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.

 

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.

Today in Computer Repair

Here’s a run-down of some of the things I’ve been doing today.

2015-06-10 11.27.09I’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.

2015-06-10 11.37.02The 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.

Get Windows 10 – register for a free upgrade. What’s it about, and what to do?

Get Windows 10 Free UpgradeTL;DR* No need to take action yet, Windows 10 comes out 29th July and the free upgrade is valid for a year.

Most of us Windows 7 and Windows 8 users are getting “get Windows 10” pop-ups inviting us to register for a free upgrade to Windows 10. If you don’t have a pop-up yet, don’t worry, you will be eligible for an upgrade at some point.

Windows 7 and Windows 8 users will have the chance to upgrade to Windows 10 for free when it comes out on 29th July. Microsoft is trying to get people to register for the free upgrade before it’s released; it’s just a marketing ploy. Whether or not you want to upgrade is up to you, it depends on whether you want the new features of Windows 10.

If you do decide to upgrade, there are two options; and “in-place upgrade” which (supposedly) leaves your files and software on the computer, or a “fresh install” where you backup your data (documents, photos, etc), wipe the hard disk, do a fresh install of Windows 10, install your software again, restore your data. For previous upgrades to Windows it was recommended that you do a “fresh install” to minimize the risk of things not working properly afterwards, and I expect that will be the best option for most people for Windows 10 too. In any case, I would recommend a backup of your data first. Also remember that some older software and hardware such as printers may not work with Windows 10.

So, what should you do now? I suggest you do nothing at the moment, but registering for the upgrade doesn’t commit you to the upgrade (I think). The free upgrade will be available for a year anyway. I would recommend waiting until Windows 10 has been installed by many more people and most of the bugs have been fixed. Then, if you want to upgrade, do so when you’re not likely to need the computer for a week in case there are problems.

When you do decide to upgrade, make sure you take your time, and maybe call in a professional to make sure it goes smoothly.

* TL;DR stands for Too Long, Didn’t Read. The tl;dr label is sometimes used constructively by an author to introduce a short summation of a longer piece, as I have here.

Recent jobs

Nothing particularly exciting, but it was good to deal with such a range of work for one client.

  • Transfer files from an old Windows XP desktop computer to a newer Windows 7 desktop computer.
  • Troubleshoot wireless internet problems.  It’s a long house and the WiFi signal won’t reach all the way, so I have recommended a device which will allow wireless internet throughout the house.  I will go back to install it when it arrives from the supplier.
  • Set up Norton 360 on a new Windows 8 laptop.  Although Windows 8 includes Microsoft’s own free antivirus software, PC World still sold my  client Norton 360 (for £60 I think).  I don’t recommend Norton (or McAfee) on any version of Windows, but since the client had paid for it, I set it up for the her.  I recommended against using their automatic renewal option as it’s tricky to cancel; Norton debit the credit card way in advance of the renewal date, just to make sure they get the money before people get a chance to cancel.  I will arrange to uninstall Norton before the end of the subscription year and install a free antivirus instead.
  • Sort out various iPad problems.  I have seen lots of “incorrect Apple ID password” problems on iPads, iPhones and iPods.  Even changing the password doesn’t seem to resolve the problem sometimes.  Anyway, I fixed the problem and installed Chrome (browser), Kindle, and some other software to help her get the most from her iPad.

Since the client has several other things she wants me to take care of, she agreed to sign up for my monthly CBits Subscription service.  Rather than pay-as-you-go, she will pay a small monthly amount which works out cheaper than paying per visit for most clients.  She gets some other benefits too, like priority service, and if she doesn’t use up all her ‘allowance’ of time, she can call me in to service all her computers, iPad, and phone to make sure they’re all up to date and working efficiently.