Recent Jobs

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.

 

What happens when you use your laptop on a bed

What happens when you use your laptop on a bed

A new customer asked for help with his laptop which was giving the following warning: A problem with the cooling system has been detected. Please turn off the computer immediately, and return it for service. I suspected a blocked or failed cooling fan and gave an estimate of the cost of repair, and the customer agreed to go ahead.

warning-a-problem-with-the-cooling-system-has-been-detected-please-turn-off-the-computer-immediately-and-return-it-for-service-.jpg

 

The inside of the cooling fan intake vent

Laptops usually rely on a fan for essential cooling. The fan usually sucks in air from a vent on the bottom of the laptop (as shown) and blows it through a cooling ‘radiator’ and out the lap top, in the case through a vent on the side.

 

 

 

Must have been bought refurbish from another company - I would not use masking tapeThis picture shows the inside of the laptop after removing the keyboard and palmrest. In the centre is the blue motherboard (main circuit board). On the other side of the motherboard, under the H-shape part, is the CPU/Processor. As the processor heats up, the heat is dissipated into the flat copper rod on the left which in turn is connected to the ‘radiator’ next to the fan. 

 

Dust bunnies living in the fanThis picture shows the fan. To the left of it is the radiator-type device which is connected to the copper pipe. As the processor and rod heat up, the fan sucks air in from the bottom of the laptop (you can see the vents through the fan), blows it through the radiator (cooling it) and out the black plastic vents in the side of the laptop. This takes the heat from the processor and out of the laptop.

 

Dust bunny in the fan housing, and the radiator ventsIn this case, the laptop had sucked in dust over the years which had entered the fan and prevented the fan from turning. Every time the laptop starts it tests the fan, and if it isn’t turning it gives the warning shown. Without solving the problem, the laptop CPU overheats.

Usually the laptop will shut down power if temperatures get dangerously hot, but often the heat can damage the processor and lead it (or other components) to fail. On most laptops, a failed CPU would cost more to properly replace than is cost effective.

Fan removed for cleaningThe solution is to disassemble the laptop and carefully remove the dust, clean it, and reassemble it. This is a big job and should only be undertaken by an experienced and competent professional.

 

 

 

Keyboard afterHaving carefully dusted out and cleaned the internals, I also cleaned the case and keyboard and put the laptop back together again. Running a full-screen YouTube video for over an hour was enough to fully test the cooling system.

It’s easier to complete the type of work on desktop PCs because there’s more room inside to get to the fans. It’s a quick and simple job with the correct experience and specialist dust blowers.

If your laptop or desktop fan is sounds like it’s on full blast all the time it could be that your vents are becoming blocked. Do not blow into suck out of the laptop to clear it. Blowing might force the dust further in and risk damaging the laptop. Any forced airflow could spin the internal fans and induce a voltage which could damage the laptop (or desktop) components. In other words, if you spin the fan it acts like a tiny generator and generates electricity that can flow into your laptop and damage it. Call in a professional!

I hope you found this interesting. Please feel free to leave a comment. I will check the comments before making them public. You can also subscribe to my site via email or good old-fashioned RSS, or donate to help support the site. Please see the column on the right of you’re reading this on a laptop or desktop.

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Recent Jobs

I don’t often get time (or don’t remember) to post recent jobs on this site, but here’s a few that I did recently.

Install a new TalkTalk router on Canvey Island, set it up, and connect the laptop and phone via WiFi.

Troubleshooting AOL email on an iPad in Langdon Hills, backing up two laptops, and sorting out a couple of password problems including a password reset.

Troubleshooting problems on a Microsoft Surface RT and a 4th Generation iPod.

 

If you need help on these issues or any other issues, please contact me.

Recent Jobs

Just a random selection of recent jobs I’ve completed for customers.

  • New HP Laptop and printer set-up
  • Windows not booting after using system restore to attempt a fix, and printer problems – fixed. Set up email on Android phone, and set mobile broadband data use warning and limit
  • Same-day-service for business customer to fix “no internet” problem. Also installed and set up Dropbox, and set up and run their first backup
  • Windows Login problem solved, Windows Updates completed, Antivirus installation
  • Non-starting Windows PC problem solved, advice on Windows Updates, and advice and tuition on Kindle Fire Tablet
  • Failing hard disk on a laptop. Backed up data, replaced hard disk with SSD (Solid State Disk), installed Windows 10, restored data
  • Windows XP won’t shutdown. I know, Windows XP! Retro! Also, fixed line, wired phone sometimes can’t dial out.
  • New printer installed and set up so customer can print from PC, iPad, iPod and Android phones. General PC tune-up highlighted Windows Updates were failing (now fixed), and a security checkup (Norton auto renewal).
  • Lenovo Ideapad set-up, Norton installation and activation, Gmail account creation.
  • iPad locked during update and couldn’t access iTunes server on Windows Vista, solved by using another computer and resetting the iPad and installing updates.
  • Computer infected with viruses and malware due to Norton not working – disinfected and fixed Norton, updated Windows, tested emails. Installed ad blocker on another PC. Advice on tablets and phones.

If there’s anything I can help you with please contact me on the numbers top-right of this page or by using the Contact form by clicking here.

Thanks for reading.

Google Nexus 7 (2013) upgrade to Android Nougat 7.1.2 plus auto-rotation fix

 

Nexus 7 (2013)

I ordered my trusty Google Nexus 7 in 2013 so I could get it on the day of release. Google updated the Android OS (Operating System) for a couple of years before it went “out of support”. Since then I’ve had app updates, but no OS or security updates. After the recent reports of Android security vulnerabilities, I decided I needed to bring my N7 up to date by installing a newer version of Android.

 

In addition, my N7 has a common problem whereby the screen would not automatically rotate when the device was rotated. I had been using an app which allowed me to manually rotate it, but that wasn’t very convenient, so I decided to fix this problem before updating to a newer version of Android.

Nexus 7 disassemblyThe hardware fix involved separating the two halves of the device, disconnecting and reconnecting the component responsible for the failed screen rotation sensor, securing the component, then putting the device back together. I have done this fix previously on a Nexus 7, but it’s still pretty fiddly.

Then followed about two hours of very technical work to install Lineage OS, a version of Android created and maintained by enthusiasts. I have installed this before on many other devices, but each seems to have its own unique installation problems to solve.

 

Nexus 7 Android 7 Android N

However, I now have a brand new OS, with Android 7.1.2 (soon to be updated to Android 8 Oreo) with August 2017 security patches, and OS and security updates for the foreseeable future.

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