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.
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.
Working in the office today. Already been for my walk and coffee, so here’s the plan:
- Replace the failing hard disk in this PC, and transfer all the data and software over to the new super-fast solid state hard disk. It will look exactly the same to the client, but boot around three times faster and be much faster generally, and have more storage space
- Logging in to a computer (at a client’s house) to upgrade it to Windows 10
- More remote support to fix Windows Updates which are stuck at some failed updates
- Logging in to a business client to set up an email account in Outlook 365 on a new user account
- With the remaining time, I’ll be working on other “work in progress” and returning calls to other people who need tech support
If you need tech support, (computer, tablet, and phone help), please contact me and I’ll be pleased to help.
A new client called asking for advice on improving their computer setup at home. Their webcam microphone was faulty, their monitor was a little small for their impaired eyesight, and their home phones weren’t loud enough for their impaired hearing.
The new webcam was easy to recommend. I have been researching new monitors for myself, so I measured up their space and showed them how big various sizes of new monitor would be and we agreed which one to get, bearing in mind a high resolution could actually make the icons and text smaller.
I still have to research the home phone so I can get one that has the features they need and good consumer reviews from people with similar needs. Then I’ll phone them with my recommendation and agree how to proceed; either logging in to their computer to assist them with the online order, or ordering it myself. On delivery I will attend their home to set up the new equipment, test it, and show them how to use it.
If you need advice on hardware or equipment for your home or office, please get in touch.
This post is part of a series of “Recent Jobs” that can all be accessed using the “Recent Jobs” link in the menu above or by clicking here (opens in a new tab).
Happy New Year!
It was a hectic first day back in the office with a boiler service (let me know if you need someone good) and fridge/freezer delivery, but I did manage to help a couple of clients with email problems via remote support.
A small business client texted me because he hadn’t had email for a week. He has hosted business email from Fastshosts (meaning a paid-for email service, not free email like those provided by Gmail or his internet service provider), and used Incredimail software to access his emails. I’m no fan of Incredimail but he has used it for a number of years.
He suspected that the problem was with the Indredimail software that he has used for years to access his email (not my recommendation) so he uninstalled it. H couldn’t figure out how to access his Fasthosts email using Microsoft Mail on his PC. I logged in remotely and figured out the correct settings, then did some tests sending and receiving email to make sure it was all working.
The other client was a home user who had managed to lose his email icon after a Windows update. I didn’t know which software he was using to access his email, so I logged in to his computer to figure it out with him. He had been using BT Mail and accessing it with Internet Explorer, so I added a new shortcut to his desktop to make it easy to access his email again.
If you have problems with your email, or would like suggestions on a better email service, or advice on how to handle email more effectively, please get in touch. You can phone me on the numbers above-right of the page, comment below (it will be private if it contains personal information, or use the Contact menu item top-right of the page.
Here’s a run-down of some of the things I’ve been doing today.
I’ve had some old computers laying around for a long time, and since things aren’t too busy this week I was going to take them to the tip. Instead I refurbished them and I’m offering them for sale. Two desktops and one laptop have been cleaned them out, data securely wiped, hard disks tested for servicability, one got a RAM (memory) upgrade. I installed Xubuntu on all three. Xubuntu is an Operating System (like Windows) which works very well on older computers. I tested the startup time on one of them, and I can turn it on, boot it up, and get online to Facebook in one minute 15 seconds. I might keep the laptop to use for the family in the dining room, but the two desktops are being offered for sale. Contact me if you’re interested.
One other computer is a Windows Vista computer, but it has no hard disk. I’ve ordered a new hard disk and I’ll install Windows Vista on it again. I’ve already found a buyer for this one.
The other laptop I worked on today is has a failing hard disk. For weeks the client has been seeing the following message SMART Hard Disk Error. The SMART hard disk check has detected an imminent failure. To ensure not data loss, please backup the content immediately and run the Hard Disk Test in System Diagnostics. Hard Disk 1 (301). F2 System Diagnostics. ENTER – Continue Startup. For more information, please visit:… That’s not a typo, it actually says “Not data loss” instead of “no data loss”. Basilcally, the har ddisk is failing and there is a real danger that the client’s files and photos will be lost. I have backed up the data from this failing hard drive and I’m ready to fit the replacement hard drive, install the operating system, and restore all the client’s data and photos.
Finally, I’ve been trying for a week to get a desktop PC to boot into Windows again but it just won’t. Because it was Windows 7 and had an upgrade to Windows 8 (8.1 now), it doesn’t contain some of the files required to do a “PC Refresh”. I have agreed with the client that I will have to reinstall Windows, and he would prefer to go back to Windows 7. On my advice, he has agreed for me to purchase a new disk drive and install Windows 7 on that, leaving his original disk drive untouched in case the data backup I did didn’t get all of his files and photos. It’s a £50 insurance policy against losing some precious family photos.
I lot of work for a quiet day!
To see other “Recent Jobs”, click here and scroll down.
Things have been too busy lately for me to post on my website. Things are a little slower this week. I’m tackling two troublesome computers left over from last week, a laptop and this PC which are fighting not to be fixed. The laptop has a SMART error which basically means the hard disk is at the point of failure and needs to be replaced. I did most of the work only to find out that Microsoft won’t authenticate the version of Windows that came with the computer. I spent over 30 minutes on the phone to Microsoft in India over a terrible phone line but no luck. So I’m trying a couple of other fixes that aren’t as idea but will get the client’s laptop back in working order.
This PC is a Windows 8 PC that just won’t boot up. Nothing wrong with the hard disk, it just won’t boot up. All four restore points fail, two of which are Windows Updates and two are (supposed) computer tune-up and troubleshooting software installs. I suspect this latest “tune-up” utility broke Windows. As usual, the client has precious family photos on the hard disk and has no backup, so the only thing to do is remove the hard disk and backup the data for him (should take all night), then try repairing Windows again. It’s always best to backup first in case something goes badly wrong. That’s not something a certain major retailer will do, they’ll just reformat and reinstall, losing all the software, photos and other data. Anyway, wish me luck!
If you need any help or advice with your computer, tablet (inc iPad) or phone (inc iPhone), then please let me know.
Quite an easy job this one, uninstalled Norton and Avast, both of which are sometimes hard to uninstall requiring additional tools. Avast caused a problem this time, getting stuck deleting a file, but I solved that. I then installed my recommended suite of security software which is less than £20 per year compared to the £60+ Norton subscription. I also removed MyPCBackup which had been installed without the client’s informed consent.
This client had bought quite a nice phone from a shopping channel several months ago but not turned it on. I turned it on, set it up (email, Facebook, etc) and gave her some tuition on how to best use it.
A regular client was bought a new laptop and asked me to visit because he couldn’t figure out Windows 8.1. I went round to visit to help him, give a little tuition, and set things up for him including:
- Uninstalled the free trial of McAfee LiveSafe – if your trial runs out and you don’t pay up then you won’t have full antivirus protection
- Set up free antivirus
- Installed my recommended additional security software, that prevents unwanted software from being installed – the client already has an annual licence for this for less than £20 per year which allows installation on up to three PCs. This is much better value in my opinion than paying for McAfee or Norton.
- Installed his printer software – he couldn’t find the CD that came with the printer, so I downloaded the correct version and installed it for him
A regular client was having trouble with her Java Updates and asked me to log in from my office to hers to sort it out. I also installed Adobe Reader at her request. Both of these required me to side-step additional software that Java (Oracle) and Adobe want to install as part of the process. Such additional software is classed as Potentially Unwanted Programs but is commonly known as a virus or trojan; you’re getting the gift of free software (the wooden horse) but it comes with unwanted software (the invading army). All done safely in 20 minutes.
Unwanted software will be installed unless you un-tick (un-check) the option for the “recommended” software. The free software you want, Adobe and Oracle in this case, get paid when the additional bundled software is installed. Adobe and Oracle are reputable companies, but most free software comes with additional software that people don’t want and it’s often hidden. My advice is, if in doubt, ask me to log in and do it for you. It saves time (and money) in the long run.
If you want me to log in and help you, click Home in the menu bar above, and click Get Remote Support Now to install the software. You can phone me on the numbers on the top-right of the screen too.