The potential complexity of maintaining computer systems can be way beyond what one may assume. Of course, most faults or conflicts are soon remedied but this is not always so straight forward.

Let’s give a couple of examples:

Computer One is new with only a version of Windows, Antivirus suite and an Office suite. After a few weeks the computer starts freezing up. This is not normally what one would expect after such a short time. Therefore, before we look at this machine, we will approach it with an open mind, not dismissing a possible hardware fault.

Computer Two is a couple of years old with the latest version of Windows and fully up to date. We have the usual Antivirus suite and Office suite and other applications which have been added during it’s time. The computer starts playing up. A programme won’t load or it ends with an error message. In this instance the first assumption would be a software error. We would start by looking at what programs are installed (especially what we would call 3rd party apps). We would also be looking into recent software and driver updates.

The moral of the story here is that Computer Two is way more likely to ask more questions. Why? because the variables involved could become astronomical. For a system that’s already fully backed up we may have the option just to re-install the computer and the programs we most need. Add to this the backed-up data and we are likely to have a machine running as well as it ever has. However! what if! The data needs backing up first? or the customer no longer has their licence keys at hand? or we no longer have any passwords to access the email and the ISP (Internet Service Provider) isn’t picking up the phone or just blaming our computer. What if our first attempts at fixing the problems don’t work? Could it be hardware or software? How do we distinguish between an application crashing through a hardware fault or software conflict? We would like to say, we can look at the error messages or logs but in practice this rarely gives us the full picture. Programmers have a duty to input “error handling” messages into their software but far too often these messages are generic and they can easily send us in the wrong direction. There are many other issues caused by software which will work under one condition while other software requires a different condition. This can cause a crash.

It would not be an exaggeration to tell you that an anticipated 5 minute solution could potentially take days if the cause(s) are found to be hidden away. Yes this happens but this is not something our personal computer customers need to worry about. At all times, all customers are kept up to date by text or call.

Our next blog will explain what you as a customer can do to reduce downtime and what you can do to make our job faster and potentially cheaper.