Introduction

A computer is a complex combination of hardware and software. Applications demand high speed performance from all components. The Windows Operating System, though not without its quirks, is vulnerable. Operational problems can develop during use of the computer, most of which manifest themselves as 'crashes' such as:

  • Mouse pointer freezes on screen
  • No response to keyboard action
  • Fatal exception errors reported
  • Operation error reported
  • Programs or files not opening
  • Missing files reported
  • Display blanks off or presents spurious pixels
  • Printing becomes inconsistent or non-functioning
  • Everything running much slower than it used to
  • Internet access and/or emails no longer responding

Software Problems

Faults may develop in the Windows operating system. Important files may get corrupted, viruses, Trojans, worms or spyware may have been introduced, the use of certain websites may cause permanent changes to settings, new software may corrupt Windows system files or shared files, device drivers may conflict.

Hardware Problems

Hardware components can develop faults. These could be a gradual deterioration, intermittent fault or an outright failure. In some cases a hardware failure could result in the computer not booting up at all. Older computers may have insufficient hardware resources such as memory, hard drive, an inadequate graphics card or slow processor.

Diagnostic Testing

We have developed a series of diagnostic routines designed to track down the cause of operational failures. We use industry standard tools to help us undertake this work. We ask for as much information as possible to help in the diagnosis.

Test procedures can only be properly undertaken on our premises but we do offer a collect and return service. We need the computer base unit, the original operating system license certificate (not a copy), driver CD's and additional software relevant to the analysis. Power packs must be supplied with printers, scanners, modems and routers.

Before testing, we try to duplicate the reported problems. We run two series of tests, hardware and software. The type of tests to be undertaken will depend on the information supplied by the customer and this initial run up.

Hardware Diagnosis

These tests are undertaken if the indications are that the problems are caused by hardware faults. They will also be undertaken if, after a software diagnosis, the computer continues to exhibit operational problems.

If the computer does not power up at all, we will immediately replace the power supply and retest. Faulty power supplies can cause damage to other components.

For computers which boot up but do not start loading Windows, a series of programmed tests is undertaken.

For computers which power on but do not boot up we run through a substitution process to determine which components have failed.

Operating System Analysis

These tests are undertaken if the indications are that the problems are caused by the operating system/software. They will also be undertaken if the computer passes the hardware diagnosis.

Whilst we can usually remove viruses Trojans and spyware, the infection can often permanently damage important Windows files which cannot be repaired.

If the computer continues to exhibit problems after this testing or virus removal, it is recommended that Windows be reloaded to return the computer to its as-new state.

Important

A Windows reload will permanently remove all programs, internet settings, personalised settings and all documents and data files in all user areas. Your files eg 'My Documents', Windows Mail, Outlook, Outlook Express and Addressbook should be backed up prior to any remedial work being undertaken. DO NOT store your files on the Desktop as they may be lost in the event of a Windows problem.

We offer a data backup and restore service but you must tell us the exact location of all files requiring backup. Files can be backed up on to a CD or DVD, copied on to an external drive or restored on the original drive.

Customers would normally have to re-instate their own internet and email settings but we can help them to do it.

Programs and applications can only be restored from original discs and licenses.

Please note that Windows does NOT include Microsoft Office. If you want any Office components (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access and Outlook) re-installed you MUST supply the original license certificate. Even if Office components are on your computer prior to it being reloaded with Windows, we still cannot reload it without a legitimate Microsoft license. Ensure that you have this BEFORE authorising a reload of Windows.

Conclusions

In most cases the above diagnostics will identify the cause of operational problems and the results and recommendations will be reported to the customer.

If the computer continues to exhibit operational problems, it is unlikely that any further testing can be undertaken. Recommendations will be made to replace the computer.

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