Waiting for a computer to finish something ranges from mind numbing to maddening.
There are procedures that take forever to complete. Probably the biggest is a Windows 10 version upgrade pushed out roughly every 8-12 months. One of the reasons why on-site service can be expensive is that while a computer is doing something, we can’t just walk over and work on something else. We may be in the home or office and pretty much in limbo until the computer finishes. If we think it’s going to take a really long time, we have been known to go on other calls or bring the computer into the shop. Even with the travel time, it’s less costly.
Tips for faster service
- Get the fastest Internet you can afford
- Document everything associated with your software including purchase location, key numbers, passwords, registration, tech support numbers, etc. Lost documentation is a giant problem.
- All computers must have a solid state drive installed if at all possible. Anything else is getting to be downright painful due to slow performance.
- For businesses, label or number cables and wall outlets so that number matches a label at the switch. Once a cable enters a wall, who knows where it ends up.
- Don’t let the computer products you use, especially software, get too old. Eventually the products and services you depend on will not be supported. An example is old versions of Quicken or Quickbooks. If you run a very old version and need to upgrade to a new version, you may need to install an in-between version or two in order for the data to be upgraded to the new format. Jumping from a really old version to a really new version directly may not be possible.
- Backup. Backup. Backup. Use an automated backup system.
- Install remote access software so we can immediately log in and fix the problem instead of you having to bring in the machine or us performing a service call.
What causes a long service?
- Slow booting computers due to Celeron or “E” series processors, low memory and slow hard drives. SSD anyone?
- Slow Internet. Watching an HP printer driver download is tedious.
- Intermittent failure. We’ve all been there. Never works until the mechanic shows up. Then, no problem.
- Waiting on parts. If the product is old or even very new, oddly enough, parts may be hard to come by.
- Parts that are no longer available. Welcome to creative engineering!
- Batteries that drain quickly and require the use of a broken, barely working, AC Adapter.
- Hardware originating from countries that are, shall we say, a bit sketchy. Common in manufacturing.
- Travel time for on-site work.
- Software so old that it can’t be re-installed, re-activated, or updated.
- Using stolen or lost keys obtained off the Internet.
- Upgrading Windows with a stolen key, it gets disabled, and you can’t revert back without a total re-install.
What tasks take a long time?
- Windows updates can take anywhere from minutes to hours. Getting frustrated and forcing a reboot greatly improves the chances of corruption.
- Installing and removing programs.
- Downloading big programs using slow or unstable Internet connections.
- Starting and restarting computers.
- Hard drive copying and duplicating.
- Moving thousands or millions of files from one computer to another.
- Resetting, refreshing, restoring, reloading and rebuilding the operating system.
- Backing up and restoring parts of the computer or the entire thing.
- Recovering from failed backups.
- Waiting for software patches and fixes from the vendor.
- Restoring access to accounts after losing login information.
- Working on devices that are in use. It’s like working on a car while it’s traveling down the highway. Commonly done with servers where everyone has to disconnect from the server in order to reboot it.
- File system scanning for corruption or infection.
- Compressing\Decompressing files.
- Endless testing of software for proper operation, especially backup systems.
- Fixing software with no documentation, including activation and registration information.
- Documentation in a language we don’t speak. Common in industry.
- No tech support for the software or hardware in question.
- 3rd party vendors changing the network to get their stuff working, but breaking it for everything else.
- A client’s useless, or worse yet, corrupt, “web guy”.
- Downloading and uploading a lot of data.
- Random failures that make no sense.
- The only guy that knows a piece of equipment – dies.
- Lost installation media.
- Being audited by Microsoft.