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Monday, August 24, 2009

Your Computer & You!

I’ve been asked this by many friends, and family members, “Why is my computer so slow?” and “How can I improve my computer system?” The simple answer is that there is no simple answer to that question. What I will do is provide some tips, tricks, and general ideas on what to search for when a problem arises with your computer. If you are looking to increase the performance of your computer (translated loosely meaning “beef-up” your computer), there are some points to consider. I’ll get to those in a little bit.

The first, and most important, point to consider is that computers do not make mistakes, humans do. It is roughly estimated that 75-80% of errors that occur on any given computer system are, by nature, the result of the operator trying to do a task that is neither possible nor practical. The other 20-25% is caused by a genuine problem. A valid example is when a person is downloading several files, uploading multiple pictures, switching back and forth from one program to another, and viewing several web pages (facebook, myspace, etc), and the computer appears to be “frozen”. This is when the operator of said computer begins to panic, and pushes all sorts of buttons on the keyboard in the hopes of “unfreezing” the computer. The infamous "control+ALT+Delete” button combination is ultimately the last resort anyone should ever try, but in recent years, that combo is frequently turning to a futile effort.

A computer may seem “frozen”, but the operator fails to realize that the computer is doing everything the operator has asked it to do; it’s just longer than normal to process all the tasks. That’s what the little blinking light is for on the front of most computer systems. It is there to signal the user that the processor and the hard drive are processing the information, tasks, and other calculations. My best example of this is when my mother tries to put on too many pictures in a single email message. Eventually what happens isn’t surprising as the computer seemingly “locks up”. After several minutes, the computer resumes a somewhat normal operation mode.

Another prime example is how a person might perceive a problem like an error. The first idea that pops into the average person’s mind is that there must be a problem with the program itself. In this case, let’s say a person decides to double click on a program icon, and nothing happens. The operator waits patiently (usually gives about 30 seconds or so), and tries again. This time, they receive a message that there was an “access violation” and that the program was terminated. That person may ask “Why?” The answer should be apparent, since the program was being loaded; it was just taking longer than usual. When it failed to load as quickly as the operator expected, the operator tried again and got an error, because the computer can’t access the same program twice, unless it was designed (or programmed) that way.

All of that aside, here are some tips that I’ve found to be quite useful when dealing with a computer that is “slow-going” or has multiple problems popping up. Admittedly, some of these tips I don’t follow as often as I would like, but they are useful nonetheless.


**NOTE**

I have based these tips on my experience using a Windows-based operating system such as Windows XP, Vista, 2k, etc. Refer to your operating system’s user manual for their equivalents.


1) Scan your drive for errors – This should go without saying. An error on your hard drive could be potentially hazardous to the data collected. This means any pictures, music, or other files not mentioned here could be at risk for corruption. Do this frequently. A good rule of thumb is to scan once a week.

2) Use Disk Cleanup often – After scanning your drive for errors, see if you can free up disk space by using this simple tool. It detects things like Temporary Setup Files, Temporary Internet Files, etc. If you are finding that you are running out of disk space, try using this tool first before deleting your own files.

3) Delete files that are unnecessaryWARNING: DO NOT delete ANY folder/file that could be used in a program or for the operating system as a whole. If you do, it can be VERY VERY bad. There’s no other way to describe it. With that said, you’ll want to delete files that have become unnecessary to keep, i.e. that important project you’ve already completed on Microsoft Word and have turned in, or some large video files that you’ve probably not viewed in months. A good practice is that if you haven’t viewed the file in over 3 months, it’s time to get rid of it. Also, if you click Delete using a Windows or Mac system, chances are it has ended up in either what’s called the “Recycle Bin” or “Trash” (Windows or Mac respectively). This means that what you’ve deleted hasn’t completely been erased. If you are positive about deleting an item, make sure this is emptied. I don’t know what the key command is for Mac systems, but right-clicking on Recycle Bin allows you the option to “Empty” its contents.

4) Use DEFRAG – Free space issues can be resolved by simply defragmenting your hard disk. It will position everything on the physical hard disk so that your files are stored at the “front” of the disk, rather than being “scattered” all over the place. This is also useful, because the computer’s processor, memory, and the hard disk itself won’t have to take forever to look up a file. Think of as a parking lot, and all the cars are parked in various spaces throughout the lot. This tool is the equivalent of a tow truck, but instead of towing the car off the lot, it’s simply moved so that all of the cars are parked in a more confined area, leaving more open space for new cars and trucks to park.

5) Use Anti-Virus programs – This probably is the most underused point you’ll ever read. No matter how many times this tip is viewed on any given site or forum, it has largely gone ignored. Fellow computer techs will agree with me when I say that a good practice to get into is to scan your hard disk at least once a week. Viruses (aka Virii, which is an unofficial plural for virus) can do nasty things to computers, and should be taken seriously, regardless of the severity of the virus, if one is detected. Make sure your anti-virus program is up-to-date with the latest updates possible.

6) Use Anti-Spyware/Adware programs – Just like anti-virus programs, these can also be useful when detecting “cookies” that are slowing down your browser’s ability to look up websites, pages, etc, and getting rid of them. There is no official tip on this, but my own rule of thumb is to run this scanner at least twice a week, if not more. As with the anti-virus program, make sure your anti-spyware/adware software is also updated regularly.

7) Shutting down your computer – While there is much debate over this tip, I personally recommend shutting down your computer at least once weekly or every other week. One of the points in this debate is the fact that the computer has built-in heat absorption technologies, i.e. cooling fans, heat-sinks, thermal absorbers, etc. What these items SHOULD do is keep your computer running cool. However, without these items installed, a computer can run very hot. Just like a car, it can overheat, even with the radiator operating with coolant and water. And just like a car that overheats, a good 30-minute shutdown will do wonders.  There are going to be problems that arise which, no matter what we do, are not going away easily. For this kind of problem, sometimes the only thing we can do is shut everything down, wait a minute, and turn the computer back on. The only explanation I can think of for this tip is that the computer resets all connections, puts files back in order, reorganizes resources, and reorganizes the pagefile ready to begin another session.

8) Use cooling systems – This tip ties in with the last. Unless you have custom built your own system, most computers available at retailers are “stock” computer systems. What this means is that your computer has been built with basic operating components. No frills, no thrills, no bells or whistles. This also means that the manufacturer has given the system only basic means to which it can be cooled. Usually, this will consist of a heat-sink or a fan for the CPU (sometimes both), and a fan for the power supply. Many retailers, especially online retailers like Tigerdirect.com and Newegg.com, sell many different cooling fans and other devices to help keep your system running cool. A system that runs cool will run efficiently.

9) Use registry cleaning software – Just like any other aspect of efficiency, registry cleaning is also important. Remember that parking lot analogy? This would also apply for the Windows Registry as well. Every file and program used on Windows is registered, and if there are registry entries for programs and files that no longer exist, your computer is going to be busy looking for something that isn’t there.

10) Uninstall unnecessary programs – Just like deleting files that have outlived their usefulness, this also applies to programs you may not use any longer. This would be games, applications, and other software that you might have installed. Depending on the software manufacturer’s instructions, it would be recommended to use the software’s own uninstaller program first. If none exists, then you may use the Add/Remove programs feature in the Windows Control Panel.

11) Backup files – This is an optional item, but I highly recommend it. If there are files you need to get rid of, but are afraid you may need them later on, BACKUP BACKUP BACKUP! If you have a CD-Recordable drive, any blank 80min/700MB CD-R disc can be used to backup your data (it would probably be better if it were a CD-RW). Other media can include external hard drives (growing increasingly popular and can sustain an entire hard drive), USB drives (usually anywhere between 1-32GB), etc. DVD-R discs are also good if you have a DVD-recordable drive. Like CDs, DVD-RW would probably be more suitable.

12) Registry hacking – Not particularly recommended, but this can be useful. I strongly discourage this option if you are a beginner to intermediate user of Windows. Registry hacking is like performing surgery, instructions must be performed PERFECTLY! Using search engines, you could find some useful registry hacks. Again, I strongly discourage it unless you know what you are doing.

13) Temporary Internet Files settings – I personally recommend setting this to “Every Visit to the Page” and setting the size to something equivalent to your installed RAM. Mine is set to 128MB, but a good setting would be 256MB. However, the larger the size, the more time it will take to load a webpage.

14) Use MSCONFIG – I don’t know about Windows Vista or newer, but MSCONFIG can help in a number of ways. One way in particular is to decrease the number of startup programs when Windows loads up. There are plenty of articles on how to do this, so I won’t get into it too much. Needless to say, the fewer programs you have starting up in the background (and continually running), the more you will see an improvement in performance. A quick side note, startup programs (those little icons you might see at the lower right corner of your screen) are mostly a feature for those of us too lazy to double-click an icon.

15) PAGEFILE sizes – The pagefile serves as virtual memory for the computer to supplement the installed RAM. Let’s say you have 256MB RAM, and the pagefile is set to 768MB on Drive C. This means that on top of the 256MB RAM, Windows will use 768MB of hard disk space as memory as well. After much research, my recommendation would be to set the minimum file size to 1.5 times your installed RAM, and the maximum size should be set to 3 times your installed RAM, e.g. your installed RAM is 512MB, so the minimum should be 768MB. A word of caution: setting the pagefile to a size ridiculously large or similarly too small will severely impact performance.

16) Use a firewall - Firewalls are good, especially with the threat of hackers using various means of gaining access to your computer. They can also be bad when you are unable to connect to the internet. For most average computer users, the default settings are usually sufficient in protecting your computer. Keep it that way. The last thing anyone should try is to mess around with the settings.

17) Avoid potentially risky websites – Hackers love to put up sites that mimic sites that you probably visit frequently. Be wary, be on your guard, and most importantly, if it looks and smells weird, chances are you’ve been duped. Look for things that are obvious signs of fraudulency, i.e. words misspelled, and links that are not affiliated with the site, etc. Any internet security advisor will tell us that hackers like to prey on individuals who aren’t careful, are easily scared off, and are easily manipulated into believing what they see.

18) Avoid opening odd emails – We’ve all seen them, and at some point or another, we’ve all opened them. I’m talking about emails that look like they are from friends, but are not. Some emails are obvious ploys to get you to click a link that asks for your information like your name, address, phone number, etc. Those are emails that, I hope, we can all spot from 10 miles away without even breaking a sweat. There are some, however, that are really clever in tricking people. Some of the more infamous ones have been about U.S. soldiers who either died, are dying, or have loved ones in need, and are asking you for money. There are some emails going around that are from individuals pretending to be charitable organizations, even ones we all know, asking for your financial help. Exercise caution when reviewing an email from someone you do not know.

19) Avoid downloading suspicious files – This kind of goes without saying, but it’s still worth noting. If you receive an email, even from a friend or relative, and the file attached looks odd, DO NOT download it! Unless you fully trust the person sending you the file, it’s best to leave it be, and delete it. Most anti-virus programs available can scan the file as it is downloading, so you shouldn’t worry too much. However, if it detects a virus, immediately quarantine and delete the file. It is also a good idea to let your friend or relative know, BY PHONE, to check their systems as well to make sure they’ve not had a computer infection.

20) Install more RAM – The installed RAM on a factory-built PC can be very limited at best, and even worse it’s often not enough to play some of the more popular games out on the market today. If you have a PC with 512MB RAM or lower, you have some choices to make. This option will increase performance of a system in a variety of ways, but primarily it will help relieve the processor from having to be limited to what processes can be completed based on RAM. While this option may not be cost effective in the short-term, it can be considered “long-term” relief of problems related to sluggishness of a computer system. Most PCs today are being built with well over that minimum, some even up to 4GB (that’s Gigabyte) of RAM, which is mind-boggling to me. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the amount of memory some small computer systems are built with. Depending on your system, and manufacturer guidelines, you may be able to install up to 2GB RAM. Refer to your system’s manual or user guide for information on that.

21) Install a newer hard disk drive – While I’m not entirely sure how this helps, I do know that a newer and bigger capacity hard disk can help with the virtual memory (or pagefile) end of things. It is also helpful to get a hard disk drive that is 7200rpm or better. I know from experience that drives with 5400rpm are deficient when it comes to performance, but are cost-effective in the longer run. With a 7200rpm drive, the computer can access hard drive data much faster, and will process information to RAM and the CPU in a much more efficient way.

22) Install a 3rd Party Video Card – Many computer systems available today have what is called “built-in” video adapters. What this means is that the video feed coming from your PC to your computer monitor is generated without the use of a “card” inside your computer. This is both a good thing, and a bad thing, and mostly a bad thing. The good part about it is that when you buy a PC, it can be plugged in, and ready to be used right away, no messing around with taking apart the PC to install something you may not need. However, and this is where the downside is (in my view), “onboard” video adapters (as they are commonly called), “share” the computer’s installed RAM in order to function. In other words, a PC may have 1024MB RAM, but what Windows is actually using is more like 1008MB RAM. This is because the onboard video adapter is using 16MB RAM to generate video (and the computer’s performance is impacted severely). Installing a third-party video card with its own onboard installed RAM (say 256MB or better) may not be cost-effective, like installing more of your computer’s RAM; it can be helpful in the long-term.

23) Install the latest drivers – Another overused, but understated message from techs everywhere. Always check to make sure every device driver is up-to-date for things like your printer, video adapter, sound drivers, etc. Many problems can be resolved simply by using a more updated driver. If you are unsure of how to get the newest drivers for your computer, refer to your computer user guide, or call the manufacturer tech support desk for more information. If you are using a custom-built computer, then you should be able to go to each device’s manufacturer website and download the driver from there.

24) Windows Update – Some might call Microsoft some sort of evil empire bent on world domination through the public’s use of Windows operating systems, and while that may be true, we still use Windows-based systems (for the most part), and we will also need to stay updated with the latest service packs, critical updates, hotfixes, etc. For that reason, Windows Update is your friend. Use it often. There may be a fix to a problem that you are having through an update here.

25) Avoid Static Electricity – A fried computer system is no laughing matter, especially when so many of us use one to collect photos, save important documents, and other fine items. Sometimes, even our emails are most precious to us. However, it can all be gone in an instant if the slightest ZAP makes contact with your computer. Does this mean you should wear an anti-static wrist strap or be sitting on a chair that sits on an anti-static mat? No, of course not, but there are precautions you can take to eliminate the threat of static-electricity making contact with ANY computer system or computer peripheral. First, make sure you are grounded. Touch any object that does NOT conduct electricity first before touching any computer part. Second, if it can be achieved, use a chairmat. This will eliminate your feet from building up a static charge. Lastly, avoid contact with others who have built up a static charge. If they can pass it on to you, you can pass it on to your computer.

26) Use Surge Protectors and UPS systems – No, a UPS system is not the same as the shipping company UPS. It stands for Uninterruptable Power Supply, and yes, it is expensive, but even more expensive is replacing a computer system altogether, and the information stored on a computer system is almost irreplaceable. A UPS system will ensure continued operation of your PC in the event of a power outage, giving you time to shut down your PC for the duration of that outage. A good alternative is to A) use Surge Protection power strips, and B) during a storm, SHUT DOWN your PC.

27) NEVER plug or unplug a cord or device from a PC while powered ON – I know this is a much over-stated tip, but it’s still never a good idea to unplug or plug any cord or device attached to the computer system while it’s still on, unless it’s “hot-swappable” like FireWire or USB. If you do, it can cause a short ZAP in the outlet or port that it’s plugged into. Remember what we said about ZAPs? They can be bad, and in some cases, it can permanently damage a PC beyond repair. So, the bottom line remains, DO NOT unplug or plug a device, cord, or anything else for that matter. This is especially true for the power cord.

28) Save your Software – SYS (Save Your Software) is a lot like SOS in the sense that you might need it later on. An example would be if you intend on wiping your computer clean for a quick sale, or if you are like me, and you just want a fresh start to when your computer was first opened out of the box, you’ll want the “Restore CD” to revert the system back to factory defaults. Being a pack-rat for computer discs (and disks) can be extremely helpful, especially when you keep your Windows CD-ROM disc.

29) Stay organized – Computer techs everywhere agree that an unorganized hard drive creates difficulty when it comes to fixing a problem. The “My Documents” folder is offered by Windows to allow for your “work-in-progress” documents and other projects to be stored in a single location, rather than scattered all over your hard disk. If you must put files somewhere else, maybe for security purposes, or you have some sort of disagreement with a boyfriend, girlfriend, jealous wife or husband, or just some nosy kids, create a TEMP folder off the root drive directory, and store your files there for short term storage. If you are really that concerned about your files being seen, get a USB drive. They are cost-effective alternatives.

30) Try a newer piece of hardware – A lot of times, I’ve been in a situation where everything I’ve tried has simply been unsuccessful. My best example is when my CDROM drive no longer wanted to read discs. I tried cleaning the discs, tried using known good discs (scratch-free and clean), and I’ve tried reinstalling drivers for the CDROM, but still had no success in fixing the problem. Finally, after much frustration, it came down to either replacing the IDE cable inside the computer or the CDROM, and it turned out to be the CDROM drive itself that became unsalvageable. There are two schools of thought on how one proceeds with this. The first school of thought is to try the malfunctioning device, peripheral, or computer part on another computer. I like this idea, but it has obvious flaws. One of those flaws is that the other computer may have issues capable of further damaging the part, peripheral, or the device in question. Another school of thought revolves around the idea of using a spare of the part, peripheral, or device that is malfunctioning. An obvious problem with that is the fact that not everyone has spares, nor can they be afforded at times. So, my personal advice, TRY BOTH! Here’s how I do it: A) I try the device, part, or peripheral on another computer, B) if said item works on another computer, but not mine, I go to my plan B which involves using a spare, if I have one. C) If neither plan works (nor can’t be done for obvious reasons), then I go inside my own computer and replace the IDE cable. You’re probably asking what happens if none of that resolves the problem. Well, in that particular instance, there’s really nothing you can do, except replace the entire PC. Any tech will tell you that trying the device, part, or peripheral on another system, or trying the same, but newer item on your PC is a good troubleshooting technique. This is especially true if you are coming across errors related to that item.


The tips above should be used only as a guideline, and not to be used as a substitute for a professional computer technician who is trained to service and repair problems related to your system. Always check your user manual, guides for specific details (if possible), and websites for the latest information. If there is a problem that these tips haven’t been able to cover, I suggest the following avenues for help:

1) Manufacturer websites – Probably the best sources for issues related to your computer system, or a specific computer peripheral device.

2) Online Forums – Many sites out on the web have forums for problems that come up with computer. Check them, and check often. Your issue may be posted. Alternatively, you may post your problem to an online forum, and receive feedback on possible solutions based on what information you provide. You may be asked for basic information such as the computer make, model, installed RAM, Operating System, etc etc. Provide as much detail as possible so that other online forum posters can provide the best possible solution. My personal side note to this is don’t use only one of the solutions posted, try each one until you get a resolution.

3) Use Search Engines – A good deal of my experience with repairing computer systems has come from the use of search engines. Usually I type a few keywords in, say “Error 455” and I get, literally, thousands of results. It is best to tie-in your error to a specific device or computer system, i.e. “Error 455 Compaq Presario” This will narrow down your search considerably.

4) Friends & Family – Sometimes a friend or a family member may have had the same problem as you. Check to see if they’ve run into the same issue, and see what resolved it. This is where the “Remote Assistance” feature can be very useful for those who use Windows XP or newer, which allows a trusted friend or family member to remotely access your PC, with your permission, and see what you’re seeing, and even (again, with your permission) take control of your PC to further investigate the problem.

5) Tech Support – As much as I hate to admit it, tech support (in my opinion) can be useful in a variety of ways. As a former technical support specialist for a large company, I can say with certainty that not all techs are useless sheep reading off a script. It is rare, but while walking through a procedure (that I’m sure we’ve all done by the time we call, anyway), a technical support agent can come across a solution that may or may not work, and if not, it can be thoroughly documented. I’d keep this to a “very last resort” status.


Most of the time when we call technical support we dread it, not for the whole ordeal of explaining our problem, but because we usually get someone with a language barrier. It’s easy to get frustrated, and while our views on the overseas workforce differ from person to person, just remember, these people are trying to help. I’ve known and worked with great techs who, admittedly, were a little hard to understand, but are absolutely brilliant technical minds. In their defense, some of them have been very impressive in their work. That being said, here are some general tips for when you decide you want to use that “very last resort” life-line:


A) Take 10 – One of the chief complaints of techs everywhere is that people call when they are angry or frustrated, and usually have taken it out on the techs themselves for no good reason. Before calling, take a moment to breathe calmly, take inventory of what you have already done, the steps you’ve tried, and what the outcome has been. Document everything, including the error (if one is present), and everything you did before the problem occurred. Above all, take a 10-minute break and walk away from the computer. It will do you some good to relieve the tension. The tech will thank you for it.

B) Be Clear and Concise – No offense to anyone who has ever called a support line, whether it was customer service, billing, tech support, etc, but please, when calling, be concise. In other words, get to the point. Don’t tell us about your life story, and how your dog was run over, and that your kids haven’t been the same since, and now the computer is a mess since your troubled kid got on it. We really don’t need that information to do our job. Focus on what the issue is, what happened when it occurred, etc. Also, be clear when giving details.  Again, no offense, but it helps a lot when you are in an area that isn't flooded with a bunch of background noise.

C) Be Honest – A tech will help you as best he or she can, but if you are lying to them, it’s only going to make the issue perpetuate. Be honest about how the issue came to be. Saying something like “It just did it by itself” is not an acceptable answer. By now, we should all know that computers don’t do anything without the user’s input. We’re not in a courtroom, what you say is NOT going to be used against you, and your conversation with the tech is kept confidential, so if you did go to that porn site, come clean, get it over with, and let us do our job as techs.

D) Be Respectful – Another complaint from us techs is that some callers often verbally abuse those who answer the phones. Whether warranted or not, it’s still rude and very inappropriate. Remember, techs are people who have feelings, too. Insults and other inappropriate comments are not well-tolerated, and most companies I’ve worked for have policies in place where an agent is allowed to discontinue the call with or without notice, and in some cases, the caller is instructed not to call again. With some minor exceptions, we (us techs) really do want to help you, the caller. That is what we get paid for, and that’s what we’re going to do.

E) Be Reasonable – Asking the impossible is simply over our heads, even for supervisors. If you are calling with the intention to ask us to do something that isn’t possible, you’re going to have a really bad experience on the phone, regardless of what the tech says or does to try to alleviate the problem. I could go on with stories of client callers who asked me to perform nothing short of a miracle, but I won’t. Bottom line, if your request is beyond the capability of even supervisor-level authority, you are better off with a compromise. In other words, we can’t just magically fix a problem without some sort of effort on your part, and at the very least, we can offer alternative methods, and yes, even a compromise.

F) Listen Carefully – Sometimes the worst part about being a tech is when average individuals pay no attention to our instructions. There are two main reasons why we ask you to perform tasks to solve a problem, even if you’ve already done those tasks. First, we want to make sure the steps are performed in an orderly fashion to rule out certain aspects of an issue. Secondly, we also want time to research the problem so that we don’t have to put you on hold and ask for help. We would rather that be OUR last resort.

G) Be Prepared – A solution to a problem may not always be covered in one phone call to tech support. Sometimes we will need to refer you to another resource. Again, the stories are endless. If we cannot help you on our end, we will provide you with information on resources that may or may not be helpful. Some information might be websites, phone numbers to another support desk, etc. Or we may have to (in some cases) send out a technician to either your home (if appropriate) or place of business to further investigate the problem and evaluate potential solutions, and we will give you a ticket or service number for reference. Be ready to write this information down so that you have a reference point. Also, if you feel the need to, write down the agent’s name and the date so you know who you spoke to with regards to your issue. Lastly, have any software CDs and other disks handy when calling. The computer tech advisor may have you reinstall a device, the software for it, or a patch that may be on the CD itself may need to be installed. Whatever the reason, be sure that you have these disks and other CDs ready to be used if asked.

H) Ask Relevant Questions – An annoyance of us techs is the fact that some callers might ask questions that have no bearing on the issue at hand. We don’t mind questions, and in fact, we value them, because we can provide good information, provided they are relevant. In other words, asking “Will I be charged for updates to my [product name]?” is relevant, but asking about prices on market items that we might suggest is not. We don’t answer billing questions, nor are we sales agents. If your matter is outside the technical arena, we will refer you to another number for those questions, and in some cases, we’ll offer to transfer you to that other department after we are done addressing your issue. Also, asking about a device unrelated to the issue at hand is ok, but we would rather save that for after the problem has been resolved, or at the least addressed in some way.

I) Be Present at the computer system – Nothing is more annoying for a tech when a call comes in from a consumer who isn’t anywhere near their computer system. We understand this happens, but it happens more times than we care to like. For this reason, and if it can be helped, try to be present at your computer. We want to know if the possible solutions work or not, and if you are not at your PC, it can be difficult to determine what could be causing your issue to occur. If you are unable to be at your PC for reasons that you may or may not want to share, we will ask you to write down steps to try, and to document the outcome so that when you call back, with a reference number of some kind and at your PC, we can further assist you more effectively.


Whether you need general help with a computer such as a “How-to” question, or if it’s something more complex like an error with a program or a peripheral device, or maybe something else in between, it is important to remember that these tips are provided as a general set of instructions. My best advice is to approach each and every problem, big or small, with an objective attitude, an open mind, and lots of patience. Remember, if a problem can be resolved without buying a new product, then you’ve saved yourself both time and money. And with how our current economy is going these days, it never hurts to try a few tips to give your computer a boost in the efficiency department.

Have a question related to computers that you are having trouble with?  Email me @ Halfblind79@gmail.com, and I'll do my best to cover that topic in my next blog.