hour.

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Keep in mind for most infestations I've seen, rebuilding the PC is REQUIRED because the virus usually opens up some security hole to let all of its friends in with.. You can try to save your data, but if it infects your backup, you may loose that data. I'd expect to spend $75-$100 on the low side if its a simple wipe and reinstall Windows. If you want data recovery, that complicates things and will likely cause you to spend $75-$100 an hour, and it will likely require many hours (2-20, depending on how bad it is and how infected your data is).

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A virus almost without fail is on a windows PC. Windows is not a stable operating system anyways, and needs to be reinstalled every 1-2 years even under good conditions. Just backup your files (not your programs), reformat your hard drive (or buy a new one as you could probably use more space anyways) and reinstall. Virus is gone and system is running much better; do updates ASAP to prevent reinfection.

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Have you tried some of the basics yourself like installing Microsoft Security Essentials (free) and letting that run and clean your machine? Of course, there are plenty of other free apps as well as low cost ones.

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Zero dollars. I use malwarebytes, as well. I have also used combofix. Combofix is a last resort, so it is not for the meek. I can screw up your system if you do not follow instructions while installing and delete the program when you are done.

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There are some very, very hard viruses to battle.

They will not be removed by Malwarebytes, or SuperAntiSpyware.
They have disabled USB and CD-Roms.
They give themselves random names in the registry.
They disable Run commands, command prompts, task managers.
Blocking all internet traffic except to ones that are 'approved' by the virus.
They live in several different places 'repairing' themselves if an attempt to remove is incomplete.
Hide everything (pictures, MP3s, documents, and important stuff to the user). *from windows
They disable exe except on an approval list.

That being said. I would boot to a linux disk backup the users data reload the machine and restore the backuped data.
Load Avast. Chrome, malwarebytes and a few other freebies. And charge $40, but I am not Best Buy, and I was told that there is no way I would take my PC to BB even if they were free.
Cleaning does not guarantee a clean PC. It is possible some undetected trojan is leaving an open door for later.

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Awesome, thanks for all the replies. I own a computer repair/retail store in Cincinnati and I've always charged a flat fee of $75 to remove a virus. I figure, in terms of time spent i'm like an automotive shop charging book rate, that is, the more knowledgeable and skilled the mechanic is, the faster he can move on to the next job. If a shop consistently beats flat rate book times they make good money, the customer never experiences sticker shock and there is a higher demand for skilled technicians. Sure, i've had the marathon virus removal where they $75 was hardly worth it, but I've also had ones clean up so easily I had to wait a while to inform the customer the job was done so he didn't feel ripped off. The point is that most people aren't horribly tech-savvy and the tools mentioned in the answers aren't so obvious. Like any service the value is really based on customer perception and opportunity cost.

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@candreae: That's a fair point. Most of my time has been spent on-location - I don't have a shop. Flat rate is probably the way to go.

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@capitalggeek: maybe you should try to be more efficient/effective at your job if its taking you that long.

u u
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@u: Huh? I re-read his post and I don't see anything which would suggest he's inefficient. Some situations when it comes to fixing computer problems just takes a long, long time. If the goal is simply to get the computer itself working again by wiping the drive and re-installing, that's pretty efficiently, predictably easy. But if you're trying to save the person's data, save their installed programs, etc. then that requires a more delicate hand, more patience, more research, and far more time (to do it right). It won't be worth it for most people, since most people can just back up a few folders and re-install the OS and the few programs they use, but for people seriously invested in their computer, the time and money spent is worth it.

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@candreae: Your price is very fair for in-store removal, but onsite would have to include travel time, just like any service professional(electrician or plumber). Given a case like that, if a tech had to drive an hour one way, the price could get kinda ugly.

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Answer depends on whether you're asking the payer or the payee.

I have had some ridiculously easy jobs on friends' computers, and then again I have spent so much time before that there's no way I could have charged enough to be compensated for my time. I should have turned them away. Your $75 fee would have seemed very reasonable.

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Geez, pull the drive, mount it in a clean machine & clean it. That, imo, is the last resort.

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@u: Capital, maybe you should change your name to rude-uninformed geek. People who give responses like yours generally are just looking for attention. Well, you got it.

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Is the Geek Squad you refer to from a specific company? I have not gotten a virus yet but have had things I cannot figure out on my computer (I'm sure simple to someone who understands computers). For instance, I couldn't figure out why a plug-in kept crashing which prevented me from playing some videos. Another thing is I couldn't open any files or documents unless I sent them via email to myself and opened them from there. I got a plan a while ago at a discount at $99/year and they solved these 2 problems for me which was well worth the $99 already. I am assuming if I get a virus they will take care of that too. They can either remote on to my computer or I can bring the computer to them. So I guess to answer the question I would pay to get a virus removed because I would not feel comfortable using something online. I would not be sure the virus was removed completely.

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@u: when charging a flat rate, efficiency is what you aim for. You have a notion of your overhead costs and what you would like to make in terms of profit. You realize you must make X number of dollars a month to pay for the operation, plus your wage, account for the number of hours you have available to work and you can come up with the dollar amount you need to aim for. You get more familiar with each virus as they walk in the door and become more efficient. This increases your profit margin...but as security threats constantly change there is a learning curve with each and sometimes you go past your time target and into the red. This, however, leaves you in a good spot the next time you see the virus. So your suggestion is EXACTLY what I do every day...I improve my process to decrease time spent per job and increase efficiency, which has a direct correlation to profit with a fixed price.