You may sometimes ask yourself if you should repair or replace your computer. Firstly, you must think about how your computer has served your in the past. Has it been reliable or not? A computer that has been unreliable may be less worthwhile of an investment. But a computer that has performed well and just become slow over the years would probably be more worthwhile to repair.
How old is your computer? If it’s more than 7 years old then it may not be worth repairing. Or if it’s running the now defunct Windows XP then it would be worth considering a new system. If it’s less than 7 years old then a repair would probably be worth doing. The less it has been used over the years, the more viable it may be for use into the future.
Does the system suit your needs? With a laptop, if it’s too large or the keyboard is too small then an upgrade may be worth considering. Also, with laptops the battery life may be quite short, but a new battery can be purchased for less than £50.
What kind of applications do you use? If you’re looking to upgrade your applications, then you need to ensure that your old system can cope with the extra demands that these may require.
Your computer is a long-term investment and may be one that changes over the years.
Always place your laptop on a flat, stable surface. Do not place it on top of stacks of paper, desk calendars, upholstery, or anything that is an insulator.
When your using your laptop, do so in a place that has constant air-circulation.
Keep your laptop away from the edges of desks . Be cautious about leaving the laptop unattended where it could easily be knocked onto the floor, sat on, or stepped on.
Don’t drop your laptop. Dropping, jostling, or bumping the laptop will damage the hard drive and risk both physical damage as well as loss of data and an expensive repair bill.
Before moving your computer, be sure to remove any media, turn off attached devices, and disconnect cords and cables.
Always hold the laptop with two hands at the bottom, never by the screen.
Handle any removable drives with care, including CDs, DVDs and flash drives. Insert drives into their slots carefully and at the correct angle. Pushing the wrong drive into a socket, or at an angle, or even upside down, can jam it and damage the laptop.
To keep your screen in good shape, stay away from it – i.e. do NOT poke it with your finger – or even worse, with a pen or pencil. If you want to show something on the screen to someone else, point “from a distance” or use your mouse and cursor to point to the item of interest.
Never twist the screen on its hinges. Your computer display is designed to be opened and used at an angle slightly greater than 90 degrees. Do not open the laptop display beyond the limit of the hinge.
Never close the laptop’s lid with an object left on the keyboard. Don’t slam the lid down.
Keep food and drinks away from your laptop. Do not eat or drink over your laptop.
At least once a week, make it a point to back up your data. If critical data is present, it is a good idea to perform a daily backup. Downloaded software and screensavers often cause conflicts and use valuable memory.
This week I was called out to a customer in Hadstock, near Linton, their HP desktop computer was exhibiting some rather strange behaviour. It would take an age to boot up and then Internet Explorer would refuse to display any web pages.
I booted the computer from my special diagnostics USB memory stick and checked the state of the hard drive. Sure enough, the hard drive showed as failing with a fair few bad sectors.
After discussion with the customer, I took the computer back to the workshop and cloned the entire hard drive on to a new one. After booting the new hard drive, I checked the system out and checked that all the Windows system files were in order. The computer was running a lot happier after this.
The computer was running BT’s version of McAfee, which in my experience is not the most effective anti-virus, so it was removed and cleaned from the system. Then, my recommended anti-virus software was installed and configured.
The computer was then taken back to the customer, plugged in, and the Internet connection and printer tested to ensure that all was well.
The first thing I noticed that, while the computer had 2GB of memory, some 0.5GB was being reserved by the graphics adaptor. After realising that there was no way of changing the reservation in the CMOS setup, the only option was to add more memory. More memory was added and the computer checked out. There were no indications that the hard drive was failing, and checking the task manager revealed that part of the font system within Windows was using a massive 50% of the processor. The font cache was deleted which helped, but checked for malware to find a virus that had hooked itself into the font system. The virus was removed and the Windows services permissions and default startup were restored.
Next was a cleanup, temporary files were removed and Windows and software updates were applied. The network was also reset which had the side effect of causing the network to stop functioning for about five minutes after the computer was switched on. Simply removing the network drivers and allowing Windows to install them on the next reboot resolved the issue.
The computer was taken back to the customer the very next day, connected up and internet and printing tested.
Called out to a home laptop owner in Milton Road today, the laptop was running extremely slowly and was very noisy too! Cleaned the insides of the laptop, and set about checking the state of the hard drive. The hard drive was indicating imminent failure so replaced it with a solid state drive which improved the speed of the laptop no end! Checked for viruses, found a few but nothing malicious and removed them. Ensured that all of the latest Windows Updates were installed and updated any other applications and software which needed it. Clean up temporary files and the laptop was good to go!