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I've not posted recently as I have started a new job!

I am starting a primary school ICT technician role shared between two schools in Devon.
I've been asked by the theatre group that I am a member of to convert some of their scripts into eBooks.

To do this, I've been using a piece of freeware software called Sigil
I had to reinstall Windows Vista to get a workstation up and running. The computer had gotten itself into a loop and would not progress to the desktop. The repair windows installation was unable to automatically repair the problem, and even safe-mode would not boot further than the progress bar that would normally appear beneath the windows logo. Said logo never appeared and the PC would sit for hours on the black screen without any further progress.

The secondary hard-drive had been added using a IDE to SATA adapter board, rather than a PCI SATA card, thus the BIOS was discovering the secondary disk first, and the old primary disk (through the on-board SATA connection, second). Altering the cabling resolved this so the devices were listed correctly in the BIOS.

Then I was able to run a fresh install from the Windows Vista CD, and copy the backups of the user's files into new user accounts to the client's
I've been contacted by a client informing me that her 'pictures were just gone'. Upon investigation it appears that the files spread throughout several folders (so it isn't a case of accidentally moving the folder into another, and the recycle bin is empty).

Google brought up the following:




Client is currently running a scan-disk - but I suspect this will turn out normal from reading the articles.
A client approached me with two desktop PCs and a laptop. Both desktops were Windows XP and the laptop was running Windows Vista. Upon investigation I discovered that the power supply unit had failed on the newer of the two desktops, and that the fault with the laptop was on the motherboard not in the power adaptor.

Through the purchase of additional memory, and an IDE and SATA PCI expansion card, I was able to consolidate the desktops and the laptop's SATA hard-drive into a single system. I used the recovery partition to reinstall windows on the newer desktop, then upgraded it from XP Home SP1 to SP3.

The graphics card began reporting a 'out of resources' error immediately after the recovery process, and would not start the driver. This eventually turned out to be due to the dial-up modem card. As the client was using a LAN cable to her router, I removed the old modem expansion card from the machine, which freed up the resources and fixed the graphics.

I ensured all drivers and windows were fully upgraded, and installed a few freeware packages that I thought the customer would find useful - primarily LibreOffice, PDF Creator and Irfanview.

I delivered the PC to the clients home and set it up and configured it, ensuring they were happy with the situation before I left.




So I had a chance to use a friend's Windows 8 mobile phone today. Not particularly impressed. Lots of menu options that aren't what you are looking for, or direct you to sites where you have to pay money. The tiles really cut down the number of options you can see on the screen at any one time, which leads to pages and pages of tiles. All I wanted to do was put some mp3 files on it. Not hard? No, not hard, but very aggravating.

An Android phone for example, I would plug in. Then copy the files to the hard-drive that appears in Windows Explorer.

This phone? Window's update didn't recognise it. So then I needed to search for drivers. Turns out you need this discontinued piece of software from Microsoft called Zune. You install it, and it spends ages trawling through your Win7 Library directories building a database of music files. Then the phone needs updating, which is a very slow progress that repeats over and over. I can see their point, they are assuming (wrongly) that people will only connect their phone to their own PC. But still, installing all this on my PC just to move a few files to the phone. :-(

So yeah, a two minute or less task just became an hour or more. [sarcasm]Thank you Microsoft[/sarcasm]
I have been approached by a couple of clients recently about installing new hard drives in their PC.

The first client was using Windows 7 and wanted to add an additional SATA Hard drive to their current configuration. They had successfully connected the drive, but required talking through the initialisation, partitioning and formatting processes.

This I was able to offer using Skype's 'Send my screen' functionality to talk the client step-by-step through the process. One thing that this call highlighted was that the right-click menus in the Computer Management: Storage section of the Control Panel Administrative Tools are very counter intuitive. There are three completely independent menus depending on whether you click on the drive listed in the top window, the partition layout diagram for the drive or the label of the partition diagram. My client had discovered the first two menus, but not the third and therefore could not find the 'Initialise drive' menu entry.

The second client had a more complicated issue.

Their Dell Dimension 5150 was crashing with several different Blue Screen of Death error messages. To attempt to resolve this, the client had begun to re-install Windows XP Home from their recovery media, however it was failing to initialise Windows for the first time.

Upon investigation, I discovered that the PC had 5GB of memory installed, consisting of a 2GB module, a 512MB module, another 2GB module and a second 512MB module. This is 1GB more than versions of Windows XP can support. Configuring a BIOS setting to restrict the memory available to the operating system to 256MB made the system stable enough to complete the re-installation of the Windows XP Home operating system. I then scanned the memory using the Dell Utility CD, and found that the 512MB memory modules had damaged sectors. Removing both 512MB memory modules resolved the problem, and also brought the total amount of memory within the 4GB limit. Therefore the BIOS setting could be reset to allow all 4GB to be accessed and used by Windows.

In addition to this, I offered advice and recommended free-ware programs to bring the system up full potential. I installed and configured all the relevant drivers from the Dell Website, located, installed and configured the NETGEAR wireless USB adaptor. I also installed several programs in consultation with the client, including Kindle and Acrobat readers, Irfanview for browsing directories of pictures and GIMP (which is the client's favoured photo-editing system)
Weebly provides a very instictive and easy to use web interface and the ability to create blog posts such as this one. Just because it is free doesn't mean it isn't as proffessional as leading competitors.