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Recent Jobs catchup

It has been a very busy time recently. I’m catching up with paperwork today, so here’s a selection of the recent jobs I’ve completed. “Remote support” is where I’m in the office and a customer logs me in via the internet, “on-site” is where I visit the customer’s home of office premises, and “return to base” is where I bring the computer back to my office to complete the work.

PC Tune-up via remote support.

Customer called saying he had a warning on his computer that he had a virus and “someone is trying to exploit your hard drive”, and that his files would be deleted in five minutes. He logged me in for remote support and less that 30 minutes later his computer was back to normal.

For another customer, he had a hard disk failure that needed a replacement, including data recovery and backup, supply and fit new hard disk, install Windows 10, and restore data from backup. Initially the customer reported several problems such as Chrome freezing when trying to attach files, Word and Excel freezing when using cut and paste, and Excel freezing when using “open” or “save as”. My diagnostics revealed that the hard disk was failing. Return to base to complete the work as it was more convenient for us both.

Security set-up on three PCs. Same customer as above logged me in for remote support on his three computers (one desktop, one old laptop, and one new laptop) to ensure all had my recommended combination of security software/apps.

Another long job. Customer contacted me about her computer freezing the un-freezing, constant cut-outs of Wifi, and the cursor jumping all over the screen when she was typing. I went on-site to take a look, but had to bring the laptop back to the office for more diagnostics. It turned out to be two separate issues; the freezing and WiFi issues were caused by a faulty DVD/CD drive (maybe shorting out), and the jumping cursor was caused by a faulty touch-pad. I removed the DVD/CD tray and disconnected the touch pad and returned the laptop to the customer (with a mouse she could borrow) while I sourced replacement parts. When the parts were in I went on-site and fitted them there.

That’s enough for now.

If you need help, please contact me on the numbers at the top-right of the page, or via this contact form this contact form (click here). Please do not leave comments to request help, as I may not see them for some time.




Recent Jobs – Replacing hard disk and installing Windows 8.1

2016-08-13 17.33.46This Packard Bell had been having problems starting up, freezing, and multiple other problems untill it wouldn’t start up at all and was stuck in a “repairing your computer” loop. The option to Refresh wouldn’t work, and the customer didn’t want to lose files by doing a Reset back to factory settings.

Having worked on the computer to try to fix it for some time, I concluded it was a problem with the hard disk itself. The hard disk wouldn’t be recognised on another computer either, but I persisted until I magaged to get access and backup the customer’s files and photos.

I supplied a new hard disk, installed it, installed Windows 8.1 from scratch and set it up, and installed Office 365 again and some other software that the customer required. I tested the computer was working, and restored the backed up data (files and photos).

Recent jobs

Here’s a selection of recent work I have done.

20 minute remote support for a regular client to fix a sounds and mic (microphone) problem. I installed one Windows Update for him too. We also scheduled another remote support session to upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. We had blocked the automatic upgrade because the client wanted me to oversee the upgrade process.

Remote support session to revert to Windows 7 after an unwanted automatic upgrade to Windows 10.

Troubleshooting a failing disk drive.

As always, backup! If you don’t have a second copy of those files and photos, it’s only a matter of time before you hard disk fails and you lose them. Contact me for help and advice on backing up.


Windows Vista; time to move on

Google’s Chrome browser is warning that Windows Vista is no longer supported. Here’s what you should do. For TLDR, see last paragraph of this post. Click here to find out what TLDR means.

Chrome support ending on Vista

The exact message is “This Computer will soon stop receiving Google Chrome updates because Windows XP and Windows Vista will no longer be supported”. Well, if you’re using Windows XP, stop it! Now! If you’re using Windows Vista, now is a good time to think about an upgrade or a new computer.

Google’s Chrome blog here states that they’re removing support for Chrome on Windows Vista  this April (2016) “since these platforms are no longer actively supported by Microsoft [snip]. Chrome will continue to function [snip] but will no longer receive updates and security fixes. [Snip] We encourage you to move to a newer operating system to ensure that you continue to receive the latest Chrome versions and features.”

Well, that’s not strictly true, Microsoft will issue security patches through Windows Update until April 2017. Google will not be updating the security features of Chrome on Vista from this April. Microsoft haven’t updated the security on their Internet Explorer on Windows Vista either. Maybe you could install and use Firefox from Mozilla as an alternative, but that’s just a temporary fix.
I think Windows Vista and the software running on it will become less secure from now until the end of Microsoft support for Vista in April 2017, after which I would not recommend using Windows Vista for anything financial certainly, for anything important to you, and for anything password-based like email or Facebook as these passwords could be leaked on insecure Vista.

TLDR and the bottom line: For Windows Vista users, over the next year I recommend either upgrading to a new version of Windows, or buying a new computer, and making a gentle transition to the new system rather than waiting until the last minute. I can advise and help with the purchase and the transition.

TLDR: What it means and why I use it

TLDR, or TL;DR stands for Too Long, Didn’t Read.

Some people like reading long posts with background info, analysis, anecdotes, etc. Others don’t like long posts, or don’t have the time to read them. I’ll be using TLDR occasionally to indicate a summary of a longer article and sometimes suggest an action to take. It may help you decide whether you want to read the whole post.

Five minute iPad fix over the phone saves screen replacement

I love it when this happens. A regular client called to find out where the best place is to fix her iPad which had a black screen but still made a sound when plugged in to charge. She was expecting me to send her to Apple or a local screen replacement centre, but I found a fix for her that worked when she tried it. Five minutes, and another very happy client.

You will get Windows 10 this Tuesday whether you want it or not *

If you don’t want Windows 10 installed automatically on Tuesday 9th February (or shortly after) then you need to take action now. I have this from two very reliable sources.Windows 10 enforced upgrade
*This applies to Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1. If you have these versions then Microsoft will “upgrade” you to Windows 10 as part of Windows Automatic Updates starting this Tuesday 9th February.
Some software (programs and apps) and hardware (printers and other things you plug in to your computer) will not work with Windows 10.
I can block this unwanted upgrade and turn off all the annoying popups about the upgrade.
I expect to be busy with this fix. I may not be able to reply to emails until after the deadline.
So, if you don’t want Windows 10 then phone me as soon as possible and leave a message if I am not available so I can get back to you.

Karting catchup

Karting catchup

Thought I’d post my time-sheets from my most recent three karting sessions. Prior to this I had been going to Lakeside Karting about once a year for many years. Since it was getting a bit cold, I decided to try the indoor track at Rayleigh Karting Stadium. I had been there before many, many years ago, but the track layout has changed except for two corners, so no point comparing previous lap times. Essentially it’s a new track for me.

All sessions are 10 minutes.

Edit: I can’t figure out how to make the results sheets open full-size in a new window. If you want a copy, contact me and I will email you a link.

Autumn 2015.

2015-1x-Autumn RayleighI don’t remember much about the session now, but here are the highlights I wrote down at the time.

Session 1. 10 drivers, started 4th, finished 3rd, won fastest lap.

Session 2. 9 drivers, started 5th, finished 1st, won fastest lap.

Session 3. 10 drivers, started 11th, finished 4th. Very dirty racing from some drivers. Every time I overtook one car he would hit me and take me off on the next corner.

Session 4. 3 drivers, started 1st, finished 2nd. The other drivers, Jon and Tim, had been about ten times so far that year. Tom’s car was difficult to drive, to be fair. Jon weighed about 13lb (6kg) less than I did at the time.

Session 5. 3 drivers, started 3rd, finished 3rd. Worked on my technique for the bridge and first corner.

My fastest lap of the day 28.45.


Dec 2015.

2015-12-xx #1 Rayleigh

Session 1.

Sessions 1 and 2. I was the only driver.

Session 3. 2 drivers, finished 1st, fastest lap.

Session 4. 6 drivers, finished 1st, fastest lap.

Session 5. 6 drivers, finished 1st, fastest lap.




2015-12-xx #2 RayleighSession 6. 6 Drivers, finished 3rd, fastest lap. There was one driver who was very quick but not as fast as I was. Every time I pulled out to pass him he would drive me into and along the barrier to stop me from passing. I got fed up with this, and next time he moved right to force me into the barrier, I moved left and spun him out. Both of us got penalised one lap. I spoke to the marshal afterwards about it, and he wasn’t sympathetic. I didn’t pursue it; their track, their rules.

Session 7. 6 drivers, finished 1st, fastest lap.

Session 8. Just me. Good job too, I was pretty tired by now.


My fastest lap of the day, 28.99.


14th Jan 2016.

2016-01-14 #1 Rayleigh Session 1. Just me.

Session 2. 4 drivers, started 4th, leading after the first corner, finished 1st, fastest lap.

Session 3. 4 drivers, can’t remember where I started, finished 1st, fastest lap.

Session 4. 4 drivers, finished 1st, fastest lap.

Session 5. Just me.



2016-01-14 #2 Rayleigh

Sessions 6, and 7, just me.

My fastest lap of the day, 29.28. This got me to 30th fastest lap of the (short) year so far.