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.

Troublesome PC number #2 – hard disk removed for backup

2015-06-08 15.24.36Things 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.

New laptop setup, including antivirus and printer installation

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

Your Windows 8.1 installation couldn’t be completed – solved

Your Windows 8.1 installation couldn't be completed - solvedIf you can’t upgrade to Windows 8.1 because you get the message “Your Windows 8.1 installation couldn’t be completed. Something happened and the installation of Windows 8.1 can’t be completed”, then I can help. Just go to and click the “Get Remote Support Now” link. You can then allow me to log in and fix the problem for you.


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