Support representatives at the Answer Desk, Microsoft’s Genius Bar counterpart, offer a number of free services that normally carry significant costs when obtained elsewhere. According to the company’s Answer Desk website, customers who bring in their Windows PCs can obtain diagnostic services, software repairs, PC tune-ups, and virus or malware removal all at no charge. And this isn’t an offer that only applies to customers who bought their PCs directly from Microsoft; Answer Desk representatives will help you out regardless of where you acquired your computer (as long as it’s running Windows, that is).
Some of the services, such as the “tune-up” and “diagnostics,” are a bit nonspecific, but virus and malware removal is a great service that many Windows users could likely take advantage of (of course, the irony of the fact that Microsoft is partly responsible for the prevalence of Windows-based viruses does not escape us). And when compared to something like Best Buy’s Geek Squad, which charges $200 for virus removal alone, the Microsoft Store is certainly worth a visit.
In addition to the free stuff, Microsoft’s Answer Desk also offers a number of additional services for a flat $49 fee, including hardware upgrades, application installation and setup, Windows upgrades, data backup and migration, and OneDrive setup. They also promise a “Warranty Concierge” service, where they’ll deal with the third-party manufacturer directly on any warranty issues, helping customers avoid frustrating phone calls and returns.
It’s no secret that Microsoft Stores don’t yet (and may never) have the buzz and allure of an Apple Store, but with great customer service and unique options like the Answer Desk’s free services, the stores are getting harder to ignore, and they’re definitely worth a visit if you’re a Windows user.