Bruce Meredeen

Bruce Meredeen

Hello! I'm Bruce Meredeen and I am your Local PC PAL Computer Repair Engineer serving Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding areas. Whatever your Computer Repair problem, please give us a call on 01892 640 999 for a discussion about how I can help! I also carry out Laptop Repairs in your Home or Office.
Tips & How-to's 27th April 2015 2074

Where To Go When The ‘Computer Says No!’

Little Britain nailed it. How we feel when a computer, or its operator, refuses to do what we want. People tell me their first reaction to a serious system problem or major component failure is to throw out the ‘beast.’ How appropriate that Microsoft’s flagship operating system is called Windows!

As someone who fixes computers for a living I know that iMac and MacBook users also occasionally get frustrated with their sleek, expensive machines, belying the common belief that Apple devices ‘just work.’

A computer that doesn’t start up seems a disaster. If its hard disc drive (permanent storage) has failed will documents, pictures and music (data) be lost? One that starts up so slowly we have time to make a cup of tea puts us back and may later crash, lock up or freeze. A user unexpectedly faced by an all-blue screen full of static white text that refers to a ‘fatal’ or ‘stop’ error encounters the so-called ‘Blue Screen of Death.’ Take comfort though; even a computer with a ‘BSOD’ can have new life breathed into it.

Other less deadly issues with a working computer can still be irksome, hamper our productivity or reduce our confidence as computer users. Examples are unexpected error messages, loss of internet connectivity, notifications of malware (malicious software), spam or a hacked email account.

You may be able to fix some software issues (which arise from a programme or the system) yourself. A Google, Bing or Yahoo search using your browser (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.) may lead you to a step-by-step solution. Broken or faulty hardware (the physical parts of the machine) require different diagnostic and repair methods. What can be challenging, however, is knowing if you’re facing a software or a hardware problem.

Like any complex household appliance a computer sometimes requires specialist attention. Phone books and internet resources such as Yell or Google list many computer repair companies and services, so how do you work out which to use?

Look for a local rather than a national or mobile phone number, and a business rather than a personal email address. Using a local repairer often means a quicker response, lower or no call-out charges or chargeable travel time. It also supports the local economy. Request online references, customer ratings, reviews or testimonials. If you ask for free phone or email advice you may get a sense of the engineer’s experience, knowledge and approach to customers.

Unlike when you drop the computer off at a store or workshop, an engineer who visits your home or business is better able to understand your set-up and establish the issues. They can also configure the computer in line with your preferences. Taking a large desktop or much relied on notebook computer to a remote superstore can cost more because of higher business overheads and profit margins. It can be awkward and may take longer - up to 10 days - or risk the integrity or security of your data. Seek assurances on this point and if a repairer offers to take your computer away for any reason ask for a receipt and check that they are registered for Data Protection purposes.

Being ‘qualified by experience’ does have value but it is no substitute for having formal Microsoft or Apple qualifications so ask about the engineer’s accreditation. Find out if they offer a warranty on their work and have Professional Indemnity insurance.

If you think it’s expensive hiring a professional, wait until you hire an amateur!

Quick tips for safer, more efficient and up-to-date computing

  • Clicking, grinding and scraping sounds from within a computer suggest a failing hard drive. Switch it off and seek advice. Repeated restarts risk irreparable damage and data loss.
  • A computer that remains unresponsive beyond a reasonable waiting time can be forced to shut down by pressing and holding the power button until it does so. This can take up to 10 seconds and is always preferable to sudden removal of the wall plug, power lead or, in the case of a laptop or notebook, the battery.
  • Users of version 7 or 8 of Microsoft’s operating system will qualify this summer for a free upgrade to the much anticipated and highly rated Windows 10. Alternatively Apple users you may upgrade immediately to Yosemite, the latest version of its OSX, via the Mac’s built-in Software Update utility.

Next time:

Cleaning and keeping your computer cool to avoid damage and improve performance.

Protecting and securing your documents and pictures from loss due to hardware failure or malicious attack. What are your backup options?

Jargon busting: What are RAM, USB and a GUI? How knowing the answer can enhance your computing experience.

Enjoy safe, secure and stable computing!

 

Bruce Meredeen

Hello! I'm Bruce Meredeen and I am your Local PC PAL Computer Repair Engineer serving Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding areas. Whatever your Computer Repair problem, please give us a call on 01892 640 999 for a discussion about how I can help! I also carry out Laptop Repairs in your Home or Office.

More Posts

Leave us a message