How To Fix Problems On Your PC Informative - Do these steps before calling your PC help desk

Review by disgruntled on 2007-05-08
Frustrated with your PC? Angry with the manufacturer? Can’t seem to get any help from Customer Service? You are not alone.

I am a retiree after 34 years with a major computer company and have personally experienced everything that you are feeling. Here are steps to take before calling your computer manufacturers help desk. It might cost you some extra bucks but if it fixes the problem, saving you from a heart attack then it is worth every penny. I will try and keep your cost down by providing some ideas up front. I have divided these instructions into three parts: 1) Things to do before calling for service, 2). Placing a service call (focused toward getting HP service), and 3). Keeping your computer healthy after it’s fixed. Instructions are based on XP operating system and are long, you will need a few hours to run everything, so I recommend you print all of this before continuing.

PART 1 (DO THIS BEFORE CALLING FOR SERVICE) When you were a baby you didn’t have a problem in the world. Now that you are an adult you are faced with many of them of which most you caused yourself. It’s the same with your computer, as time goes by it slowly develops problems that need to be fixed. I don’t mean hardware problems either. Most computer crashes and slow response are unknowingly caused by you. Application software that you install, emails you open (especially junk emails), viruses, power outages are just a few things that can contribute to your computer having problems. Who do you call? The manufacturer of your computer, RIGHT? Sorry but you will waste your time if you do this without running these test first. IN PREPARATION DO THE FOLLOWING: With your mouse select Start, run…, type in msconfig then hit enter, select startup tab, select disable all, apply, close, your computer will now be restarted.

TO CHECK FOR CONFLICTS: With your mouse select Start, control panel, system, hardware, device manager, now look for a yellow explanation mark by any of the entries. If present call your manufacturer’s help desk and report it. If not or when done continue these test. ANTI-VIRUS: If you don’t have an anti-virus program on your PC you can download a free one here:


TO CLEAN OFF UN-NECESSARY FILES ON YOUR DISK DO THE FOLLOWING: With your mouse select Start, programs, accessories, system tools, disk cleanup, disk cleanup tab, make sure all boxes are checked then select ok. NOW YOU NEED TO DEFRAGMENT YOUR DISK DRIVE. First I want to attempt to explain to the lay person why you need to defrag. To do this I want you to compare your hard disk on your computer with your garage. If you are like most people you have a lot of stuff in your garage. Let's also say that your tools are scattered all throughout your garage. Even though you now exactly where everything is located it will take you a longer time to get everything you need before you start working on a project, more time than if all your tools were grouped together. This is the same with your hard disk drive. Your files get scattered all over the disk and when you defrag then it simply groups files together so that the computer can run more efficiently thus run faster. So here are the steps you follow to defrag your drive: with your mouse select Start, programs, accessories, system tools, defragmenter, analyze, a pop screen will show in a few minutes, select defrag (if suggested) otherwise close. Defraging your drive may take a few hours so be patient and in no way interrupt the process. NOW LET'S PUT YOUR PC THRU SOME EXTENSIVE TEST: Connect to the internet and type in the following URL www.pitstop.com, select full test, select new members, select key, a popup screen may appear asking you to install, select test anonymously, select lets go, ok, watch as it test your computer and answer all questions (best guess is ok). At the end of test select and allow pitstop to repair anything that shows up yellow or red. Note: if you register with their web site then they will keep track of all test on your computer. That way if you run these test a month or two from now they will give you a comparison with your last test. Registering is free but not necessary. DO NOT CONTINUE WITH THE NEXT STEPS IF YOU HAVE DIAL UP INTERNET SERVICE otherwise continue with the following…

OPERATING SYSTEM UPDATES: While connected to the internet type in the following URL: www.microsoft.com, select Microsoft update, select express, install updates. Note: If you don’t have high speed internet service then don’t attempt to download Service Pack I or II. Contact Microsoft and they will mail you (free of charge)the CD’s necessary for updating your PC,

TO ELIMINATE MALICIOUS SOFTWARE: While connected with the internet type in the following URL: http://www.microsoft.com/security/malwareremove/default.mspx When the web page appears select "skip the details and download the tool" then look for the first blue bar with the words "Download" and select it. open or run and select full scan. SPYWARE NEEDS TO BE CHECKED AND SOMETIMES REMOVED FROM YOUR PC: Spyware can slow down your computer and cause un-necessary popups on your computer. Please view the video from Microsoft that explains the dangers http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/spyware/video1.mspx If you don't already have spyware software on your computer you can either download Microsoft's Windows Defender as mentioned in the video above or install the FREE SPYWARE SOFTWARE THAT COMES WITH THE YAHOO TOOL BAR: While connected to the internet type in the following URL: http://toolbar.yahoo.com/ Be sure to select the browser that you use, either Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer then follow the instructions to install and how to use.

YOU NEED A GOOD REGISTRY FIXER: While connected to the internet type in the following URL: http://www.comparepctuneups.com select the highest rated fixer and go to it’s web site. Download and install the free version and run it to find out if your computer’s registry has errors. The free version only reports errors so to fix them you MUST purchase a registry fixer either online or at your local computer store; they are usually under $50 but well worth the expense. If you don’t fix your registry then you will probably continue to have computer problems so I can't emphasize enough the importance of purchasing and installing one.

THESE FINAL STEPS WILL BRING YOUR COMPUTER BACK TO THE WAY IT WAS BEFORE WE STARTED: with our mouse select Start, run, msconfig, select startup tab, enable all, apply, run and restart. Your computer will take more time to start but all applications should work automatically. If you are running media software for editing photo’s or movies and continue having problems after running all of the above then de-install the media software, reboot your computer and run it for a few days. If problems are still present then it’s time to call the help desk. PART 2 (PLACING THE SERVICE CALL) I retired after 34 years of servicing HP computers. Here are the steps you should take to get service from HP or other computer help desk. STEP 1) call their help desk and log the call. You will be given a call number and the first name of a technician - save these on a note pad with date and name of technician. There is a 90% chance that this person will be from India. I know this is difficult for some of us to accept but please allow them to attempt to fix your computer; it's not their fault and having techs from India isn't going away anytime soon. If your computer is out of warranty expect to pay a fee for technical help - this is normal. Allow them to work with you in troubleshooting the problem. Even if you could replace the part HP will not mail it out to you. They will ask you to mail the computer in for repair. If a laptop then they might provide a shipping box for FedX to pick up. STEP 2) If you end up making multiple calls to the help desk or have ANY PROBLEM with the person you are speaking with ask for a back line technician; this will be a person from the United States. If you receive your computer back from HP and it still doesn't work or are at the point of total frustration then email Mark Hurd (HP's President and CEO) at this web site:


DON'T give all the details of your computer problem. The President won't read the email but will pass it on to a team of individuals who will call you and discuss your frustrations. Be nice to the person who calls you as it isn't his/her fault that you are so frustrated. In fact, hopefully he/she will be the good guy in all of this. Make sure you give them the impression that you are seriously thinking about never purchasing HP equipment again. STEP 3) Don't ask for a replacement computer, let it be HP's idea. This is the quickest way HP can cool down an unhappy customer and I have seen it happen over and over. With all the models of computers that HP sells it is very possible that yours will be out dated and they will send you an upgraded model. I've often times seen where HP sends out a computer that is worth twice as much as the one originally purchased. STEP 4) If you don't receive satisfaction from HP after all of this then think about purchasing from another company in the future and don't forget to publicize your experiences using MY3CENTS so the rest of us can benefit from it. Good Luck.

PART 3 (KEEPING YOUR COMPUTER HEALTHY) Start the following immediately. Get a notebook and start logging every piece of application software that you install, be sure to include the date. Do the same every time you register your email for a web site. Keep in mind that free stuff isn’t really free, you are giving up something when you register. If you were to read the terms and conditions (10 pages, yeah sure) then you would probably find out what they are really doing on your computer. Some companies are actually installing software on your computer to spy on everything you do. The more people who are spying on you the slower your computer will run. Some can even get credit card info, etc without your knowledge. Learn how to backup your files - letters, emails, photo’s, etc to a CD or DVD or external disk drive. If you have to reload the operating software and start from scratch then you can easily reload your files if they are saved. Do a backup before installing new application software as this is where many computer problems are generated. If your computer fails a few days after then you can fall back to the original configuration very easily. Defrag your drive once every month as instructed in Part 1 above You can ask it to analyze first to determine if it is really necessary. Test your PC about every three months using PC Pitstop as instructed in Part 1 above. If you registered with them then you can compare your results with the last time you ran the test.

MICROSOFT UPDATES SHOULD BE INSTALLED AT LEAST EVERY WEEK: while connected with the internet use your mouse and select start, all programs, windows update. When the web page comes up select Express button, your computer will check for updates and list them. Select all and install. This updates your Microsoft Operating System. THE REGISTRY: If it is corrupted it is the most probable cause of your computer failure. There are free registry mechanic test out on the internet it will report how many registry problems you have but won’t fix them until you purchase their software. I personally use Registry Mechanic that I purchased over the internet and it has fixed numerous problems on my PC. This is where you might want to brake down and purchase one of the many Registry Fixers that are out there. Now for the big one, and that’s email. You need to stop opening emails from people and companies that you don’t know. They are the biggest source of spy ware and viruses and will cause you great frustration. If you get an email from your best friend and in the subject area says FWD then you might want to delete it without opening. We all have friends who mean well and want to lighten up our day by sending cute little email attachments that could possibly have viruses attached. You don’t have time to read all that stuff anyway. And remember, your bank won’t ever send you an email asking you to update your credit card account information. Don’t believe the email you get from your friend telling you that you might have a virus because you are in their address book. If they give you instructions of how to fix it then don’t believe them. Do a search using google asking about the virus and you will find that many of them are a hoax; if you follow the instructions you will surely crash your computer and will probably have to reload.
Comments:8 Replies - Latest reply on 2007-05-09
Posted by Dan on 2007-05-09:
Thanks for the tips! A lot of the things you say should be printed and come with every computer, not only so users can help diagnose/fix minor problems themselves, but so that they can understand the problems are not always caused by the CPU or manufacturer, many times it the users and his/her actions or inactions.
Posted by MRM on 2007-05-09:
Very good computer advice!
Posted by MRM on 2007-05-09:
Heres an additional tip: Before upgrading your hardware or making any changes in your computer, make a habit of backing your personal data. You will certainly be thankful that you made a backup of your data when things go wrong with your computer...
Posted by S on 2007-05-09:
Good post!
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-09:
Great post. I would like to add a few other items that can help: AdAwareSE and Spybot Search & Destroy. These will find and remove most trojans, worms and malware. Also I have found that CCleaner does an excellent job of cleaning up the drive and registry. These applications are free. As you recommended with Microsoft programs, update weekly and run them often.

One thing that users miss is proper configuration of the firewall. All modems/routers are wide open to attack as soon as they are first connected. This is where the baddies gain access. A recent study found that PCs get probed within 12 minutes of their first connection to the internet. That explains why there are ten of millions of 'zombie' machine out there. Hey, where do you think all that spam is distributed from?

Read your owners manuals for configuration instruction on the internal firewall and then set it.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-09:
Very, very good! I work with servers all day and can say you were dead on with the "OPERATING SYSTEM UPDATES". Just about every service problem involves a lack of system updates whether for operating or security. If people would keep things up to date things will run smoother.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-09:
About once every three months or so I just run the OEM restore disk of course after backing up my documents. Then do the MS updates. But my needs are simple and the only program I use not on the restore is quicken.
Posted by Slimjim on 2007-05-09:
Great tips, and it must have taken you some time to write this too. Thanks for the contribution.

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