Computer troubles, and Virgin Internet issues.

Prior to going on holiday I had a desktop computer that I looked at. They were having trouble accessing their email and the computer was running dreadfully slow. Fortunately for me the customer only lived round the corner so I didn’t even have to get in my car.

On arriving I decided to sort the slow running problem first, the computer was becoming unbearable to use. It didn’t have the usual characteristics of a slow running machine, things processed quickly, they were just slow to be drawn to the screen. I had a hunch what the issue was and checking Control Panel->System confirmed it, somehow the display drivers had been removed and replaced with default windows ones. After opening up the case, checking the motherboard and establishing what the internal graphics card was I managed to find the drivers online, download them and install them. Success, a fixed pc.

Whilst doing this they also mentioned they had a laptop which was causing them some bother, the main issue being that it wouldn’t boot up if a disc wasn’t present in the dvd drive! Very odd. Delving in to the bios I spotted in the boot priority settings that the hard-drive wasn’t even listed, changing these settings round so it first tried to boot from CD, then from USB and then from the internal harddisk fixed the problem.

That brought us round to the email account, which I must admit had me stumped. It could access the SMTP server (the outgoing email server) and send email but it couldn’t receive it (the Pop3 server). It could successfully contact it and see how many messages were there, but couldn’t do anything with them.

I tried telnetting to the incoming POP3 server, which means instead of using Outlook to access the emails I used a text based service. From this I could list the emails, see their size and delete them, but I was thoroughly unable to read them. Very peculiar.

So I thought that maybe using the Virgin Media webmail service (logging in through their web page, rather than using Outlook) could at least give us a workaround. Trying to log in to that redirected us to a blank page that just timed out. Bizarre.

As we had a laptop around I tried on that too, the same result. Definitely not machine dependent, and looking more likely to be a virgin mail issue.

To establish if it was Virgin or the customer’s connection I remote desktoped to my own machine and used my connection to access the webmail. Success! So Virgin Webmail was up but the customers connection appeared faulty.

I asked the customer to phone up Virgin and let me speak with them, after waiting in a queue for a while and answering the security questions the phone was passed to me. I explained to the poor lass on the other end of the phone what I’d done (in quite a lot of detail) and that it was definitely the connection at fault and she admitted there was a problem in the area and that it’d be fixed by the following weekend.

After hanging up I showed the customer (I hate referring to people like that!) how to access the Virgin Media webmail from their mobile, as a work around.

I then left and 12 hours later set off on my way to Turkey!

Whilst away I was left a message by someone having problems with their laptop, and their email. The day after I got back from my holiday (see how dedicated I am?!) I went round to have a look. The laptop tidy was a pretty standard repair, the email account however was the same issue the previous customer had had.

I phoned Virgin up, nagged at them and they admitted there was still an issue. They credited the customers account with £5 as way of an apology.

After getting home from the repair I had a check on the internet, seems an awful lot of people in the Wakefield area (WF1, WF2, WF4 and WF10 postcodes at least) were having issues with the service and not just the mail server. Virgin have had massive routing problems to a variety of sites, severely hindering customers internet connections and it’s had been going on for quite some time.

Some people on the internet has successfully argued a free month’s internet usage out of Virgin for the inconvenience so I passed on this information to my two customers in case they wanted to try it for themselves.

At last this morning (just prior to publishing this post) Virgin appear to have sorted the problem out, I’ve dropped my customers a text to let them know it should be sorted and to reboot their rooters.

Everyone happy.

Leave a Comment