Russ Harvey Consulting - Computer and Internet Services

Computer Maintenance

Troubleshooting, Installations & Cleanup

Computer repair services: troubleshooting, installations and cleanup

COVID-19 Notice

Protocols have changed for on-site and other in-person services.

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

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.

Call to book an appointment!

Onsite or In-shop

These services are available either on-site (in-home or in-office) or in-shop (you can drop off your computer).

Onsite servicing is more convenient and is necessary for the setup or troubleshooting of most network-related issues.

Getting Prepared

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

Computer and related services

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.

Selective Reinstall

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.

Call to book an appointment!

 

Backup Your System

A full backup of your system is recommended prior to any servicing.

The backup will ensure that recovery is possible if your system or data files are lost. More about backup strategies.

Prepare for Disaster

Knowledge about critical files and system recovery for your operating system will assist you in preparing for potential disaster as well as keeping you from deleting or changing critical files that can lead to an operating system malfunction.

Loss Unlikely But Possible

While every effort will be made to save photos, music and other data, recovery of these files after a catastrophic failure is more difficult (and sometimes impossible).

Adds to the Cost

It also takes time to make these backups so it will add to the cost of recovery.

Hidden Files

I can back up hidden and obscure settings most users don't know about to avoid lost critical data.

Call to book an appointment!

Support Resources

 

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Updated: October 4, 2022