If you need an adapter for an old laptop hard disk to convert it to a portable hard disk for use as additional storage or backup, here is my current recommendation. I’ve actually bought and paid for one of these and used it myself.
After spending a few hours researching what’s available, I can now recommend a suitable laptop.
This is not a budget laptop. This laptop has better specifications than cheaper laptops, so it should continue to give you a good user experience as Windows gets more updates and software and websites get more complicated and need more resources to work.
Here’s the one I recommend for home use and general day-to-day activities. Click the text below to see the laptop on Amazon.
Someone asked me for my recommendation for a label maker. Here’s my response and review of the Dymo LetraTag LT-100H Label Maker.
I’ve bought two of the label makers, one just stopped working one day, so I bought another. I can’t find the emails for the purchases, but I’ve been buying the tapes for them since 2013 or earlier, so two in eight years isn’t bad. I print a lot of labels, so it gets used a lot.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a tape jam, and the label fading seems minimal. I’ve just compared a label from about a month ago to one from a couple of years ago, and the blacks are almost as bold. I use compatible labels, and I do see some slight yellowing with age, but they’re cheap and easy to replace. The labels do fade quickly if they’re on a kid’s lunchbox in the dishwasher though (heat sensitive).
I’ve been getting a ‘battery low’ notice for months, but it still keeps chugging along. I use Amazon Basics batteries, they’re cheap when I buy bulk and last very well.
The only downside is the keyboard is alphabetical, and it’s tricky to find the right punctuation sometimes, but you get used to it, and for most labels it’s not a problem.
The Coronavirus has dealt a devastating blow to the UK economy. The only way to recover is to keep the money in the UK and not send it overseas. Support your local businesses and keep the money local.
Repair, don’t replace! Support your local and UK economy, not China and the Far East, by maintaining and upgrading your existing computers instead of buying new.
If you must buy new, donate your old Windows 7 or later computers so I can refurbish them and resell at reasonable prices to LOCAL people. All user data will be securely wiped.
I’m available for telephone and remote support, and for on-site visits with appropriate COVID-19 procedures in place. I use masks, gloves, and antibacterial wipes and gel. I work from the back of my vehicle where I can. I bring minimal equipment with me. I don’t use my phone on-site, and everything is wiped on the way in and on the way out of customer premises.
I dropped back the laptop I finished fixing yesterday, then back to the office to finish remote support on a laptop I was working on yesterday that had turned itself off. The customer and I couldn’t get it to connect again, so I drove over to pick pick it up. Back at the office I fixed the remaining problems, then jumped back in the car to return it to the customer. Social distancing, and antibacterial wipes were used, of course. The laptop had been very slow (for example, when opening Microsoft Excel), and occassionally locking up. Here’s a list of some of the things I did to fix it.
The first thing I checked was the hard disk health. It reports it has reallocated sectors. In simple terms, it has had trouble reading several blocks of data, so when it did finally get read the data, it moved the data to ‘spare sectors’. I explained to the customer that if this was my own disk I would replace it as it’s the first sign of failure. However, we agreed to check the disk periodically and if the number of reallocted sectors increases, we will rplace the disk. Meanwhile, I set up an online backup (second copy) of the customer’s files.
I removed TotalAV Antivirus. It had been installed by mistake after an advert popped up a fake warning saying his antivirus was due to expire, and to ‘click here’ to continue protection. Clicking it downloaded and installed this software, even though the customer already had McAfee antivirus (which I don’t recommend either).
I removed Booking.com adware (advertising malware). It’s nothing to do with the holiday booking site, it’s an unwanted app that periodically shows adverts.
I had to do a password reset to log in to OneDrive.
I repaired some corrupt Windows files, did a tune-up, and installed a Windws Update.
I also provided phone support for a couple of internet and router/modem/hub connectivity problems. There were some other calls too, but this post is long enough and it’s 9:30pm and I’d like to get out of the office.
If you have any computer propblems that you need professional help with, please phone me if you’re in the UK. Phone numbers are on this page on a green icon (somewhere, depending on whether you’re on a computer, tablet or phone). If you’re outside the UK I can still help. Use the Contact Me form on this website and I’ll be in touch. Thanks!
Another Saturday doing tech support during the Coronovirus pandemic. Here’s a selection of the work I did today.
I had picked up a laptop earlier in the week from a customer in Langdon Hills (Laindon) Essex. It was running very slowly and locking up. Doing remote support with those problems is impossible, so I offered to pick it up, observing social distancing. Having solved the slowness and locking up, the Windows Updates kept failing. It takes a long time troubleshooting this because each update attept takes a long time. Eventually I got the updates to work. One final abtibacterial wipe and it’s ready to go back to the customer tomorrow (Sunday).
I spoke to several customers on the phone who logged me in for remote support. These jobs included:
Updating the Skype app on a laptop, and resetting the Microsoft password that is used to sign in to Skype.
Installing the Viber Windows desktop app and linking it to the existing phone app.
Reinstalling NortonLifeLock 360 Premier.
Turn off Facebook Notifications that pop up (slide in) from the right of the screen.
Discussion about the new Google Meet chat that shows on the left side of Gmail.
Two password resets for different customers, one for Microsoft and Skype, and other for Amazon.
Advice and product recommendation for a WiFi range extender for an existing TP-Link wired Powerline Adapter.
Finally, another remote support session to do another Windows Upgrade. The customer had this message. “You’re currently running a version of Windows that’s nearing the end of service. We recommend you update to the most recent version of Windows 10 to get the latest features and security improvements.” However, his desktop PC wouldn’t update to the newer Windows 10 Version 1909. I was able to sort this out remotely.
If you need tech support, please phone the numbers top-right of this page. You can also subscribe for free to receive emails of updates here. Look for the ‘Subscribe’ option.
Working on a Sunday to catch up with filing job sheets. Here’s a small selection of recent work undertaken.
Decommissioning a Windows XP computer. I was going to remove the hard disk and put it in an enclosure so the data didn’t go off to the recycling centre, but someone had already removed it. So, it’s safe to take it to the tip.
Telephone support for email problems, followed by more phone-based email troubleshooting (this time for TalkTalk email).
Remote support for a regular customer for suspected virus clean-up.
Upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 on a desktop PC and a laptop for the same couple. Microsoft is still not charging for this with the method I use, and since the customer pays me a monthly subscription (retainer) the work was done using up their contract hours making this a free upgrade to Windows 10.
Remember, I offer remote support worldwide, so please contact me if you need my services.
If you’re not sure which version of Windows you’re using there are a couple of ways to find out. Usually, you can tell by looking at the Start icon. The Start icon is the Windows logo that’s usually located at the bottom left of you screen.
Ignoring the blue background, if your Start icon is round with a four-colour Windows logo inside it then you’re probably using Windows 7.
If your Start icon is black with a white Windows logo inside it then it’s almost certain you’re using Windows 10.
To make absolutely sure, look for the black Windows logo on the bottom row of your keyboard, two or three keys in, and press it. Then type in “System Information” (without the quotes) and select the top option on the list shown on your screen. A new window will pop up which will tell you exactly which version on Windows your computer is running.
If you’re using Windows 7 then be aware that with effect from 14th January next year (2020) Windows 7 reaches “End of Life”. From this point, Microsoft considers it “End of Support” and will not offer any more security updates to patch security issues with Windows. Please contact me to discuss your options to upgrade to Windows 10 or a new computer that will come with Windows 10 pre-installed.