Sheri Samson Bret Towe hard at work in his computer store in Hawthorne.

Sheri Samson
Bret Towe hard at work in his computer store in Hawthorne.

Most people that walk into Bret Towe’s computer store in Hawthorne are either toting a lap top computer, carrying a hard drive or looking for information about a portable phone. Either way, Towe is happy to assist in any of those areas of service. With his mini store of reasonably priced office supplies and computer items on hand, its Towe’s repair skills that he admits is sought after the most.

“The highest percentage of computer issues is dealing with viruses or malware, which affects the proper functioning of the computer. Recently there have also been the additional problems that customers are facing with the aggressive marketing push toward Microsoft users. They want the customer to upgrade to Windows 10 for free.”

Towe explained that several have already learned that the upgrade wasn’t free, as their computers crashed and were not compatible to the newer program. Most users were launching from Windows 7 or Windows 8 into the next roll out of Windows 10.

“The problem I am seeing is that Microsoft desires to ween people off the older mode of programing, without properly finding out what the conflicts will be first. You have manufacturers such as Dell for instance, who did not universally inform their customers that Windows 10 may not be compatible in the direct home installation. This is because Dell just recently began in-house testing the program, so they haven’t figured it out yet.

A warning would’ve been appropriate. The normal user doesn’t know this, so they take the free offer of the upgrade and lose their computer access completely. On the systems brought to me, I have been able to locate the problem and regain the hard drive, fixing each unique issue, but it would’ve been better for a person to contact me first.”

By knowing what is happening in the marketplace, he can troubleshoot the problems locally and on a case by case review.

Towe explained that he can actually accommodate the upgrade for his customers to avoid a complete scare when a shut-down occurs. He understands that all computers have differing hardware and programs installed, so it is best to take a “wait and see” stance when new programs are on the market.

Towe admitted, “It’s not difficult to figure out why these programs are offered free initially, knowing that it takes a year to work out the bugs. It’s like looking for the risks but letting the public run it out first before they’ll charge someone for the program. It can cost a hundred dollars to regain the crashed info and clear the computer’s confusion with a new program, so that’s not really a “free” program after all. It takes a lot of hours to search it out. The other part of it is the down time. It can take a week or more that customers are without a computer.”

With that information in mind, Towe recommended that someone using their computer on a daily basis, especially for work, wait a year before accepting the upgrade, even if you pay for the program later. The down time you will experience in the upload process, even if done by a professional like himself, may tie up the computer for at least a week.

If someone is more of a gamer and using the computer for casual use, it may be worth having a professional program the computer in the correct manner, leaving it down for a week but enjoying the free upgrade once it is completed properly.

As a Choice Wireless Phone agent, there are many supplies, phone choices and assistance available by visiting his store which is located at 104 W. 10th St. in Hawthorne. Towe’s store has a varied option of phones and computers at many price points. There are standard parts available, but he can order most anything that is needed. He is available to ask technical questions that you may have, or you can call to consult with him concerning programing issues.