I think that there is fair justification in saying that people of all ages have more than a little knowledge of computers in one way or another. From children to grandparents, computers are no longer a complex and strange ‘newfangled contraption’ whose only purpose is to confuse and mystify. Whether you are working from your smartphone, tablet, laptop or home computer, either for pleasure or business, there is always that wider link with the world through the internet. Since so much business, pleasure and information are gathered through the World Wide Web, it seems almost inconceivable that could manage without it. On a personal level, much of my writing and research depends on the information I collect from my internet searches. It still amazes me, even after all these years, that we can link to any site anywhere in the world almost instantaneously. From simply double-checking the spelling of a word to finding out correct terminology in a field which is unknown to me, I depend on the power of the net to get me the answers I need.
When your device is giving problems, don’t wait for the complete fail before acting
But what do you do when your device ‘goes on the blink’ or completely gives up the ghost? We are all familiar with the dreaded blue screens which indicate a possibly permanent software or hardware error. Before I upgraded my computer, I suffered through these far more often than I thought possible, but I was lucky in that my faithful old computer managed to recover every time. However, it was clear that one day I would not be so lucky, and I would lose everything on my hard drive, and that years of work would be gone in an instant.
Why hang onto outdated hardware or software which is not up to the job?
I am extremely lucky in in that I have two computer repairmen and all-round computer experts at the other end of the phone, and both of them work for the same company. Over the years, I have built up a relationship with them both which added a great deal to my sense of security when the time came to finally put my terminally ill computer to rest. I was able to hand over my old tower, complete with all the work I had saved on it over the years and then sit back and wait for the magic to happen. I was not disappointed! I received a new tower which contained all my data and settings, and was so fast that it made me think of a racehorse sprinting out of the gate. I unashamedly admit that I spent hours in my first few days with the new hardware and updated software simply acquainting myself with its features and playing with apps which never worked on my old PC – and hitting myself over the head for having delayed for so long!
Choose your computer repairer with care and thought
A lot depends, of course, on the knowledge, experience and skills of the computer repairer you use. Like many other people, I imagine, I have had my fair share of dealing with so-called experts who simply did not have the necessary expertise to resolve problems which were not everyday occurrences and therefore easy to repair. Whether it is a software (the “brains” of the system) or hardware (the external “body”) issue, a competent computer repairer will be able to resolve the problem – usually extremely quickly. I once dealt with a ‘specialist’ who took my computer for what was meant to be a simple repair lasting a day or two, only to have to demand its return (now with a new problem) nearly three weeks later. During the time he had been ‘repairing’ the original problem, he had managed to lose much of my data and music, none of which could be replaced. The truth of the matter was that, although he professed to know what he was doing, and was apparently familiar with the issues I had been experiencing, he simply did not have the skills or knowledge needed to repair the problem. Not only did I lose valuable time, experience considerable inconvenience and lose much of my data, but I still had to pay him for his time. That was a lesson well learned!
Don’t forget the power of personal word-of-mouth referrals
My two computer experts are, by comparison, simply incredible in their combined knowledge and experience. They are able to skilfully handle problems on a broad range of devices. From assessing and repairing a minor fault such as the charging port on a tablet going on the ‘glitch’ and not connecting to its power source, to identifying and resolving major computer errors in both hardware and software, they have never let me down. These are the people I recommend to others who, in turn, continue the chain in recommending them to their own friends.
Your computer holds a lot of personal information. Only hand it over to those who you can trust
Whenever possible, use a computer repairer who has come with recommendations, either through online ratings and customer reviews, or personal word-of-mouth referrals. You will not be sorry. After all, would you, for example, hand over your precious pet to a kennels or cattery whilst you are away from home without first establishing that they have an excellent reputation and will take the best care of your dog or cat? Similarly, with a computer repairer, you are handing over precious personal information in the form of emails, letters and documentation which you are entrusting to their code of confidentiality. Much of your digital life is exposed to computer repairers, so make sure you are using the best people for the job.