Troubleshooting, Installations & Cleanup
Computer Running Slow?
If your computer is running slow or if certain programs don't work any longer, I can help.
I provide the following maintenance and troubleshooting services:
- Ensuring your computer's operating system and programs are updated.
- Installations of new software and devices.
- Removing obsolete or unwanted programs.
- Diagnosing computer crashes, failed programs and installations.
- Recommendations for hardware upgrades that will improve your experience.
In some cases I may recommend purchasing a new computer.
Assessing the Problem
Troubleshooting services start with an assessment of the problem followed by recommendations and solutions that work.
Routine maintenance ensures that your computer is running as smoothly as possible with current versions of your software installed and obsolete or dangerous software removed.
Onsite or In-shop
Onsite servicing is more convenient and is necessary for the setup or troubleshooting of most network-related issues.
Start by recording the information about your computer hardware and software. Here's how.
Backup Your Files
You can help speed the process by ensuring that you have a recent backup of your computer files, particularly:
- your documents, music, photos, videos and other data files;
- backups to your email program including email addresses;
- Firefox or Chrome bookmarks & Edge favorites;
- critical system files; and
- any other files that are important to you.
Locating Your Data
Note that some older programs keep their data within the program folder and most recent programs keep it either within the Documents folder for the current user or within hidden folders inside your personal area (C:\Users for Vista or later).
Software & License Numbers
You should also have these items handy:
- operating system software*;
- software program disks as well as licensed downloaded software;
- operating system and software license keys;
- your ISP setup instructions;
- any network or proprietary software and instructions; and
- user names and passwords for services requiring installation.
* Windows 10 computers don't generally come with software. You can reinstall Windows from within Windows itself.
Discovering What Went Wrong
It helps to know what you were doing when the problem occurred as well as any error messages that were displayed.
Its Not About Blame!
This is not an issue of blame. It helps to identify the possible causes of your problems and speed up recovery.
Sometimes the problem can be resolved with a selective reinstall of the program or the hardware drivers involved.
- Windows System Restore may recover your system.
- Other solutions may require looking for aberrant settings or corruption in the system files.
Is a Clean Install Needed?
In some cases I will recommend a "clean" install consisting of formatting the hard drive followed by a complete reinstallation of the operating system and apps.
By removing all files you can eradicate problems that may not be corrected by a standard reinstallation.
All corrupt and unnecessary files are deleted from your computer including any infected by a virus or malware as well as any remnants of uninstalled software.
Backups are Critical
This process will wipe all programs and data from your computer.
It is essential that you have reliable backups of at least:
- your data files (documents, photos, etc.); and
- your user files (email backups, email addresses and browser bookmarks or favorites).
If your email is retained by the server (Shaw, Telus, Gmail) it should be unnecessary to restore emails from backups, but retention of backups ensures you don't lose emails by other means.
The Restore Process
The operating system (e.g., Windows, macOS or Linux) will need to be reinstalled, then the drivers for all hardware including printers and accessories then all programs not installed with the operating system.