Computer Maintenance Tips

Discussion in 'Computer Software and Operating Systems' started by Hakoda, May 30, 2011.

May 30, 2011

Computer Maintenance Tips by Hakoda at 4:05 AM (752 Views / 0 Likes) 10 replies

  1. Hakoda
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    Member Hakoda GBAtemp Addict

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    So I thought I get some spare money over the summer with some math tutoring and some computer repair. I know how to tutor people math, they say i can make the most difficult problem into common language and not jargon.

    I've fixed dozens of computer before however now I'm looking to optimize my time and performance with how I do it. I'd like to hear some feedback from the community on what you'd like to see happen to your computer for the correct price and time.

    General Maintenance:

    I'd probably open up the computer, take it outside and spray some compressed air over it to get rid of dust. Afterwards, I'd bring it inside and while its still open, make sure all hardware is connected properly to rule out any hardware failures if there any problems. Next, I'd boot the OS and see how long it takes to startup and observe the general OS's speed. If the OS starts up painfully slow, I'd sit the consumer down and explain startup programs. With their consent, I'd remove some programs lagging startup to increase performance. Next, I'd run CCleaner Portable to cleanup general system files and I'd make sure any personal things in the installed browsers are kept unchecked (such as history, saved passwords, etc) in order to not disrupt the consumer's experience with their computer. Once that's finished, I'd startup Wise Registry Cleaner and cleanup broken registry files (as well as use CCleaner first). Then I'd run RevoUninstaller and with the consent of the consumer, I'd remove unneeded programs which probably are never used and came with the PC. Once that's finished, I'd run Defraggler Portable and let the system defrag itself if fragmentation is above 10%. I'd consult the consumer before leaving about options to upgrade RAM or do a recovery installation of the OS to clean things up. if there is a system error or malfunction with the OS, this will be included with the maintenance service. How much for all that?

    Virus Removal:

    Basically, following's Rydian's guide. Making sure the consumer's experience and back to normal after the problem is resolved. Will avoid formatting at all costs. If virus, order of scanners go MBAM --> ComboFix --> BitDefender LiveCD --> Manual Removal --> Recovery Installation. If annoying redirects, Clear HOSTS --> MBAM --> Spybot S&D --> BitDefender Live CD --> Manual Removal. Checking if the problem persists after each "-->". How much?

    Hardware Installation:

    Anything from some more RAM to a new GPU to a full overhaul (as long as parts are supplied or they will be added to the bill). How much for labor?

    General Information:

    Basically a session with the consumer to help learn as much as possible about their computer and how to do every day tasks fast and simple. Probably will charge something per hour, but what rate?


    I have a question for those who fix computers regularly:

    I have a Multiboot CD with BitDfender LiveCD, Kaspersky LiveCD, Parted Magic, Slax, NT Password, and Recovery Discs for Vista (x86 & x64) & 7 (x86 & x64) all on one USB and CD. Do I need Hiren's BootCD or UltimateBootCD added to the multiboot?

    How do I go about dealing with the consumer when a recovery installation is required? What if they don't have the install disc or the key is rendered invalid after reinstallation?


    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. shadowkillerdrag

    Member shadowkillerdrag GBAtemp Regular

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    I would probably charge 30-50 depending on what needs to be done.
    It would largely depend on how much time you spend per section of maintenence


    Then again i believe that most of those type of maintenances are crazy especially the hardware installs ><
    but thats just me, ignore it, only my own 2 cents.
     
  3. Rydian

    Member Rydian Resident Furvert™

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    The current guide involves some useless steps now that some removal tools do certain stuff automatically, it'll be replaced with an abridged one... as soon as I can get to it. I still need to test some shit. Basically it's down to...
    1 - Malicious Software Removal Tool (google, there's 32-bit and 64-bit versions).
    2 - Malwarebytes in safe mode.
    3 - Avast! boot-time scan.
    You can fill in the blanks yourself of course, and stuff like deleting old restore points is still in there where it applies.

    Cleanup or infection remocal, I generally charge per incident or amount of time. If they're dropping the system off here it's per machine since I can do it at my leisure and multitask, but if I'm going to their place to do it I usually just charge for however long I'm there... but as some of the fixing is just running a scan and waiting for it to complete, ask them what else they're having issues with (perhaps their son's laptop or something) so you can do something else in the meantime and they know they're getting their money's worth.

    The Windows Event Viewer in Vista/7 will attempt to log information about slow startup times and point to the process/service causing the most delay, if you check into that.

    Registry optimizers and shit like that are often snake oil. CCleaner's the only one that doesn't lie to you and actually does what it's supposed to do (which is clean, not specifically speed up). I've got a copy-paste on this if you'd like.

    Checking browser addons can eliminate some lag.

    Often users claim their computer is slow, and while it may be fast in general, if it's slow for the task they do often they'll think it's slow all around. Ask them what they generally do and what is slow about it so you know what to look into.

    Carry around unmodified install discs for major operating systems, because lord knows prebuilt companies loathe to actually include the discs anymore. With Vista/7 a repair install can fix a lot of issues and won't remove any data (in fact, user profiles will still be intact), though some programs such as the AV will need to be reinstalled, and windows update will need to be done again. If the license is invalidated (which is rare for OEM stuff assuming no major hardware changes) you can call microsoft and tell them the situation and they'll reactivate it.
     
  4. Ziko

    Member Ziko GBAtemp Regular

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    Rydian's Guide is what I would do. I mean I'll admit that some folks I've worked with say that it's slow but it really isn't. It's usually just a hardware thing. I mean it depends on the task. If you are a big emulator user, about 2-4 GB of RAM is good especially if you're on the net at the same time look for information or walkthroughs for the game(s). If like you do a lot of artistic work maybe a good graphics and/or video card will be good but make sure to check if your motherboard will support that card.
     
  5. marcus134

    Member marcus134 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    it almost never happen, but in the eventuality that it could happen, on the activation form in windows, there is a 1-800 number, just explain your situation and they will give you an activation code.

    Also it's nice to have some diagnostic software for hardware, however, to be able to do your job correctly, if you decide to tackle hardware problem, you will need spare parts to do it correctly.


    it's always good to have a psu tester like this one.
    http://www.legitreviews.com/article/267/1/
     
  6. Hakoda
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    Member Hakoda GBAtemp Addict

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    When you say "unmodified" are you implying I download copies of clean Windows install discs which only work with a key? if so, I'd only download the latest XP Home Edition & Pro SP3, Vista Home Edition SP2 x86 & x64, and 7 Home Edition SP1 x86 & x64.
     
  7. marcus134

    Member marcus134 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    He means box or oem version of the windows installation discs. Back-ups (not patched) can work but if you download them from the net, sometimes they aren't "clean".
     
  8. Hakoda
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    Member Hakoda GBAtemp Addict

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    I generally have two options. Let the customer deal with obtaining the disc and I'll call Microsoft to assure their old key is valid OR I can download what are labeled online as clean or retail versions of Windows and burn them. I'd rather not buy.
     
  9. marcus134

    Member marcus134 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Usually when a customer comes with a defective computer, they want it back yesterday. So leaving them with the trouble of procuring themselves a retail disc is not a good option for most of them.

    If you use downloaded back-ups, make sure it doesn't have spywares or keylogger embed in them.
     
  10. Rydian

    Member Rydian Resident Furvert™

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    Downloaded copies work as long as they're actually 1:1 (unmodified). If you can find a torrent for microsoft's copies (they have downloadable ISO images available to people that are part of their developer network) those are good.

    You can't use a 64-bit disc on a 32-bit system (or the other way around) without having to do a full install, so that raises more problems, but thankfully the Vista/7 discs are universal as far as what edition can be installed (home, ultimate, whatever, all the same disc, the edition that's installed depends on the key you feed it), it's the 32/64-bit that's the trouble.
     
  11. Hakoda
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    Member Hakoda GBAtemp Addict

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    Yeah, I've located 4 image files. One for Windows 7 (SP1 AIO x86 & x64), one for Vista (AIO No SP x86 & x64), one for XP Home Edition x86 SP3, and one for XP Professional x86 SP3. I haven't bothered with XP x64 due to the fact that practically no one has that OS. I'm not too concerned that the Vista disc doesn't have SP2 as I'll probably carry a standalone installer around with me on a USB HDD. All have been tested and are verified retail versions, untouched using Virtual Box.
     

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