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.
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.