A significant proportion of the faults we see are problems with the various Microsoft (MS) Windows operating systems – typically that a system will not boot (start) as normal or has become significantly corrupted and/or is running particularly slowly.
In these instances we will initially try to return the system to normal operation – possibly using the built in system restore utility – but we find that in a fairly high proportion of cases for Windows 10 it is necessary to reset the system and re-install the apps and for systems still running Windows 7 to perform a system rebuild.
For Windows 7 this involves saving your data – documents, pictures, music and email if saved to the machine – and then reverting the system back to factory settings either by using a restore partition installed by the manufacturer or by undertaking a ‘clean’ install using the operating system licence key that on older Windows 7 systems is usually affixed to the exterior of the machine. If there’s no sticker we can usually recover the licence key using an appropriate software utility often even if the system will not boot.
As the extended support provided by Microsoft expired some time ago we no longer undertake system rebuilds on Windows XP and Vista systems due to potential security flaws when connected to the internet.
Even if the system will not boot, unless the fault lies with the hard drive then your data will still normally be recoverable.
If the system will not operate normally then to recover your data, before any work begins we will remove the hard drive from the system, attach it to an alternative system and then copy your data to our secure network.
The system is then fully updated for all available MS Windows service packs and updates and drivers – software required for the system to function correctly.
We then re-install the applications you use – for example MS Office, Google Chrome, iTunes, Skype etc – usually from a download package or less common these days an install disk that you may have. In this instance, where appropriate, we ask that you have a valid genuine licence key for the application software you’re asking us to install. Often we can obtain the key from the system but sometimes we would need either the original install disks/packaging or an activation key that is sometimes provided by email or with MS Office from the Office account that is created as part of the activation process.
If you use a paid for security solution such as Norton this information is usually available through an account you created with them when it the package was first installed. Don’t worry if you can’t remember the password for this account – we reset the passwords on these accounts for customers on a very regular basis!
After the rebuild is complete, we simply copy your data back to your rebuilt system and where appropriate configure your email account on the system.
This process usually takes 3 to 5 working days but in some instances we can agree a shorter timescale or undertake the work over a weekend to minimise the disruption.
In most cases we then return the system to your home, connect the system to your broadband connection – either wireless or wired as necessary – and re-install any printers and any other external hardware such as a webcam.
If you are confident enough to re-connect your system to your broadband connection and re-install any printers and are willing to deliver and collect the machine from our workshop then, as it saves us site visits, we will reduce the price we normally charge.
When a system is being rebuilt, especially if it’s to resolve slow operation, we will also review how much working memory (RAM) is installed.
If we feel it’s appropriate we will recommend an increase – whilst the theorectical minimums recommended by MS are quite low, in a real world environment in order that the system runs smoothly it is necessary to fit a higher amount.
RAM is measured in gb and dependant upon how it will be used for most modern systems running Windows 7 we would normally expect a minimum of 3gb and for Windows 8 or 10 a minimum of 4gb.
Many systems already run this level of ram and in this instance the speed problems can usually be resolved by the rebuild.
As ram fitted to older systems is becoming less common and therefore more expensive, to ensure value for money sometimes we will be able to provide a lower cost upgrade by using second user ram from systems that we have disposed of for customers who have upgraded. As we know the source, this memory also carries a warranty – usually 6 months.
We will normally outline a couple of upgrade options together with our recommendation on what constitutes the most cost effective route and always obtain your authorisation before ordering any upgrade parts.
Fitting a memory upgrade is free when undertaken with any other repair job. If it’s the only job that is required then there is normally a small fitting fee which we will advise you of before undertaking the upgrade.