Computer Reimaging

Customer Frequently Asked Questions

What is your Computer Reimaging Process?

A set of methods by which the current computer configuration is wiped clean followed by an imaging reinstallation process which cleanly reinstates the operating system, default applications and drivers, applies updates, and security protection to produce a reimaged computer.

Reimaging can become necessary when system corruption, file damage, or other computer software problems occur.

What types of computers can you re-image?

Laptop Computers, Desktops, Netbooks, Notebooks, and Workstation PCs. At this time we do not perform reimaging on Mac platforms.

How old of a computer is appropriate for Computer Reimaging?

Typically, the customer's computer requiring reimaging work should be no older than 4 to 6 years old. Computers older than that, exhibiting major problems, typically should be decommissioned and replaced with a new computer due to the increased age of the electronic components inside the unit, and the fact that evolving technology improvements regularly push new hardware (with improved capabilities) into the marketplace which obsoletes previously-owned computers.

Generally, circumstances necessitate reimaging when problems emerge which prevent normal functioning of the operating system and/or applications, or it becomes necessary to flush all previous settings & user activity from the machine.

How long will it take you to re-image my computer?

The time varies considerably based on the age of the computer & type of machine (desktop, laptop, netbook, etc.). Older machines tend to have slower components (bus, drive, cpu, ram, video), resulting in a slower reimaging process.

In general, our reimaging method can take a minimum of 3-4 hrs. with an average of 6-8 hrs.; other older machines with deeper problems can take as much as 16 hrs. to complete. The affordable flat rate applies regardless of time required to complete the process.

Where is the reimaging work performed?

All computer reimaging work takes place in our lab where our specialized tools & equipment exist.

Is there any prerequisite for the reimaging work?

Yes, the computer should not have any underlying hardware problems. Machines with faulting hardware will not be able to receive the replacement image, and therefore are not candidates for this work. If the customer does not know but suspects a hardware defect or underlying hardware issue, on request, we can run some diagnostics to attempt to identify existing problems.

However, generally speaking, if any hardware needs to be replaced or is suspected, it is usually best and more cost-effective for the customer to buy a new computer and replace the faulting one. New computer prices have come down to the level whereby, coupled with new warranty, it often does not make economic sense to throw good money into an old system which might have limited remaining hardware life.

What will happen to the data on my hard drive?

The first step in our reimaging process is to wipe clean the hard drive in an offline state, disconnected from the internet – this obliterates/destroys all pre-existing customer data. Therefore, Customer will need to check in advance that their data is properly backed up off of the computer and the data is in restorable condition.

We do not back up nor save any customer data. It is the Customer's Responsibility to backup their data prior to reimaging, and is highly recommended to both back up and verify the backed-up data. Please see the below sections which address backing up data.

How hard will it be for me to Backup my data before having the reimaging work performed?

There are many Online Backup Solutions available in the marketplace which can safely & securely back up your data, and make the process very simple & easy. These solutions also go by names such as Web-based Backup and Remote Backup. Some major backup providers include Carbonite, iBackup, iDrive, Mozy, Acronis, and others.

Some customers prefer an Offline Backup Solution, such as a USB External Hard Drive, or high-capacity USB Flash Drive - there are many cost-effective solutions in the marketplace for this purpose, and they frequently come with backup software included to make the backup process easy.

What if my computer system appears completely unusable and not in a condition to perform a present Backup of my data?

There are some solutions to handle this situation. You will need to check a few things first:

1. If you have Backup Software on your computer, and you are confident that a recent backup was performed (prior to system failure), then you can check/verify that you have a current set of backed-up data reliably stored either Online, or Offline:

  • Online Backup - If you have an account with an Online Backup service provider, then you can contact them and gain access to your data through an alternate computer to check or verify the last time a backup was performed and if all your data is stored properly on their platform.
  • Offline Backup - If you've been using a directly-connected USB external hard drive or USB flash drive for example, you can connect your external drive to an alternate computer to check or verify if all your backed-up data files exist.

2. Some customers by default keep a mirrored set of their data on "thumb drives" (USB flash drives), DVDs, or alternate storage mediums, just in case of a hardware outage or internal drive failure. If so, then you can check the USB drive or DVD or other storage medium from another computer to verify all your backed-up data is intact and saved properly.

3. If customer does not have a reliable backup of their data, or is unable to back up files & data prior to reimaging service due to a failed hard drive or inoperable computer, and customer requires our help, we can attempt Data Recovery on the failed system (at additional charge). To proceed forward with Data Recovery, we need to diagnose whether there has been a soft failure or a hard failure of the system hardware, to best determine how to proceed forward. Call us to discuss your individual situation.

Before I schedule dropping off my computer, is there anything I need to do?

1. Backup your data. The ability to back up one's work has become very easy within the past few years with a large number of Online Backup Firms who've made the procedure simple, easy, and secure. For those not yet ready for web-based backup, and wanting local control of their data, there are easy alternatives such as an External Hard Drive, or a high-capacity USB Flash Disk. These devices are easily connected through the USB Port.

Often, external hard drives come with some form of backup software included. Customer will need to back up all files/folders/data (and it's recommended that you verify the backup afterwards) so that you can restore from that backup location after your computer is reimaged. Note: Customer data backup is a customer responsibility.

2. Call to Schedule Reimaging Work. All computer reimaging service work must be scheduled in advance. At this time, we do not have full counter service, accordingly we do not accept unscheduled dropoffs/pickups. Proper scheduling is necessary for us to time manage the reimaging procedures, as well as our being able to provide an estimated delivery time of when your computer is expected to be completed.

3. Bring Source Disk(s), if any, with your computer. If any Source Disk (CDs or DVDs) were included with your computer, customer will need to furnish these at time of dropoff in order for us to proceed forward with the reimaging service work.

Do I need to bring any of the peripherals with the computer (ie, the monitor, keyboard, mouse)?

For desktop & workstation computers, please bring only the computer System Unit for dropoff as well as any original source disks (CDs or DVDs) for computer reimaging purposes. Please do not bring any peripherals such as monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer, etc.
For laptops/notebooks/netbooks, please bring the whole unit and its included AC Adapter, for the reimaging work.

What default system software do you reinstall on my computer?

The software programs which were part of the original system image from the computer manufacturer will be reinstalled, provided that the original source files are intact, non-corrupted, & still accessible. These source files tend to be located in one of a few areas, depending on the machine type & manufacturer: e.g. a hidden partition on the original drive if still in the system; original source disks which came with the computer; or a recovery dvd which came with the machine.
Sometimes, however, these source files are inaccessible or unavailable (e.g. customer changed out the original hard disk, or source disks are lost or not available).

In cases where we discover that the source files for your particular computer type are unavailable, corrupted, or inaccessible, we will attempt to obtain them from the manufacturer.
Note: There is usually a charge from the manufacturer to resupply this (typically in the range of $15 to $25), in which case we will pass along the actual charge to the customer.

In general, also installed on each computer are the following software programs (latest compatible editions) to enable greater functionality & operability for the customer:
Adobe Acrobat Reader, Adobe Flash, Java, Office Productivity Software (if MS Office is not supplied), Firefox Web Browser, Internet Explorer Web Browser, QuickTime.

How often do I need to have my computer reimaged?

Some customers get their computers reimaged annually to flush everything out from the previous year's activity, or restart from scratch with a high-performance machine. Others find it necessary some time after two years.

Generally, if your computer has reached a point in its lifecycle where the computer is running slow, misperforming, acting haywire, or it appears Windows is broken or software is breaking, or if the machine has contracted bad viruses, trojans, or destructive malware, then it's time to have it reimaged.

While every situation is different, usually circumstances of the machine and its history are indicative factors. For example, if your computer has experienced any of the following circumstances, or you are struggling with its present operation, it is likely a candidate for a computer reimaging:

  1. Did the machine previously belong to another person or employee? Customers often wish to "flush" the previous user's data & activity, and have the machine set up from scratch as if it is a new computer out of the box.
  2. Has there been some history of bad viruses or malware infections? A default function of many virus scanners/cleaners is to delete the file which has been infected, or quarantine it. Conventionally it has been difficult, and oftentimes impossible, for virus cleaners to actually "clean" the infected file - if those file infections are operating system files, once deleted or corrupted or compromised by the virus infection, then system instability can occur. Quite possibly, the only real answer which delivers a satisfactory result is a Reimaging of the machine.
  3. Have various different application programs been installed and then uninstalled over time? Have some of these been downloads over the internet of questionable or dubious credibility? Often, when many software programs have been installed, they insert numerous entries into the system registry (which frequently remain even after those software programs have been removed). Making matters worse, some programs install over others, thereby installing different versions of commonly used files, which can cause system conflict, corruption or instability. (It is a good best-practices approach to only install reputable, tested, and supported, software programs which have good compatibility, so that application conflicts & file corruption can be avoided.)
  4. Power failures. If a computer is plugged directly into the wall outlet, without the presence of an Uninterruptible Power Supply, then power failures can cause corruption to a system which experiences immediate loss of power without properly powering down. Even if a computer is plugged in to a surge suppressor and there is a power failure, the sudden loss of power while the operating system & software applications are open can cause corruption and systemic damage to open files/data & drivers and resultant system instability.
  5. Companies & organizations facing cost reductions, and requiring economic cutbacks, will often find cost savings in a computer reimaging process instead of a new hardware replacement project, as part of their computer refresh cycle.

What do I need to do after receiving back my reimaged computer system?

Customer will need to plug in computer and reconnect any cables to peripheral devices such as monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer, and network.

After powering on computer system, you may be initially prompted to install device driver software for those peripheral devices, such as your printer drivers or wireless mouse for example - in those situations, follow the prompts which appear on screen and load the driver disk which came with your peripheral device if instructed.

Is there any problems with licensing, either with the operating system or applications, in doing the computer reimaging work?

We use the Customer's original licensed product(s) to perform the reimaging work, and we are merely reinstalling those licensed products onto the customer's computer. It is the Customer's Responsibility to provide genuine licensed product for the reimaging service work.

I have several computers and laptops requiring your reimaging service - do you handle multiple machine reimagings?

Yes, multi-machine reimagings is another capability we provide. If you are a larger corporation or organization, please provide your volume license source disks for the reinstallable operating system & applications for your computers.

My company is performing a computer refresh project and replacing computer desktops & laptops with new equipment. Some of our workstations are only 1-2 years old, but are misperforming, and we'd like to have them reimaged. Can you provide a volume quote?

Yes – fill out our Contact page below or telephone us at
760-216-6560 indicating your present & future requirements, and quantity of systems.

Contact us now to discuss your specific requirements
or the circumstances of your computers.

Call us at (760) 216-6560, or fill out the form below:

Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.

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ILINK TECHNOLOGY Computer Repair Service: Computer Technicians serving satisfied customers since 1999 from Carlsbad, CA, North County, Rancho Santa Fe, Del Mar, La Jolla, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Cardiff, Leucadia, San Diego, California, San Diego County, & Orange County.

5055 Avenida Encinas, Ste. 100
Carlsbad, CA 92008
(760) 216-6560

Note: All service work is By Scheduled Appointment Only at this time (ie, no unscheduled drop-offs). Please contact us to schedule.

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