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!
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.
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 client’s PC would not boot up. The computer was a custom-built PC and the person who built is was no longer in business.
The PC would look like it was going to start, but it would get stuck. Initially I suspected a faulty sector on the hard disk, thinking a file that Windows needs to start up was corrupt, so I took the PC back to the office to run some disk maintenance and data recovery software (it takes hours to finish).
Before subjecting the computer to hours of data recovery, I checked some other settings. I found that there were incorrect BIOS settings. BIOS is the basic system software that (basically) gets the motherboard and physical hardware ready to the point that it can boot into Windows. I corrected the settings and the computer then booted up properly. Job done, some might say.
Since I had the computer in my office, I decided to run the disk maintenance software anyway. When a computer can’t boot properly, you have little choice but to “pull the plug” to turn it off. Pulling the plug out is not good for a hard drive and often results in data errors.
Hard disks get 1000’s of errors a day, but the hard disk itself usually makes the corrections on the fly. The software I use makes the hard disk check its entire surface again, refreshing the data and identifying problems that the hard disk itself didn’t know it had. In this case, the report highlighted that the hard disk was in a worse state than it thought it was. The errors were corrected, but I have recommended that I run the disk maintenance software again in a few months. If the report shows that there are new problems with the data, then it would indicate the disk could be failing and I will recommend replacing it before it fails catastrophically.