Computer Healthcheck

imagesCAGN7V2VWhy would my computer need a healthcheck?

Good question, what we really mean is;

  • Is your computer running slow?
  • Do you suspect you have a Virus infection?
  • Does your computer or laptop shut down randomly (crashes)?
  • Is it running abnormally hot?

These could be due to a number of reasons but here’s the most common;

  • Your computer may have become bloated with files left behind from deleted software you removed months or even years ago.
  • You might have a number of installed software running in the background, waiting for a quick start and using up system resources, even though you use them very rarely.
  • Maybe you’ve inadvertently installed Adware.
  • Your computer is infected with Malware (Virus).
  • Hardware problems, the physical parts of the computer.

imagesCA444HYGSome solutions we would employ;

For bloated, residual files and rarely used programs running in the background, we would uninstall unwanted software and remove any residual files left behind. Organise which files are to remain running in the background and tidy the registry database and restore file structure integrity.

Sounds quite straight forward doesn’t it?

Well, in a majority of cases it is. BUT real problems arise when we’re greeted with, “My next door neighbours’ child is good with computers.” Or “my mate knows what he’s doing.” Or “I Googled the problem and the internet said…” That’s when we feel a slight sinking feeling and as a result no worksometimes we have to carry-out a complete re-installation of the Operating System (O/S).

This is fine but it does mean the computer is now back to the day you bought it and all the programs or applications you’ve installed in the meantime have gone! Now you’re left with hunting down those installation discs you keep in that safe place!

Although we do our upmost to save any of your DATA (photos, music, documents etc.), there is never any guarantee that all will be there and intact. More often it is but things can go wrong. The biggest request is, “will mybackupdata emails be restored?” Yes we can, depending on how your email client is configured with your email provider and whether or not the same email client is used.

Let’s not cross the road to bring bad news here, 99% of the time things are fine. Perhaps a little inconvenient to both you and us under these circumstances but we do keep you informed at all times and you will have to understand that the job will take longer than intended.

By all means, if you want to, ‘have a go’ yourself, but please, BACK-UP your data first! Keep in mind also that some of your files will be hidden from you so make sure you search these out too.

“What’s Adware?”

Adware, or advertising-supported software, is any software package which automatically renders advertisements in order to generate revenue for its author. These advertisements may be in the user interface of the software or on a screen presented to the user during the installation process. The functions may be designed to analyse which Internet sites the user visits and to present advertising pertinent to the types of goods or services featured there. The term is sometimes used to refer to software that displays unwanted advertisements.

Here we would remove the programs. We find that these can be relatively straight forward but again, during such procedures our investigation often turns up Malware too.

Malware or Virus Infection

ukashMalware, short for malicious (or malevolent) software, is software used or programmed by attackers to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems. ‘Malware’ is a general term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile or intrusive software. Malware includes computer viruses, ransom ware, worms, Trojan horses, rootkits, key loggers, diallers, spyware, adware, malicious BHOs, rogue security software and other malicious programs.

If this is the case not all virus infections will require a complete re-installation, some we can remove without having to take this drastic step. But others are very difficult and the only course of action is to completely wipe and reinstall your Operating System (O/S). If this is the case, we will back-up as much of your data as possible. Clean the data where we can. Sanitise your Hard Disc Drive, Reinstall your operating system and copy your data to a folder on your desktop.

dataNow you may ask, “why do you leave my DATA in a folder on the desktop?” Well, We respect your privacy and we don’t like to sift through your data so we leave this for you to do. It’s often a good time to do a bit of spring cleaning! We’ll happily show you how to move your data back to where you want it and in the case of a virus infection we’ll advise you on the best practice to avoid becoming infected again, obviously we can’t guarantee it won’t happen again but at least you’ll be better prepared. We’ll also install a correctly licenced version of an Anti-Virus program to help you on your way.

virus6The solution here is to remove the infection both manually and with professional software. If the system is so badly infected and a reinstallation is required, (see above for implications). The difference to our approach is that we will copy your DATA, clean data of any viruses where we can, sanitise the Hard Disc Drive, reinstall the O/S, copy your files in a folder on the desktop for you to sort.

To reiterate, your DATA privacy is important to us and we don’t like having to sift through your things but we will happily instruct you on what to do. Or, if you prefer, have you present while we move your DATA under your direct instruction.

Problems with your hardware, the physical components within your computer or laptop.

The most common of these we find are caused by over-heating.

blocked fanObviously we do come across other hardware faults such as, Hard Disc Drive beginning to fail and RAM faulty to name a few. But computers do get ‘a little dirty’ both inside and out at times. Some can look absolutely spotless from the outside but open up and you’ll be surprised what you find inside.

Computers and laptop employ fans to cool down their processors and other components and these suck in fine dust particles from the cleanest of environments. Computers are electrostatic devices and they really do attract the dirt, similar to the effect on your TV screen.

What we do is to dismantle your laptop or computer, remove the fan, clean and re-lubricate or replace if required. When we re-assemble the unit we re-paste the components that require contact to the heatsink.

so whatWhen we dismantle your computer we always clean as we go, taking care to use Electro-Static Discharge (ESD) working practices. Although a electrostatic discharge to a component doesn’t always show any obvious damage, it more often than not does at a microscopic level. Causing weakness to the components and reducing their life span or 0000001484-340worse still, causing intermittency resulting in random shutdowns or program crashes. Components affected like this are sometimes referred to as the ‘walking wounded’, in that all seems okay but put the system under strain and problems will manifest themselves.  We always use anti-static mats, bags and tools, limiting the chances of damage caused by electrostatic discharge.

[Tip] An obvious ‘clue’ to a lack of professional practice from so called computer engineers who persist in ignoring these dangers and fail to use wrist straps, anti-static mats & bags. They just handle these delicate components with a ‘laissez faire’ attitude whilst walking round the workshop.esd If you observe this, we suggest you leave with your equipment and take it elsewhere!

“Okay okay! I’m convinced, you know what you’re doing. What happens next?”

That’s up to you!

Either give us a call or drop us an email with your problem. We’ll do our best to help and if necessary arrange to visit if required. If we can effect a repair on your premises then we will, otherwise we’ll collect your Computer or Laptop to be repaired at our workshops and when done, delivered back to you.

Remember, we are always professional, always approachable, always friendly and above all, we care about your needs and your equipment.