Dell and HP are some of our favorite laptops to work on because of how easy the systems are to repair and their customer service is awesome! If you can get past the language barrier that is. Plus their support sites have just about every piece of information and software readily available for download. We worked on this Dell Inspiron 1440 which would not boot. Have you ever seen a computer boot up to a white blinking cursor? Nasty stuff right? No safe mode, no command prompt, no system restore, nothing.
First thing we think about is the data sitting on the drive and whether or not it is recoverable. Fortunately, we were able to back up all of the data sitting on the drive. The backup took nearly 15 hours combined. The drive was near death and the read / write speeds were terrible. We were finally able to backup the clients movies, music, pictures, documents, and everything else important. We performed the backup by pulling out the Western Digital hard drive and plugging it into a USB to IDE / SATA adapter. This tool is so important and makes life much easier when trying to get at information sitting on a drive. Simply plug in the old hard drive to the device, plug the device into a known working computer and within seconds you will have full access to the drive and can copy the files. Once you have the files in a safe spot you can play around with the old drive all you want. Ideally, everyone should already have a backup of their data but they don’t.
The problem we have seen recently with repairing newer laptops and desktops is the manufacturers not providing restorations discs for the computers. Manufacturers are putting the restoration software on secondary partitions on the drives which is fine until the drive completely fails; then what? Users rarely use the Restoration Disc creator software to burn the media onto disc before computers dies. If you are in need of restoration discs try calling your computer manufacturer to get a hold of them. In most cases the registered user can call up the manufacturer and demand they mail them a copy of the restoration discs free of charge. We called Dell and ask them to provide the discs but they needed us to provide the registered owners name, mailing address and phone number. This laptop has swapped hands a couple times but we were able to eventually track down all of the required information and one business day later we had the software in hand from Dell.
We ran several hard drive diagnostic tools and were not able to save the drive itself. Fortunately, hard drives are reasonably priced and it’s always cheaper to buy a new drive than to have the old drive physically repaired. We replaced the dead drive with a brand new one, restored the operating system (Windows 7), and restored the previously backed up personal files. The laptop is now ready to be returned to the owner. We are sure they will be happy with the system; it is better than new now!
Hot, Hot, Hot. A client’s HP Probook 6555b loaded with a 2.8GHz AMD Phenom II X2 N620 Dual-Core Mobile processor was shutting down while playing World of Warcraft. Actually, it didn’t really matter which game was being played. If the laptop was doing anything intense the machine would heat up and after time instantly power off. The experience was exactly like holding down the power button for 5 seconds; instant off. Ouch! What a pain it caused if right in the middle of something important and not being able to save first.
We used Core Temp to figure out what was happening. This is a free application which allows us to monitor the heat changes of a processor. We found the processor was spiking to almost 99° Celsius. OK, all you math wizards out there… what does this convert to Fahrenheit? That’s right 210°! Now that is HOT! Typically a laptop processor should remain somewhere between 50-65° C which is 122-149° F doing absolutely nothing. The temperatures may spike to 75° C maximum while working out.
Laptops as well as desktops have safety features built in which prevent the melting of your CPU. Many times the setting can be found in the BIOS. In this scenario the BIOS prevented the laptop CPU from failing due to intense heat by powering off the computer. We were able to determine the issue after pulling apart the system. Turns out the CPU/GPU Fan was not spinning fast enough. Once we replaced the fan we started seeing normal temperatures like those in the picture to the right. Usually failing fans give off hints like changes in noise. The pitches in the fan get high and low or even make grinding sounds bu this time everything sounded normal.
Keeping your PC free from dust and air cooled will help prolong the life of your processor. Fortunately the fan replacement cost was minimal in comparrison to a new processor or motherboard.
What’s the temperature of your PC?
Sometimes a dead computer can be fixed for as little as $50. Every computer in the world has a power supply. The power supply provides power to the motherboard and all other internal components such as processors, memory, fans, and hard drives. Typically power supplies come with a 3 year manufacturer warranty but usually last between 4-6 years. In Arizona we have seen that life expectancy be even lower. It seems like 3-5 years is more common. Maybe due to more dust? Who knows? Many factors need to be considered but this is a rough guess. It really all boils down to run time hours. Manufacturers give an estimated hour life expectancy on their power supplies some at 500,000+ hours some are in the millions. Point being…the more you have your computer powered on the faster it will die.
There are several symptoms to know if your power supply has failed or is starting to fail.
- Computer does not power on after you push the power button.
- Computer flashes a steady amber or green light after the power button is pushed.
- Computer powers on for 10-15 seconds then powers off.
- Computer randomly shuts down, reboots, or freezes.
- Power supply indicator light (on back) is not green while plugged into a known working power outlet.
We have been repairing so many computers that have dead power supplies. If you have the guts to pop open the case of your computer you can find the power supply typically at the top back position of the case. The big cable you plug into your wall outlet plugs directly into the power supply. It’s generally the biggest component inside of the case and is a big black or silver box. On the outside of the case you will see four phillips head screws on the outer edges. Pop out those 4 screws, unplug power supply cables from inside of the case and it should pop right out. Put in the new power supply, replace cables and screws and you are back in business.
Power supplies run anywhere from $50 to $150+. We need to be onsite to make this repair and are able to serve the entire United States. If you want to give it a shot yourself we will walk you through it over the phone or provide some helpful online step-by-step videos if you have another computer to view them from. We have seen several power supply replacement jobs in Goodyear, Avondale, Peoria, and Glendale Arizona. Most recently we visited Real Living Property For You. The receptionist PC was not powering on and we new right away what the problem was. We had a brand new 450W power supply in hand and installed it. The install took about 5 minutes and the computer was powered back on and running in no time.
What other symptoms have you seen with a bad power supply?
Want to uplift your computer right away without having to shell out a massive amount of money? The best thing you can do to instantly see a performance increase in your PC is to upgrade its memory. RAM plays a huge part in the responsiveness of your computer. Everything your computer processes relies on the amount of memory your system has; why not max it out? This is like buying the super-unleaded gas for your car versus buying the cheapest unleaded possible. You’ll see a noticeable different instantly.
Each type of computer motherboard has a memory limitation as well as the version of your operating system. Many consumer grade systems today have the ability to max the memory out at 4GB, 8GB or more of RAM. How much do you have? These systems typically have two or four slots available for your system memory. Whether you run on a laptop or a desktop, more than likely you are NOT maxed out. Computer manufactures typically sell you a system with the least amount of RAM possible. At first your computer runs super fast but as you add more and more programs that run hidden in the background the system slows down. Going back to the manufacturer to complain about slowness is what they hope you do. They will upgrade your RAM to fix the problem but it will come at a great expense.
Depending on the type of operating system you may also be limited. 32-bit operating systems like x86 versions of Windows XP can only utilize 3GB of RAM, while Windows Vista x64 or Windows 7 x64 can handle anywhere from 4GB to 192GB of RAM. I recommend that Windows XP systems run with a bare minimum of 2GB’s of RAM. Windows Vista and Windows 7 users should have a bare minimum of 3GB.
What happens if you don’t have enough RAM? Windows XP sitting idle with nothing else running in the background will use 500+MB of RAM. Windows Vista and Windows 7 will usually sit idle at 1GB+. Keep in mind this is just sitting idle, doing absolutely nothing. Each time you open a program or a web site you are using more and more RAM. Your operating system will recognize you do not have enough RAM and temporarily store your programs in what is called a page file. This file sits on your hard drive and is accessed like your memory but at much slower speeds. Ideally you want to have enough RAM so your page file is used as little as possible.
Upgrading your memory (RAM) is the way to go! It instantly speeds up your PC and your multitasking capabilities. Find out how much RAM you have today! We have been helping our clients all around Goodyear, Avondale and Phoenix Arizona upgrade their systems to get great performance with their day-to-day tasks!
The other day a client of mine ran into a problem with Skype. The client uses the program to communicate with other businesses and residents around the country as they would using typical landlines. Skype plays an important roll within their business to generate sales, conduct conference calls and maintain client relations. The user had the latest version of Skype and have never experienced problems before. For some reason whenever they tried to use their microphone their voice got super quiet. It wouldn’t be so bad if that was the worst part; the buzz was the worst! Every time they tried to speak the buzz would drown out their voice. The buzz was well beyond a hum and was super distracting to any listener. They had been using the VOiP communication program for quite sometime without any issues before; so what now?
Playing around with just about every microphone setting possible during their troubleshooting extravaganza would not fix the problem. The client tried to change the mic boost, volume levels and audio formats. The frustration continued as nothing seemed to get them back in vocal business. They even tried adjusting the audio settings within Skype. The problem wasn’t apparent in any other software so they even tried uninstalling the software and reinstalling; to bad that didn’t fix the dang buzz rattling their heads. No, It wasn’t a cheap microphone either but testing other devices seemed to work fine. For example, the microphone built into the web cam worked fine but any microphone plugged into the mic jack seemed to offer the not so pleasant hum. The mic was part of a headset so it was obvious that there wasn’t a feedback issue of some sort, so what was causing the issue? My clients did an excellent job of troubleshooting the problem. This saved me time and them money. Once I was informed of everything that was tried the fix was easy. The fix to the problem was the SoundMAX HD Audio drivers in Windows 7. Uninstalling the driver and letting Windows automatically detect the driver for the sound device hardware was the fix to the problem.
Typically I don’t recommend using Microsoft authored drivers when the manufacturer has a more recent ones available. With SoundMAX it wasn’t that simple so allowing Microsoft to control the driver was a quick and simple solution. I found it strange that the driver only caused issues within Skype and no other communication software or within any sound recording software. I did find out that the re-installation of the SoundMAX driver was able to replicate the issue though.
Kudos to my clients of whom I am proud! Troubleshooting the problem as far as they did was most impressive. When all else fails call iNFLUXPC! We’ll take care of those frustrating issues that slow down your business!
It is crazy that 43% of all computer users experience data loss per year! When I ask people, “What are you doing to backup your data?” I usually get a response something along the lines of, “Oh, I don’t have anything valuable on my computer.” or “I backup to an external hard drive”. Those who think they do not have important data on their computer systems are mistaken. Sure they might not be afraid of losing their favorite links in Internet Explorer, homework files or funny videos that can always be downloaded again off the web but what about irreplaceable documents, accounting files, costly music and the priceless photos? These files should be constantly protected.
Backing up data to an external hard drive is much better than not doing a backup at all. This method is great if you could guarantee that the “disaster” happens to be a failed hard drive, corrupt data or accidental file deletion. What happens if someone breaks in to your store or home and steals your valuable computer, information and external hard drive? What about a fire? Replacing the data could be near impossible if you do not have it stored somewhere else. The other issue this method presents is the scheduling of the backup. If backups are far and few in-between then you might end up in a tight spot as well. Sometimes out-of-date files are as good as the trash in your recycle bin.
The best method to protect your priceless files is to secure them online by using online backup storage technologies. Your files can constantly and securely be copied to servers that protect your data better than you could ever protect them. With online backups you never have to worry. The files are automatically uploaded and stored with every change. We have the ability to charge only $50 per year for unlimited storage space. Are your files worth $50 per year? Don’t become one of th 43% of users who wished they would have backed up their data upon experiencing data loss.
The process is simple. We charge you $50 for the year. You install the Carbonite Online Backup Agent on your system and select the files you want to backup and you are good to go. No disaster can stop you now! Clients all around Phoenix, Glendale, Avondale and Goodyear Arizona are loving the online data solution; disaster recovery has never been easier. There is no need to buy costly backup software solutions or even dedicated backup hardware devices. Ask us for more information and we’ll get you squared away.
I am super excited to announce a new addition to our service list. Please join us in welcoming Unlimited Help Desk to iNFLUXPC. A 4000 sqft support center is located in Los Angeles. Our clients will love the instant technical support for a very low rate. Businesses of all sizes have the opportunity to take full advantage of this service. Many companies are not quite at the point in which they demand a full-time IT staff; so what do they do when they need help? Many companies call smaller IT companies like ourselves and pay high premiums to resolve their problems. This happens because the problem grow worse as time goes on. This solution allows our customers to call for anything, big or small, day or night. Calling for support often allows the upcoming big problems to turn out minor. Think of it like maintenance on a vehicle. The more often you care for a car by giving it oil changes, tire checks and baths; the less frequent you will see major problem arise.
A million jokes can be told about the communication barriers that exist between the computer user and technical support. We have eliminated this issue by keeping our support center inside of the United States. By eliminating this barrier we prove to have clear communication in addition to quick resolution times.
We offer our customers a dedicated toll free (1-800) number to contact our support center. This number does not mess around! You will be guided directly to a certified technician in under three minutes. What is that you are thinking? You say you work on all major holidays and into the late hours of the evening? While this may be a problem for your social life, this is not a problem for us! Our support center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. Try it, you might like it. We’ll fix your issue any time or any day of the year.
Frustrations can arise quickly when a customer feels like her or she is being dragged in a circle for a solution to the problem. We understand this frustration, which is why we have placed a policy to escalate you to a more knowledgeable technician if the problem isn’t resolved after seven minutes. There are very few limitations to the Help Desk service. Our technicians will reset passwords, make domain changes, setup e-mail accounts or configure printers; as long as your system is available online. They do not stop there. They have been trained to remove infections caused by viruses and malware.
The introductory pricing is set at only $25 per user per month. This is a extraordinary deal for any client. Whether it be individuals, small offices or larger corporations; this service will prove financial savings for anyone’s pocket.
Please contact us by phone if you just can’t believe your eyes!