Upgrading your warranty
If the maker of your PC or notebook offers only a one-year warranty and you're worried about your ability to care for your computer, you might consider upgrading; most companies offer for-pay upgrade options. As we mentioned earlier, you can reasonably expect a new computer to last at least three years, so if the price is right, you might want to consider upgrading a skimpy warranty. Toshiba charges just $129 to tack on a three-year warranty to the roughly $2,000 Satellite Pro M10-S405 series--a worthy investment, we think. Furthermore, in most cases, you'll get a better deal as you add more years to your warranty. So, it may not make sense to add just one year for $100, when you can get three years for $149.
In general, the more experienced you are, the less important a long warranty becomes--unless, of course, you've just paid a bundle for a fancy computer, printer, or monitor, in which case you should demand longer coverage. We suggest that you don't pay extra for an extended warranty unless you have no knowledge about computers or you bought an extremely expensive system and you don't want to void your warranty by monkeying with it yourself.
Also note that most vendors charge more to upgrade the warranty on a more expensive PC. Apple charges $249 to ugprade a Power Mac G4 to a three-year warranty but just $169 for extended care on an iMac. Dell charges $89 to add a year of coverage ($139 to add two years) to the sub-$900 Dimension 2350 and $119 or $159 to upgrade the more than $4,000 Dimension XPS.