Posts Tagged ‘system restore’

Geek Housecalls reveals an easy trick that could save you a small fortune on your next computer repair

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

Here’s a simple trick to save money and aggravation the next time you have computer problemsDon’t wait!

“Don’t wait” What? That’s it?  How does that save money? In fact, what does that even mean??

fast computer repair

Acting quickly to solve computer problems can make the difference between a free ride or an expensive repair!

Okay, here’s the scoop… Pretty much on a daily basis, your computer updates itself.  Programs like Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox,  AOL, Microsoft Office, Java, Adobe Reader, Flash, and more – all sorts of programs running the gamut from games to email to photo software to antivirus,  and of course  including Microsoft Windows itself, all have built-in updaters that go online periodically and automatically download and install the latest tweaks, patches, and updates for your computer and the programs on it.

Getting the latest updates is usually a good thing and is highly recommended by geeks the world over.  These updates perform important functions like plugging security holes, enhancing functionality, and fixing bugs,  but there’s a hidden risk to updates that can cost you plenty if you wait too long to fix a problem.

system restore image

Solving computer problems can be as simple as choosing a system restore point prior tto the onset of the problem.

Let’s start with the basic premise that 80% of computer problems can be solved immediately after they first occur thanks to the built-in System Restore tool that has been a standard feature of Windows since Millennium Edition and is included in Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. I’m not going to go into detail about what System Restore is, or how it works, but suffice it to say, it is a quick, simple, and often effective first approach to solving problems ranging from virus and malware infections to driver glitches and corruption, to inexplicable errors or loss of functionality.  Mind you, System Restore is far from perfect, but for the average home pc user, it can often make the difference between a free self-repair and a costly professional repair.

But besides being aware of system restore or knowing how to use it, there is again, this matter of timing.  When you address a problem immediately (immediately by my standards being within hours or days, definitely not weeks or months), you are far more likely to see that problem simply solved as it has not had the chance to become buried under layers of updates and changes (ah yes… that’s why the explanation about automatic updates earlier!) that can complicate or even aggravate the issue making it a bigger problem than when it first occurred. As a professional geek,  I can tell you from personal experience with thousands of customer computers, that I can look at a job description and have a fair idea of how complex the issue is and how long it will take to resolve, but when I ask the customer how long they’ve had the problem and they reply “oh, a month or two” all bets are off.

So in conclusion, the lesson to take away here is that the quickest, least expensive and least aggravating, as well as voted-most-likely-to-succeed approach to take when you have a computer problem is DON’T WAIT!  Whether you plan to tackle the fix yourself or plan on hiring a professional, act within hours or at most, a day or two, and chances are your issue will be resolved more quickly, painlessly, and at minimum cost.

_______________ o ________________

WAS THIS ARTICLE HELPFUL? PLEASE SCROLL DOWN AND LEAVE A COMMENT!

_______________ o ________________

geek housecallsThis article was written by Andy Trask, Head Geek at Geek Housecalls, the New England area’s original traveling computer geeks, on the web at www.geekhousecalls.com. Geek Housecalls specializes in “anything computer” and, since 2001, has become the trusted in-home computer and technology support provider for over 15,000 families and small business computer users in eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and southern New Hampshire. For help with your computers, gadgets, or network at home or at the office, click here to contact Geek Housecalls via the web, or call toll free:

1-877-4PC-GEEK             (1-877-472-4335)

 

“I Lost Everything” – Words That Make me Cringe

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

geekablog-logoI recently read the status of a friend on facebook who reported “spent all day fixing the computer after the big crash-grrrrr-lost everything”

“Lost everything?” I asked.

“I had to wipe it entirely clean,” she said, “with the recovery option…”

Now I understood. She used her system recovery disks to format her hard drive and reinstall Windows.  A process that usually restores your computer’s functionality, but completely obliterates all data on the drive including photos, music, address books, emails – everything.

Sadly for my friend, and for millions like her, her photos, music, and other data were likely intact and probably could have  easily and inexpensively been retrieved prior to performing the system recovery if she had only known.

It’s all about how your computer stores and uses data!

When you save an MP3 file or a batch of photos from your camera to your computer, they get written to your hard disk drive by Windows. And likewise, when you play a song or view a photo, Windows reads the selected file off of the hard disk drive for you.

Sometimes however, Windows can get damaged or corrupted resulting in a situation where it will no longer start up or run normally. When this happens, you may get part way into startup and then freeze, or you may see the Blue Screen Of Death or some other sort of error message, or you may see nothing more than a black screen when you try to start up your computer.

UGHH! It’s all over, right?

Wrong!

Before you give up and rush to get your recovery CDs, hear me out… More often than not when this happens, your photos and music and other data are still intact and can be saved!

To use an analogy, let’s say your hard drive is like a journal that you’ve been keeping for years, but instead of writing in your own hand, over the years you’ve been dictating it to a friend who does all the writing for you, and then reads it back to you when you ask. One day your friend falls ill and is unable to help you any longer.  To your horror, when you look at the journal, you discover that  it’s all written in Latin!  Of course this has never been an issue before, because your friend has always seamlessly translated during the writing and reading of the passages.

This is the equivilent of a Windows failure.  The data is all still there, it’s just that Windows is no longer functioning to do the translation for you. And formatting or “wiping” the hard drive or running system recovery and reinstalling Windows at this point would be tantamount to throwing your journal in the trash and starting over!  On the other hand, if you were to go find someone else who knows latin…

And this is what a geek would do to get your data back… take the hard drive out of your computer and connect it to another computer where Windows is running, then copy your data off the hard drive to another disk, CD, DVD, or thumb drive.

Now, you’ll still need to reinstall Windows on your hard drive in order to get your computer back up and running, but once you do, you can copy your saved data back onto your computer and not suffer the agony of “I lost everything”

_____________ o _____________

Please note:  This article is intended to raise awareness of a very common and easily recoverable type of system failure that occurs frequently but is often misunderstood resulting in unnecessary loss of data. There are of course, other far more serious hard drive failures that may occur such as file system corruption, or failure of the underlying drive hardware itself that may only be recoverable, if at all,  through very specialized services that can cost up to thousands of dollars.

If you are experiencing system problems and considering wiping your hard drive and/or doing a system recovery, talk to a professional geek first about whether your data can be recovered.  Better yet, right now, before any of this happens, install an inexpensive online backup service like Carbonite and take the worry out of whether you’ll ever see your photos again…

_______________ o ________________

WAS THIS ARTICLE HELPFUL? PLEASE SCROLL DOWN AND LEAVE A COMMENT!

_______________ o ________________

ghc-logo-341w-x-482hThis article was written by Andy Trask, Head Geek at Geek Housecalls, the New England area’s original traveling computer geeks, on the web at www.geekhousecalls.com. Geek Housecalls specializes in “anything computer” and, since 2001, has become the trusted in-home computer and technology support provider for over 15,000 families and small business computer users in eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and southern New Hampshire. For help with your computers, gadgets, or network at home or at the office, click here to contact Geek Housecalls via the web, or call toll free:

1-877-4PC-GEEK             (1-877-472-4335)