Over the years I have maintained and improved my professional installation skills by learning better ways of doing certain aspects after each installation. As you can imagine, no two installations are ever the same, even with what seems to be identical installations, no two computers are ever identical.
The main areas I cover for installations are as follows...
Computer Installation - Installing the complete system straight out of the box through to finishing off the connection to the internet through whatever networking needs that are required. Every area of the computer system is tested when completed to ensure you don't have to get assistance too soon in the near future, unless you do something really silly of course!
Multimedia - Multimedia covers so many bases it's pretty hard to say what I can install, but here's the list of most common devices that I help with...
- Webcams / Video Cameras / Capture Devices
- Speaker Systems / Sound Bars
- TV Setups / Retuning / Networking / Recording / Freeview / FireSticks
- Game Consoles
- VR Equipment
Printer/Scanner Installation - Installing a printer can be a nightmare for the faint hearted, especially when it comes to wireless or wired networking printers being shared between two or more computers on a network.
Software Installation - It's not only the hardware side of computers that people find hard to figure out, a lot of people are very afraid that they may simply kill their computer by installing their software incorrectly. Unfortunately a lot of software installers assume that the user is a computer Guru and are faced with a lot of technical questions during the install process, no wonder they ending up calling me!
Wired/Wireless Networking Installation - I have become very efficient at setting up and installing wired/wireless networking solutions for home and business alike. As technology has advanced, I am now helping to install/setup Wireless TV's / Smart TV's, Smart Phones, Tablets, Wireless Printers, Gaming Consoles etc. where clients require it.
As well as the above, I also install pretty much any internal computer devices and external devices that the user requires for their computer experiences.
It's a common question usually asked after a PC upgrade. People are very reluctant to simply throw a PC away knowing that their personal information is usually still stored on it.
I offer a few disposal options...
- Freegle - If the old PC is still functional, then I would normally remove your drive and ask you which of the next two options you would prefer then take your old system away to be serviced and tested for recycling to another person free of charge.
- Hard Drive Extraction - Where your old Hard Drive is removed and handed to you for safe keeping (most common). The option of Hard Drive Destructive Recycling is always a follow up option if you request it at a later date.
- Hard Drive Destructive Recycling - This is where I remove your old drive, then take it away to perform a "military level" destructive wipe of your data (usually consists of a random 3 to 5 level overwrite of the complete drive) where it is impossible to gain any information from that drive. This also tests the drive for integrity so that it can be passed as a working blank drive then usually offered on Freegle at a later date.
Myth: Bank details are stored on your computers drive... NO. Unless you personally create a document containing your banking details, there is NO banking information stored on a drive. There are files called "cookies", these again DO NOT contain sensitive banking information, they simply contain encrypted timer information so that if you do not use the banking site for a period of time (usually 10 minutes) then the cookie is deleted which then means you are required to go through the secure log in process all over again to which a new timer cookie is generated for your visit.
Networking can start from a single computer simply connected to the internet, to literally 100's of computers interconnected through a business network to allow offices within a huge building to exchange information of all varieties.
Malware (short for Malicious Software) and/or viral infections can be the nightmare that most people dread. So many people assume that they have a virus when there computer goes screwy, it is possible, but media hype and lots of chinese whispers can bring unnecessary fear to computer users. I am clarifying something now, a viral infection is very rare! I would say 98% of infected computers that I deal with are unwell due to Malware and not a virus!
Lets clarify the differences between Malware and a Virus...
Malware - Infectious: NO - Malware is usually installed by accident by the user, by clicking on a link primarily or installed as 3rd party software from another application/installation. The usual trigger for malware infection is advertising on websites, popups, etc. The main goal of malware is to get the user to purchase, some present themselves as fake system utilities, some use browsers hijacking to take you to sister sites etc. Malware is worse than a virus, it can be represented in so many ways and forms and can be very convincing to get you to part with your money! Contrary to belief, no security software can stop malware, "Why?" you ask, because internet security would have to block all links on webpages, making webpages you visit inaccessible as this is how malware gets on your computer 99% of the time.
Virus - Infectious: YES - A virus can be picked up and can spread via any media, CD, DVD, Floppy Disk, Backup Drives, USB Memory Pens/Sticks/Cards, Internet, Emails. Viral infections can be dangerous, they can destroy a computer system, though these types can be super rare, and all decent security software will stop them before they can infect your system. This is the reason why viral infections are rare and malware is the new attacker of choice.
I have done a lot of programming over my lifetime, this has allowed me to learn how to think like a malware/viral programmer, which makes myself very efficient at removing infections. Contrary to belief, if a computer is infected, it usually does not need to blitz (reinstalled from when you purchased it), however many big computer stores will not take the time to cleanse your system and instead charge a larger sum of money to reinstall when there is usually no need to, possibly losing your data as well! I can usually cure about 99% of infected computers, however the 1% is usually due to system that was so infected that once the infection was removed the system was too unstable to use thereafter. At this point I always offer a backup/restore service to ensure, that at very least, your personal data remains as safe as possible.
Connection to the internet can usually be done via one of the following ways...
Dialup - This has become virtually obsolete, where a single computer can connect to an existing telephone line to use the internet. The problems with this is that you can not use the telephone to make calls while you are on the internet and also the fact that it is extremely slow for anything nowadays. A lot of people would tell me that they simply don't use the internet enough to go to broadband, however, they don't realise how long they are waiting to get emails, updates etc. as they are used to the waiting, costing them about 2-5p per minute. In all due respect, they are simply used to waiting for things to happen, if they tried broadband they won't not go back to dialup. In all fairness broadband can be super cheap now, and dialup should be abolished so the internet speeds can progress faster.
ADSL Broadband (now capable of fibre speeds) - Still using the telephone line to gain access to the internet but with the advantages that you can still use the telephone at the same time and it's a great deal faster than the old Dialup method. Seperation of the telephone and broadband is always done using a Microfilter which simply splits apart the voice and internet signals. An ADSL router can be purchased to allow two or more computers to share the internet connection. The downside with any telephone line baseed internet, the speed is drastically critical on the location of your local Exchange, hopefully as more locations get the fibre upgrade this will eventually be a thing of the past.
DSL Broadband (Fibre Optic) - This is the fastest and most reliable broadband available, using fibre-optic cables to achieve huge speeds without signal loss (unlike conventional wires). A DSL router can be purchased to allow two or more computers to share the internet connection. Compared to BT line based internet, you will get near the maximum speed all the time, less problems and no microfilters sticking out of telephone sockets!
Mobile Broadband (3G/4G/5G) - This is supposingly an alternative to using a proper broadband connection by utilizing the mobile network. You use a USB "dongle" which connects to mobile phone networks to provide broadband. These have become a lot more reliable over the last few years, and installations of these things have become a lot easier. Although this option has vastly improved I would only still recommend these as an absolute last resort.
There are a few ways you can network your computers...
Ethernet Cables - This is fastest, cheapest and most secure way to network computers together. You do require a Ethernet Connection in your PC, and nearly all modern PC's have them built in, and if not, they are easily and normally installed using an internal PCI Ethernet card.
Wireless - This allows for computers to connect to each other without wires where it would normally be awkward to lay ethernet cables. This is a little slower (usually by about 5%) due to more complex communications involved between wireless devices, also wireless range is very limited to distance and there is a problem that metal obsticles generally have a bad effect on the wireless signals. If your computer doesn't have wireless as standard you can purchase wireless adapters in the form of PCI(PC Only), USB(PC or Laptop) and PCMCIA(Laptop Only).
HomePlug Kits - Also known and PLC (Power Line Communication) adapters.
The two common types of HomePlug are HomePlug (Usually 85Mb/s) and also HomePlugAV (Usually 200Mb/s or higher).
They usually come in pairs and can be public or private networked along with password protection and both have encrypted data transfer.
These are very handy devices that allow networking to pass through electricity cables in the environment even between seperate buildings.
These are most handly where cables are not wanted and wireless can't cover the distance.
The only thing that effects quality is usually the amount of electrical devices on the electrical circuits running between each location on the network and distance, though distance is a great deal more than wireless and for obvious reasons, the best alternative.
NOTE : You cannot use HomePlug and HomePlugAV kits together to form a singular network system as they are incompatible with each other (due to HomePlug using 56bit and HomePlugAV using 128bit encryption), however they can co-exist together in side by side networks absolutely fine.
I can provide remote assistance to anyone that has internet access via the computer they want me to look into anywhere in the world. Providing the person at the other end can set up the remote connection software I can then take remote control whenever we can arrange a connection.
If you are local to me, we can arrange a convenient time for me to pop round and set up remote access your computer then any time after then. If you need me to look in at your system then it's literally a phonecall away as long as I have no current jobs booked in.
Servicing of a computer system isn't all that different from taking your car to the garage for it's service. Servicing involves a few different things...
Hardware Cleaning - This is where I open your computer case up and strip all your internal colling system (fans mainly) and clean up any built up deposits that have accumulated over a period of time. There are usually at least two fans that need cleaning in each computer. If these fans are allowed to clog up, you could seriously damage your computer.
Junk Files - You computer accumulates a large amount of junk files over a period of time. If you leave these files untouched then you could eventually run out of disk space which results in slow and unstable performance as your computer struggles to find space to store newer information.
Fragmentation - In addition to junk files and low disk space, another anomaly takes place where files on the drive can no longer fit in the places they were originally stored. This results in the files getting chopped up into smaller pieces and placed in various locations all over the hard drive. This increases the time it takes to seek out, stick back together and reuse the files, which in turn, causes performance issues for your computer.
You can book a service for your computer at any time, it can be done at your location or we can arrange to have your computer collected, taken back to my location, serviced and returned, usually within 48hours of collection.
I am a strong believer of good Karma. I think it is great to pass on your computer knowledge to others so that they may prosper in the computing world rather than being stuck playing solitaire for the rest of their life.
I provide one on one tuition for anyone of any age and for anything they wish to learn on their computer (though I draw the line at illegal things like hacking banks and national security). Whether it be simply learning how to use Microsoft Word through to processing pictures taken through digital photography, I will try my best to educate the client to the best of my knowledge even if it means learning new skills along the way. If you are willing to learn, then I am willing to teach. I am well known for having great patience and a formidable knack of being able to substitute computer jargon with euphemisms to allow the client to learn meanings easier and quicker than trying to figure out what a text book meaning is trying to say.
I am able to start computer tuition at any level and at any pace, usually sitting down with the client and get them to make notes about what they find difficult so that I can hopefully make their experience better by finding a better route for them to handle that situation.
Got a favourite photo you aren't happy with?
Need something removed from a picture that's simply annoying?
Want a discoloured or black and white photo converted to colour?
If you know the colours in an old black and white picture I can recreate the photo in colour. If you have lets say a scenic photo and the one thing that catches your eye is a piece of litter on the grass, why not get it digitally removed? WBCS can do this and more.