'Fix my computer' headaches are a burden for anyone using PCs, but I am here to help. Use my hands on experience from assisting customers in Cleveland, Ohio USA where I live. Call me at (216) 346-7805 or email me so we can talk today about solving your tech headache.

Fix My Computer

Fix my computer issues are a constant fact of life for anyone who uses computers nowadays. Whether you are looking for software to recover lost files, make an ailing PC run faster or looking for good utility software, I can help you out. What with my years of experience dealing with all kinds of computer troubleshooting issues, you can be assured that you are in good hands.

Here are a few examples of the assistance I can offer you:

Example #1:
When I am out and about in my local area on computer repair calls, I frequently encounter customers who have had PCs cut out on them. Naturally, computer crashes can vary by circumstance. Sometimes it’s a bad hard disk, while other times the motherboard is toast. It’s usually one or the other, because the odds are long against it being both. When a motherboard cuts out, I have discovered a very economical “shortcut” to get up and running again.

The key is the fact that the hard drive is still a viable and bootable storage media, despite what has happened with the motherboard. The idea is to pull the out the hard drive and transplant it into another working computer. Some of the device drivers such as video, sound and network cards may have to be updated, but that’s a piece of cake as long as you are dealing with a mainstream machine like Dell or HP. Their websites are very good for furnishing needed device drivers for their various models.

I like to buy used CPUs that have been refurbished from reputable sellers. You get a great price on these machines and the security of knowing that you are dealing with a good, honest supplier. There is a computer store nearby me where I have been buying refurbished Dell and HP desktop machines. I recently had an experience when I went there to buy a refurbished HP desktop computer. I transplanted a customer’s disk from another failing desktop computer and it worked well for about 5 weeks. Then the customer started having all kinds of weird problems with it. Fortunately, this fell within the warranty period, so I was able to take it back to the store for an even swap for another refurbished PC. I then returned to the customer and set them up with this second machine and everything has been fine since.

Now, what is one to do if there is no store like this where you live? Another option I have used with great success is ebay. I have bought a number of refurbished name brand computers on their website at nominal process. There may be shipping as part of the price, but there is hardly ever sales tax since I’m typically out of town. After I key in a search phrase along the lines of “dell desktop computer” or “hp desktop computer”, I then sort the resulting list of machines by “Price + shipping: lowest first”. Next, I will usually purchase the lowest priced PC I can find that is designated as a “Top rated seller” that is also a “Buy it now” deal. These ebay merchants didn’t earn this top rated seller designation by accident. They have typically sold to thousands of people and maintain at least a 99% positive rating. So it’s the same thing as my neighborhood computer store – cheap price with good quality!

Another thing to remember when shopping for a refurbished PC is that you may get it for an even lower price if it comes without a hard drive. It doesn’t matter, because you are installing a working, bootable disk anyway from another PC. You just need to make sure the machine you are buying has the same type of hard drive connector (old IDE or newer SATA).

Many of these refurbished computers are not running the maximum memory they are able to run. If you can do this, try to buy a refurbished PC that runs the same type of memory as the failing PC you took the hard drive out of. You can pull the memory sticks from the old PC and snap them into the new one if it has available memory module slots. You will end up with a PC that runs at or close to its maximum memory capacity. This enhances performance, because the machine will have plenty of memory to load software. It creates an illusion of more speed than you would otherwise get even though the processor chip hasn’t changed.

Example #2:
I have used R-Studio NTFS to recover lost, damaged, and deleted files on many troubleshooting calls. It has recovered files from from physically damaged hard drives that can't even configure themselves as distinct drive letters in Windows. R-Studio NTFS can partially recover files from physically damaged hard drives. I did this one time with a badly damaged disk. Although the scan took a while because of all the bad disk sectors, it eventually recovered about 3,300 fully and partially complete files. If it is this effective with physically damaged disks, then imagine what it can do with a good disk!

R-Studio NTFS is very easy to use. I am currently using build 4.2, an older version. First you will be taken to the "Drive View" screen after double clicking on the program icon. Here you may right click on a drive letter, partition, or volume and then left click "Scan". Next you will see a screen for scanning options. You may alter "Disk Size", "Start", "File System" and other parameters. I usually just go with the default values and then click the "Scan" button in the lower left hand corner of the current dialog screen.

Next, a screen with a grid pattern will appear and the scan will commence using a graphical, color coded format for each square in the grid. The screen is titled "Scan Information". Below the grid area, there is a legend that denotes what file and/or disk attribute each color represents. You may choose to wait for the scan to run its course, which may take a while depending on the disk size and the amount of data stored on the disk. Or you may left click the red "Stop" button on the toolbar. A prompt will appear to verify your decision to stop the scan. After the scan is completed or aborted, the left window pane will list the recovered groupings. Upon left double clicking one, you will be taken to a folder tree structure in the left window pane. You can left click one or more of these folders in the left window pane to recover data. Or you can highlight the folder in the left window pane so the files and subfolders under it will appear in the right window pane and you may left click one or more of those to recover the information.

Next, left click the "Recover Marked" icon on the toolbar to begin recovery. A "Recover" dialog box will appear and here you will specify the drive letter and folder of the external media to recover your lost or damaged files to. Remember, when recovering files and folders you should always save the recovered files and folders to external media such as a flash drive or an external hard drive. This is so nothing on the source disk which is being recovered will be overwritten.

To learn more about R-Studio NTFS please visit their website at www (dot) r-studio (dot) com.

If R-Studio NTFS can't recover what you are looking for, then you probably need to send your hard drive out to a professional data recovery company that has a clean room. They will dismantle the disk and use sophisticated methods to hopefully recover data from the disk platters. I have contacted several of these companies in my business dealings. Their prices for clean room recovery seem be $1,000USD and up. Many of them won’t charge you a fee if they are unable to recover your data. Some won’t even charge a return shipping fee to send an unrecoverable hard drive back to you. I had a customer in my area who used a professional data recovery firm to get 76GB of data of a hard drive with a read/write head crash. They charged $655USD (includes tax). And that price was quite reasonable compared to the other quotes I was getting!

Example #3:
I can’t begin to count the number of people I’ve met through my computer repair business who thought they had to buy a new desktop or laptop computer because they thought it ran too slowly. Don’t get me wrong – there is a time and place for purchasing a new system. But in many cases it happens because the computer is trying to run too many programs with a limited amount of memory. The machine slows down because it doesn’t have enough memory capacity to handle the tasks it is given. It’s sort of like pouring a gallon of liquid into a quart sized container – overwhelming!

So where do you go to select the right memory modules for your PC? There are many types of memory available because of all the different models of computers that are out there. Running back and forth to your neighborhood computer store and hoping the memory modules you grabbed off the shelf will be compatible with your machine will most likely waste your time and solve nothing in the end. So what’s the solution?

To address this issue the right way, you need to find out what type of memory your computer will run. The best route to take is to run an online memory test. This scans the hardware of your computer for a few moments and then displays a report in a new browser window. There are a lot of online memory scanners available. The one I like to use is from the Crucial memory website (Crucial is part of Micron Technology, Inc.), or more specifically: “http://www (dot) crucial (dot) com/systemscanner/”. This will allow you to download a software tool to your computer called “CrucialScan.exe”. Just double click on this downloaded file and wait a minute or two for the scan to complete.

You will soon see a web page report that shows some hardware information about your computer after the scan. In the upper right hand corner you will see a section titled “Quick Configurations”. This shows how much total memory is currently installed in your machine and what portions of that total memory are installed in the memory module slots inside the computer. Just below this you will see memory upgrade and/or replacement recommendations by Crucial that are compatible with your computer in a section titled “Computer Memory”. Each recommended memory module includes pricing and a link to add it to your shopping cart.

On the left side of the report, it shows the model of your computer in the upper left hand corner. Below this is more specific information about the memory in your PC. This includes memory type, maximum memory your computer can run, currently installed memory, total memory slots in the machine, available memory slots and the maximum amount of memory each memory slot can accept.

With all this information at your reach, you won’t need to waste time and fuel chasing around town looking for the right memory for your computer. After a PC has had the memory significantly upgraded, you may notice it has more of a “fluid feel” in the way it starts up and loads programs. This is because it doesn’t have to work as hard to load software as it used to when the memory was much less. It’s sort of like comparing two cars – one with power steering and the other without. The car with power steering is like a computer after receiving the memory upgrade. It handles much more easily and with less effort as it should.

If you live in Cleveland, Ohio USA, then please use my email and phone contact web page to get in touch with me today for assistance.

douglas b miller, computer program designer
douglas b miller, computer program designer
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