A Day in the Life
Updated: Sep 10
Norm’s Computer Services offers all sorts of computer-related services in a wide range of suburbs in Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan and the Redlands. If you’re having a problem with your computer, your home or business network, your printer, or anything else related to technology, there’s a good chance that I would be able to assist you. In this post I describe a day in the life of Norm’s Computer Services. In fact, the day described was the Monday of the week at the time of writing.
Laptop Graphics Driver Issue
I started the day in Woodridge with a client who had recently updated the display driver on his laptop. Unfortunately, following the update, the screen was constantly flickering and the mouse spinning in a circle such that he was unable to do anything at all. As soon as I observed what was happening it seemed obvious that the issue was with the display adapter driver. As a result, my first port of call would be to uninstall the graphics driver and then reinstall it and to see if this would resolve the issue.
My client had updated the driver to its latest version by downloading from the AMD website. I began by uninstalling the graphics driver using Device Manager. I then reinstalled it from an up-to-date resource of drivers I carry on a flash drive. After restarting the computer, unfortunately the problem returned, and I concluded that the latest version of the driver was not fully compatible with Windows or was causing a problem with Windows. As a result, the most convenient option for this client would be to actually disable the AMD graphics driver and use the bult-in Microsoft driver for his graphics.
Clearly disabling a display driver results in limitations to a computer’s graphics capability. However, in the case of this particular client, to do so wouldn’t impinge on the way he was using his laptop. So I disabled the graphics driver in Device Manager, restarted the computer and everything worked perfectly. The client was satisfied because the screen appeared exactly as it had done prior to the issue developing, and the laptop was functioning normally.
An alternative solution for this issue would have been to retain the version of the graphics driver in use prior to the issue developing in the first place, and then to prevent it from being updated via Windows Update. However, this solution could only be implemented using Windows 10 Pro and not Windows 10 Home, and the solution described above was satisfactory for this particular client.
Multiple Monitor Setup
My second client of the day lived in St Lucia in Brisbane. This lady’s main issue was that she was unable to get a second monitor working with her laptop. She had one monitor connected using the laptop’s HDMI port and wanted to have a second monitor connected via its USB-C port, but was getting no output to the second monitor.
The laptop in question was an Asus Vivobook 15 and, when I looked at it closely, I could see that its USB-C port did not support DisplayPort over USB-C. In other words, it wasn't possible to merely connect a suitable cable from the USB-C port on the laptop to the HDMI port on the monitor and to see an output on the display. The only way to get a second monitor working with this laptop would be to utilise an active adapter which would implement the functionality required to facilitate a graphics output from one of the USB ports on the computer.
I sourced an active adapter for my client which would connect to one of the USB-A ports on the laptop (not USB-C) and provide the required functionality for connection to a second monitor. I installed the product's driver for her so that, when she received the adapter, it would immediately work after
connecting everything together.
If you’d like to understand a little more about the connectivity supported by USB-C ports, please check out my blog post USB-C Connection Considerations.
Problem with Email Client Software
My third clients of the day were an older couple in Cornubia. They'd been using Mozilla Thunderbird as their email client program for many years, but unfortunately the program was no longer opening for them. When they would try to launch it they were getting an error message telling them that 'the side-by-side configuration is incorrect'. As a result, the Thunderbird application was failing to open.
The error in question is a Windows operating system error often resulting from a corrupted Visual C++ package on the computer. I decided that I would first see if a reinstall of Thunderbird would repair and resolve the issue. I visited the Thunderbird website, downloaded the latest version of Thunderbird, installed it and the problem was immediately resolved. We opened Thunderbird successfully and the inbox began to load with the unread emails from recent days.
Microsoft 365 and OneDrive
My next client was a regular business client and in this case I assisted her remotely. To do this I logged into her computer using an application called AnyDesk without having to actually go to her place. She wanted to purchase a licence for Microsoft Office 365 so that she could use OneDrive to share files between herself and two other colleagues in her business.
We visited the Microsoft 365 website and purchased a licence for Microsoft 365. We then used the license to activate Microsoft Office on her computer and then to set up OneDrive. In order for her to use this to share business files only, we also had to move her files and folders out of the OneDrive folder already set up on her computer. We got everything set up in her new OneDrive so that she could share the required files and folders with her two colleagues. I would then need to set things up the same way for them on their computers in the coming days so that they could all work together effectively.
New Computer Setup
My fifth job of the day was with another business client, this time in Capalaba, for whom I had set up a new laptop the week before. They had previously been running Microsoft Windows on an iMac, but it was an old iMac which had become very slow. The computer would have required a complete overhaul and upgrade to get it working well again, so they had purchased a new laptop to replace the iMac. My visit was merely to provide one or two finishing touches to the setup, which included procuring a Microsoft 365 license, importing their old emails into Microsoft Outlook, and one or two other minor tweaks.
Laptop Reset and Reinstall of Windows
To complete a busy day to start the week, my final job was in Cleveland. This was a reasonably straightforward one to finish the day. My client’s workplace had been offloading some laptops and he’d been given a Dell laptop. My task was simply to wipe the laptop and reinstall Windows so that it would be functioning like a brand new laptop for his own personal use.
Although the task was theoretically straightforward, I discovered fairly quickly that the BIOS on this computer was locked with a password which was unknown to my client. However, this was only a brief impediment which I was able to overcome by launching Windows Recovery Mode. I was then able to boot off my Windows 11 flash drive, erase the laptop's storage, and install Windows 11.
According to Dell's official documentation, this particular laptop was unable to support Windows 11. However, as I've stated in a previous blog post, I can usually update computers from Windows 10 to Windows 11 even when Microsoft or the computer manufacturer reports that this is not possible.
I installed Windows 11 Pro on the laptop, checked that it was successfully activated and then installed the required drivers, mostly from the resource on my flash drive and one or two others from the Dell website. As a result the laptop was then like a brand new Windows 11 laptop ready for use.
A Busy Day
You've read about one specific day in the life of Norm’s Computer Services. This particular day was a busy one with six separate jobs, five of them completed on-site in various locations, and one of them accomplished remotely.
Are you having a an issue similar to one of those described here? Or perhaps you're having a completely different issue related to your computer, network, printer or something else. Whatever it is, I'm here to help and I'm happy to come to you to assist with computer repairs and support if you're somewhere in Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan or the Redlands. Please don't hesitate to get in touch.