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Do It Yourself (DIY) Guide and Tips!

Welcome to British Repair’s free DIY guide and tips page!


On this page you will find information, guides and DIY notes on the latest trends and issues around home and business computers.


Our main aim for providing this information is to help people around the world to solve basic computer issues by themselves.


We as a computer repair company receives a lot of calls on daily basis and quite often we find the problem to be so small that it feels like a waste of time and money for customer and us. We feel that it’s our duty to educate people on how to solve basic computer problems themselves. Which will save money for them and time for us to concentrate on bigger and more serious issues.


If you are looking for a particular issue and struggling to find the solution please email us and we’ll try our best to get the solution posted here asap.


Scared to open your computer or stuck with problem and can’t figure it out or just need a helping hand or some training, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


We are No Fix – No Fee computer repairs callout company. We are experts in the same day computer repairs and ensure our engineer visit the site within few hours of your call. For peace of mind check our 5 star reviews.


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How this DIY guide and tips works


We think it's important you understand the strengths and limitations of the information provided here. We're aiming to provide the best guides, tips, tools and techniques, but can't guarantee to be perfect, so do note you use the information at your own risk and we cannot accept liability if things go wrong.



How to install RAM in your desktop


Equipment needed


• Compatible memory module(s)


• Non-magnetic-tip screwdriver (for removing the cover on your computer)


• Your system's owner's manual




• Static electricity can damage the components in your system. To protect your system's components from static damage during the installation process, touch any of the unpainted metal surfaces on your computer's frame or wear an ESD wrist strap before handling internal components. Either method will safely discharge static electricity that's naturally present in your body.


• When handling memory modules, be sure to hold them along the side edges using your thumb and index finger. Avoid touching the components and gold pin connectors as damage can occur.


Desktop installation process (for DIMM modules)


1. Make sure you are working in a static-safe environment. Remove any plastic bags or papers from your workspace.


2. Shut down your system. Once your system has been powered off, unplug the power cable.


3. Discharge residual power by pressing and holding the power button for 3-5 seconds.


4. Remove your computer's case cover. Refer to your owner's manual for how to do this.


5. To protect your new memory modules and your system's components from static damage during the installation process, touch any of the unpainted metal surfaces on your computer's frame or use an ESD wrist strap before handling memory and internal components.


6. Locate the memory slots on your desktop using your owner's manual.


7. Remove existing modules as needed. Maximize the performance of your system by filling each slot with high density modules.


8. Align the notches on the module with the ridges in the memory slot. Insert module using firm and even pressure, and push down on the module until the clips on the side of the slot snap into place. If you have more than one open memory slot, fill the lowest numbered slot first. If you can't see any numbers on your motherboard, use the slot that is closest to the filled slots. Consult your owner's manual if necessary.


9. Once your new modules have been installed, replace the case cover on your computer and reconnect the power cord. Installation is now complete.



Warning Signs of Hard Drive Failure


It might be useful to know that your hard drive often gives you clear signals when it’s going to fail, which at least gives you the chance to get your important data backed up before the scourge of home computing strikes.


Here are some of the most common indicators:


1. Slow-running system, frequent freezes and the blue screen of death.


These are not necessarily signs that your hard drive is failing; it might simply be too full and need clearing out. They are signs that all is not well, though, and you’d be wise to make a back-up and potentially make a fresh install of the system in Safe Mode. Simply put, assume the worst when these intermittent problems start to strike and you won’t be caught out.


2. Corrupted data.


You know you saved the file, it looks like it’s there and yet it just won’t open. Corrupted data and disappearing files are a clear sign of a gradual hard drive failure. So if it starts to happen regularly, it’s time to protect your information. Computer repairs might be possible at this stage, so take action before it’s too late.


3. Accumulation of bad sectors.


Bad sectors don’t maintain data integrity, but unfortunately they are not immediately apparent and you have to go looking for them. The best way is to run regular health checks on your disk, either by using third party software or your own operating system. These checks can save you a great deal of pain down the line, so it’s wise to build them in to a regular maintenance schedule.


4. Unusual noises, especially clicks.


If your hard drive is clicking then this is pretty much your final warning. This is the disk head trying to write and failing to do so. Grinding or high-pitched whines are also clear indicators of hardware failure and could be things like the spindle or bearings giving out.


5. SMART warning.


The operating system has its own Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology (SMART). Sadly, you simply cannot always rely on it to accurately predict when the hard drive will fail.


While you may be able to repair software errors caused by bad sectors and in some cases you may be able to repair the bad sectors themselves, if your drive has begun to fail mechanically nothing will stop the process. Know the warning signs of hard drive failure to help prevent disaster.



Use hidden international wallpapers and themes – Windows 7


When you first install Windows 7, it asks for your language, time and currency. Based on your responses, it installs a set of wallpapers and themes. If you choose English (United States) for your time and currency format, for example, the available desktop backgrounds and themes will include a United States section with scenery from locations such as Maine, the Southwest and so on.


Hidden, though, are background scenery and themes from other English-speaking countries — Australia, Canada, Great Britain and South Africa. Normally, you can’t access those backgrounds or themes, but there is a simple way you can install and use them:


1. In the search box in the Start menu, type

C:\Windows\Globalization\MCT and press Enter. (Note: If Windows 7 is installed in a drive other than C:, use that letter instead.)


2. Windows Explorer will launch and show you a list of subfolders under C:\Windows\Globalization\MCT: MCT-AU, MCT-CA, MCT-GB, MCT-US, and MCT-ZA. Each subfolder has wallpapers for a specific country: AU for Australia, CA for Canada, GB for Great Britain, US for the United States, and ZA for South Africa.

For any of the countries whose wallpaper and themes you want to use, go into its Theme folder, for example,

C:\Windows\Globalization\MCT\MCT-ZA\Theme. Double-click the theme you see there (for example ZA).


3. That will install a shortcut to the theme and wallpapers in the Personalization section of Control Panel.


You can now use them as you would any other theme or background, by right-clicking the desktop, choosing Personalize, and choosing a background or theme. They will be listed in their own section.



Watch ASCII Star Wars in Windows


Every one of us has watched Star Wars on television, computer or in a theatre. It is the same movie with aliens fighting each other for galaxies and such stuff. There is nothing new in it. But wait, have you watched an ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) version of Star Wars and that too in Windows using telnet? A network protocol known only to computer wizards. Well if you have not, then you must do it now!


On Windows …10, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 7 and Windows Vista


Telnet is turned off by default in the latest versions of Windows. So, in order to watch star wars, you must first enable telnet by going to Control Panel › Programs › Turn Windows Feature On or Off and ticking both the telnet check boxes.


After doing that, follow the steps given below:-

Go to Start, Search in Windows Vista and Windows 7 and Windows 10.

On Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, open the main Start page.

Type telnet and press Enter. In the command prompt window, type “o” without quotes and press Enter.


Now type “” without the quotes and press Enter.


If you do not need telnet anymore, you can turn it off.



Launch taskbar programs with your keyboard


Many of us—especially users of the Start Menu-less Windows 8—use the Windows taskbar as a quick launch bar, populating it with our day-to-day programs. Opening those programs is as simple as clicking them, but there’s actually a faster way to launch software on your taskbar: Simple keyboard combinations.


Every program to the right of the Start button is assigned its own numerical shortcut, with the first program being “1,” the second being “2,” and so on, all the way to the 10th taskbar shortcut, which gets “0.” Pressing the Windows key, plus the number of the program you want to open, launches it.



More secret right-click options


Secret right-click options revealed by the Shift key don’t end with file paths, though.


The basic Send to tool that appears as an option when you right-click on a file or folder is handy enough indeed, allowing you to move the item quickly to a handful of locations on your PC, add it to a .zip archive, or send it off in an email or fax.


But that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Holding down the Shift key as you right-click a file or folder will add an absolute ton of new folder locations to the basic Send to menu.



Add new folders to File Explorer’s Favorites


Another way to quickly open favored folders is, well, by adding them to the Favorites section at the top of File Explorer. The process for doing so isn’t exactly obvious, however.


Drag the folder itself onto the Favorites icon in File Explorer’s left-hand pane, or navigate to the chosen folder directly, then right-click the Favorites icon and select Add current location to Favorites.


Dropping common folders into Favorites is especially handy when it comes time to save files. If you wind up filling your Favorites with too much stuff, just right-click the icon in File Explorer and select Restore Favorites links to wipe the slate clean and bring back the default folders.



Some Useful Computer Tips / Shortcuts


Windows ‘God Mode’, improving speed and keyboard shortcuts – there’s a whole range of tips computer users should know about – but most don’t. Here’s a few just for you, hopefully enabling you to get the best experience possible out of your home computer use.


Unless you’re vastly experienced in home computing, it’s highly likely that you’ve all manner of programs running on your machine each time you boot it up – and you’re blissfully unaware of it. Programs like to start themselves up, so that they’re instantly ready when needed and can perform updates and checks via the Internet. However, too many of these can slow your computer down.


You don’t really need a lot of programs running in the background – so, depending on which version of Windows you’re running, go to the Startup folder in System Configuration (enter “msconfig” into your Run… box) and stop programs you’re familiar with from running. Don’t touch anything that you don’t know about, as it could be critical to operating the computer.


Keyboard shortcuts provide easier navigation, and one of the best is ALT + TAB, so you don’t have to go endlessly clicking around to find a program or folder. Try it now and see. To undo something, especially for typing, use CTRL + Z, and for when things go wrong and you want to end a hanging program that just will not stop running, go to CTRL + ALT + DEL and you’ll see the options there.


Web browsing is a major part of the home computing experience, and again there’s an array of shortcuts and tricks you can deploy to make it faster and more enjoyable. Closed a browser tab by mistake and want it back in a flash? No problem – just hit CTRL + ALT + T. Use CTRL + TAB to easily flick through all your open tabs, and get straight to the address bar with ALT + D. If you don’t want anyone to know what you were up to online, instantly launch privacy mode with CTRL + Shift + P in Firefox and CTRL + Shift + N in Chrome.


About that ‘God Mode’ – it’s a hidden file whose components can be adjusted to change various elements of the operating system, so it’s probably best to leave it in the hands of the creators!



Optimizing Your Computer (Windows)


Installing the latest available updates may help fix errors you’re experiencing, and will keep your computer secure and stable. Windows Update will handle all of the checking and installing. Open the Start menu or screen and type “windows update” to find the Windows Update utility.


• In Windows 10, you can find the Windows Update utility in the “Update and Security” section of the new Settings menu.


The amount of space on your hard drive doesn’t normally have a massive impact on your performance, but if you dip below 20% free space on the drive Windows is installed on, you may notice some slowdown. Windows relies on this free space to move and store temporary files, and without it your computer can slow to a crawl. Regularly clearing out old files can help keep your system running smoothly.


• Open the Computer/This PC window (Win+E) and find your Windows drive (usually C:). This drive should have at least 20% free space available for optimum performance.


Open the Start menu or screen and type “disk cleanup” to find the utility. Select your Windows drive and wait for it to be analyzed. Check the boxes for each of the types of files you want to remove. Each entry will display how much space you will reclaim by deleting them.


• Check your Downloads and Documents folders to see if you’re stockpiling old files you don’t need anymore.


As you use your computer, you’ll likely accrue a variety of programs that you used once but then forgot about. These old programs can take up a lot of space on your drive, and some may be running in the background, taking up system resources. Regularly uninstalling old programs can help keep your computer running smoothly.


• Open the Control Panel and select “Uninstall a program” or “Programs and Features.” Make your way through the list of installed programs and remove the ones you don’t use anymore. Highlight a program and click “Uninstall” to remove it. If you aren’t sure what a program is, look it up using a web search.


Many programs will set themselves to start alongside Windows. While this makes opening the program quicker when you need it, too many programs can have a significant impact on the time it takes for Windows to start.


• Windows 10 and 8 – Press Ctrl+ Shift+Esc to open the Task Manager. Click “More details” to expand it, then click the “Startup” tab. Select the items you want to remove from your startup and click “Disable.” If you aren’t sure what a program is or if its required for startup, perform a web search for it.


• Windows 7 and Vista – Press Win+R and type “msconfig.” Click the “Startup” tab. Uncheck the box next to each item you want to disable. If you don’t know what one of the programs is, you can look it up online. Just type the “Startup Item” name into a search engine and the first results should let you know what it is.


A lot of popular programs are poorly optimized, and can slow your computer down when they’re running. Common culprits include Norton Antivirus, iTunes, and Adobe Reader. All of these programs have free, light-weight alternatives that can significantly speed up your computer.


• Instead of using Norton as your antivirus, consider using Windows’ built-in Microsoft Defender. Avast and Bit-Defender are also two popular free options. See Turn on Windows Defender for instructions on using Windows Defender.


• If you use iTunes for your media, consider a program like foobar2000 or MediaMonkey, both of which support syncing your iOS device.



Removing Adware and Cleaning Browsers (Windows)


Open the Control Panel


If your web browsers are running slow, or your plagued with pop-ups, advertisements, and toolbars, you may have an adware infection. Adware is unwanted software that is designed to hijack your web browser, leading you to different searches and littering your browser with ads. The first step towards removing these infections is by uninstalling unknown programs through the Control Panel. The process varies a little depending on your version of Windows:


• Windows 10 and 8 – Right-click on the Windows button and select “Control Panel.”


• Windows 7, Vista, and XP – Click the Start button and select “Control Panel” from the Start menu.


Select “Uninstall a program” or "Programs and Features".


This will display a list of all of the programs installed on your computer.


Find recently-installed programs that you don’t recognize


You can sort the list by install date, which can help you find programs that may have been installed recently without your knowledge. Go through each program on the list and make note of the ones you don’t recognize. Perform a web search for each unrecognized entry to determine if it is an unwanted program.


Select an unwanted program and click "Uninstall".


Follow the prompts to remove the program from your system. Repeat for any additional programs that you want to remove.


• This would be a good time to remove programs that you do recognize, but no longer need. Old games, unused browsers, utilities that you used once and then never used again, and other legitimate programs can add to your computer’s bloat. Remove them to free up some space and potentially speed up your computer’s start-up time.


Reset your web browsers


Your web browsers may still have lingering remnants of the malware removed by the scanners. Resetting your browsers will remove any additional software and return them to their default settings:


• Internet Explorer – Click the Tools button and select “Internet options.” Click the “Advanced” tab and click “Reset.” Check the “Delete personal settings” box and click “Reset.”


• Chrome – Click the Chrome Menu button and select “Settings.” Click “Show advanced settings” and then scroll to the bottom. Click “Reset settings” and then click “Reset.”


• Firefox – Click the Firefox Menu button and then click “?”. Select “Troubleshooting Information” and then click “Refresh Firefox.” Click “Refresh Firefox” again to confirm.


If still having trouble with malware or spyware contact us and we will be happy to help you.



Basic Troubleshooting


Reboot your computer if you’re experiencing issues


This may sound like a simple suggestion, but rebooting your computer will solve more problems than you may think. Make sure to save any open documents before rebooting.


Reset your network if you can’t connect to the internet


If you could visit websites, and now you can’t, try rebooting your network hardware. This will often fix connection problems with modems and routers.


• Unplug the power cable from your modem, and unplug the power cable from your router (if you have one).


• Wait about thirty seconds, then plug your modem back in.


• After the lights on your modem have finished turning on, plug your router back in. Your network should be up and running again in about a minute.


Check your computer’s clock


If your system clock somehow got set incorrectly, you may not be able to load security certificates from websites. This can cause problems loading many webpages. Check your system clock and set it to the correct time.


Reboot your printer if you can’t connect to it


If your printer is no longer appearing, rebooting it may get it to show up again. Either turn the printer off with the Power button or pull the power cord out. Wait about thirty seconds, then power it back on. If nothing works we are here to help. See our website for further details local pc callout repairs services .



Hard Drive Failure


There are few sounds more horrible to a computer user than the clunk or thud of a hard disk drive failing on your computer. That sound usually means a terminal failure of the drive, rapidly followed by your operating system crashing and the computer failing to boot. But even then, your data could be recoverable. Of course, you’ve got plenty of backups of your vital data, photos and other information, haven’t you!?


The first thing to check is that your hard drive hasn’t come loose somehow. Regular heating or a sudden knock can cause a loose connection. Check the fitting and connections are secure (most laptop hard drives are under a panel held in by a couple of screws, for easy upgrading). On a desktop, check the power lead is connected, and the drive cable is fitted tightly to both the hard disk and the motherboard.


If that doesn’t help and your hard drive still fails to boot, you will be stuck at the computer BIOS screen. There are three steps you can take in repairing the damage. The first is to create a boot DVD or USB memory stick (see and try to start your computer using that. If you can read the drive (some data may still be accessible), recover what data you can to an external hard drive, replace your old drive and reinstall everything.


A second solution (or your first port of call if the above sounds too technical) is to call a pc callout repair service provided by British Repairs, where we have drive reading software that can read data from damaged hard disks; we will copy your data to a brand new drive with your operating system freshly reinstalled.


Finally, if that doesn’t work and the data is particularly valuable or irreplaceable, you can send the drive off to a specialist data recovery service that has special tools and hardware to access any recoverable data from the drive. This is a costly option but can produce miracles if you’d lost all hope.


Some hard drives can fail slowly over time, so if you see any apparently random errors or crashes, check the fault codes don’t relate to hard drive read or write errors. If so, replacing it before it crashes for good is a sensible way to keep your data safe, aside from regular backups to other drives or USB memory sticks.



How to Backup you data?


Always backup your data on regular basis. Essential data could be made up of many things you don’t want to lose if your computer unexpectedly crashes. Precious photos of the family, important work documents, copies of letters or even entire websites – these all need to be backed up securely. Here are some suggestions on how to go about it: –


CDs/DVDs or USB sticks


If your essential data is quite small in size, you could probably fit it onto a rewritable DVD or USB stick. The advantage is that you don’t need to have a great deal of technical knowledge – anyone who has saved a file on a USB stick is able to back something up onto it. However, if you have a lot of data, such as home videos or other large files, this may not be for you.


External hard drive


This is a more secure option as it means there’s no chance of deterioration (in the case of DVDs) or getting lost (like a small USB stick). The cost of external hard drives drops every year and now most home computing data can fit onto one drive. Often, these drives also come with software to help you through the backup process.


Cloud (on the web)


This is the best option for people who still need frequent access to the data that they back up, such as work documents or important office spreadsheets, for example. There are many free cloud data services that will let you have a free account to start with, such as Google Drive or Dropbox. A copy is automatically saved online as well as on your computer, so you don’t need to remember to run a formal backup.


Backing up is a good habit often ignored in home computing. If your computer does fail but you’ve backed everything up, rest assured that British Repairs can help you restore your data quickly and effectively.


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