There are some of us who take to technology like a duck to water. I am lucky enough to be one of those. Very little causes me problems with computing devices. I started with the home computers of the late 70’s and 80’s. My particular favourite was the ZX spectrum.

I progressed on via various computers and later IBM variants which were the predecessors of the PC I am typing on now. Later, Android and the smartphone/tablet continued to fail miserably in causing me problems. It is only with the onboard computers using proprietary operating systems which send me scuttling for the manual. These are usually in cars, toys and domestic devices. Even then they give up their secrets when you apply years of experience. Computers are very logical and I have a logical mind.

However, there are those out there who do not see computers as a logical system. Maybe they do not have the experience to tell them that  this mysterious beast will obey them if they apply logic. In the worst cases they may even see any computer system as an ‘on demand’ device which requires no maintenance and never goes wrong.

I see this often. My mother-in-law constantly battles with a combination of (Temporary) hardware failures and is only now becoming aware of Virus’, adware and scams. I am often asked about these things and some are not faults at all. I am referring here to spurious messages which tell you something is wrong when it is not.

Before Christmas I was called by a friend of mine who was locked out of his PC by the corruption of his password file. He could have looked on a friends computer or a library device for the precise error message he was getting and no doubt would find (As I did!) a myriad of solutions. Luckily he was using a computer with windows Vista. Microsoft had tried to address the problem of crashes with XP, this release and those which followed. They included System restore, a program which rolled back to previous known good configuration, and the solution was simple using this. However, it required a restart in Safe mode. That in itself is problematical. Terms such as system restore, safe mode and last good configuration were unheard of in my friends world. If I had been sitting at his desk it would take me an hour, over the phone getting his computer into safe mode took an hour.

I am not criticising, if these terms genuinely confuse you or you suffer from technofear, the simplest problem seems insurmountable. The problem lies in the fact that most people genuinely want to learn how I do what I do. If I try to repair Mrs Bot’s devices she wants me to explain what I am doing so she is able to do it herself. The truth is that many perceived problems are not problems or are temporary in nature. I always advocate a restart when a problem first appears to see if it is permanent. On the Spectrum it was known as a Sinclair Reset I.E. unplugging the power and replacing it after a few seconds.

The problem is that diagnosing an issue takes years of experience and even guesswork or trial and error. You can’t explain that in a few sentences and you soon find that the recipients eyes glaze over after 10 minutes if you try. The same applies to any solution. Without the knowledge I have of the hardware and software an explanation will be long and ultimately futile. This stuff cannot be explained in a single sentence and a 2 hour explanation of what you are doing is not usually appreciated.

So if you suffer from Technofear or if you have no knowledge of how your computer does what it does you are quite welcome  to ask me to fix it. I am more than happy to do it, though small donations are welcome. What drives me mad is those who want me to tell them what I am doing at the same time. I have learned this stuff over decades and if you aren’t prepared to spend the next hour or two listening to my explanation don’t ask.

Most problems can be fixed within hours though some viral infections can take days. However if you want me to tell you how I am doing it add a week or so to learn how the computer works, then a few days while I tell you what is wrong and how I intend to sort it. If you leave me to it I will have you doing something more productive much sooner.

I don’t mean to be facetious, many people really do see computers as on demand devices and they are becoming more like this. Then there are those unfortunate souls who seem to have more than their fair share of crashes. They feel that their tech must have a mind of it’s own and hates them. Add to this those who believe in every scam, spurious error message and that every minor glitch must spell disaster. If the truth is known, tech does scare many people yet they dread being left behind. My advice is to enjoy your PC, Tablet or whatever, learn about it as much as possible but if you are not prepared to learn about more than the basics leave repairs and software problems to those  that have. Your problems will go away much quicker. Give the repairer some money for his/her trouble and so will they.

 

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