The vast majority of people never think about updating the firmware on their home routers. For ordinary users the best brand to buy is Netgear because the routers can be setup to auto-update at the time of installation.
Retail support for Windows 7 is ending in January 2020. This means that your Windows 7 computer will no longer receive security updates from Microsoft. It does not mean that your computer will stop functioning in January. So if you want to keep using your computer just as you are then there is nothing for you to do.
However, there may be advantages to upgrading Windows systems, Windows 7 and older. No payment to Microsoft is required to upgrade if you are upgrading a system with a valid Windows license. With very old Windows OSs you might run into incompatibilities with modern websites and software. If you are willing to deal with slow performance, upgrading can allow an old computer to surf modern websites. The laptop pictured originally had Windows Vista (circa ’06 – ’09) installed and it accepted Windows 10 quite well even though it does run slowly.
Before doing the upgrade there are some caveats, the first being that since we are working with old hardware the customer has to accept the possibility that hardware failure could occur at any time after a successful upgrade. The second is that the upgrade might fail due to incompatible drivers, etc. In this instance I would quit the installation, reinstall with the original OS, and return it to the customer. For almost all computers running Windows 7 the upgrade is encouraged and can happen smoothly. For older computers (Windows XP/Vista) I would ask the customer to name a specific task that they can’t do now. So that a successful upgrade could be tested and verified.
Next time you are having computer problems before you pack the computer into the car contact me first. I offer free preliminary troubleshooting by phone. I work exclusively on-site at your home or business. During the time that the computer is being driven across town, vibration and the risk of dropping the computer can cause greater harm than your original problem. A technician at the computer store is also limited to troubleshooting a computer as a standalone object.
If you are having trouble printing are you going to pack the computer and the printer and all of the cables to the store? You don’t have to do that! With any problem that involves more than one device it’s always better to leave everything in place as it is and allow me to see the problem in exactly the same way that you the customer see it.
Tracking down an intermittent problem is a classic example. Your Internet goes through periods of being unreliable. You first call your service provider and they swear that the service coming into your house is 100% working. Then you take the computer to a friend’s house and it works fine over there too. It can be worse than catching a ghost! I have the capability of verifying every component from your ISP’s modem through the cables you use (or WiFi) to the router and to your computer.
These are a couple of brand new homemade ethernet cables. It is the kind of cable you use to connect a computer to a router. I used one cable out of my truck stock and left it with a customer when I was connecting their printer, so I made a couple more.
I recently helped a lady, Vanessa(not her real name), who was having difficulty with her home Internet service going in and out. At the time Vanessa didn’t know whether the problem was her computer or her Internet provider. I called Vanessa and listened to the symptoms she was experiencing and gave her some suggestions on how to troubleshoot the problem.
Then about two weeks later Vanessa calls me and we talk about what she has discovered. The information she has confirms to me that the problem is indeed with her Internet provider and not her computer. So I give her more advice about how to work with customer service to get the best result.
In this instance, it wasn’t neccessary for me to ever go to her house. All Vanessa needed was some direction and advice about how to test her own Internet service and I didn’t charge her for the help.
I’d like to offer this same service to everyone. If you have a question or want advice about any problem you’re having I am available as a source of information. Contact me via the links below.
What time is the most convenient for you? I maintain regular hours from 8:00AM to 8:00PM so that I’m available after work … after sports practice … after homework is finished. I’m available to help fix your computer problem.
How many times has your computer not been working properly and you call for help from a friend named Jason. Jason comes over, spends a couple of hours working on it and leaves saying that it’s been fixed. When he leaves you go and check on the computer and it seems to be working much better. Even though this arrangement will work many times, I think there is a better way. If you are paying money for a service the customer deserves a detailed explanation of the work completed.
In the attached photo the work orders on the left has space to write a description of the problem and below that space for a description of the resolution. The most satisfying work orders I do are ones where there is a defined problem and when I leave there is a defined resolution that fixes the issue. A vague description such as “The computer is running slowly” can have many causes but when I leave it is my goal to find the specific problem and write that clearly on the work order. On the right of the photo is a page of my notes from a past work order. I write notes minute by minute as events happen, so that I can explain what I did and when.
I would also like to say that all of the work I do is guaranteed. That means the customer never pays if I am unable to fix the described problem while I am on site. If the same issue returns within 30 days after I leave I’ll come back at no charge.
I helped a retired veteran clean a virus from his computer. The work order proved interesting because completing the repair required a multi-step process to remove the virus and put the PC back online.
My preliminary testing proved to me that there was more going on than just a simple problem like a disconnected cable. The next step, running a virus scan, proved successful. One of the thumb drive virus scan tools I carry with me discovered and removed one virus. Removing the virus, however, did not fix the damage caused. The computer still could not connect online.
I downloaded fresh network drivers and attempted to install them, but received an error that various Windows services were unavailable or disabled. I tracked down what was necessary re-enable these services then I was able to successfully install fresh drivers and connect to the Internet.
If this sounds familiar, inability to connect the Internet, strange errors, or messages saying that Windows services are disabled. Email me at eric at ericbrake dot ws I would be happy to help you. Hire me directly and don’t pay a premium to a service company!