The repair consisted of a couple of things, firstly checking that the broadband connection in a newly acquired property was working correctly and that the wireless connection was functioning. By default the laptop they were using seemed to be connecting to a different BT Openzone hotspot, not their own broadband. Following on from that I needed to give the laptop a quick check to make sure it was functioning correctly (it wasn’t) and have a look at another faulty laptop.
After using my trusty GPS to find the house (I’d be utterly lost without this thing) I parked up my car, complete with new magnetic advertisements on the side (very swish) and made my way to the house. The laptop was downstairs and I took a look at that first, it was connected to a pretty weak broadband signal, a BT Openzone hot spot in fact. Obviously not their actual connection. I was shown upstairs to the router (and took the laptop up with me) and asked if they had an ethernet cable so I could connect the laptop wire. As an aside I need to remember to bring things like this with me! Anyway, after some hunting we found it and I connected the laptop up to the router.
Fortunately I know my way around the BT Homehubs fairly well now (being unfortunate enough to have one at home, they really are fairly rubbish for anything but the most basic of networks) so it was nice and simple to log on with the default username and password. At this point I swapped the password around to something the customer would remember, in case they ever needed to log on again.
Browsing through the Homehub it seemed wifi was disabled. I enabled it, gave the network a nice friendly name (instead of Homehub-12fh-1az or whatever it uses by default) and asked the customer to enter a password. After saving and restarting the router, just to be sure, I unplugged the ethernet cable from the laptop and switched on the wireless. Straight away it came up with the new network, fantastic.
I took the laptop back downstairs, just to ensure the signal was strong enough (I’ve found the homehub to have an especially weak wifi signal in my home) and it was indeed fine downstairs.
Now we were back on-line it was time to make sure the laptop was running well. The customer had bought some anti-virus software (Kapersky, I believe) but it wasn’t activated correctly. After having a browse around the laptop it seemed to have, for some reason, the following installed:
No wonder it was a little muddled. I downloaded the removal tools for Norton and McCaffee (am I spelling that right? Probably not.) and gave them the boot off the laptop. I then tried to enter the customer’s serial code in to Kappersky to register it; it was having none of it.
So off came Kapersky too, I had a look at the original email the serial number came from and it seems Kapersky have a variety of different Anti-Virus products. This laptop had Kapersky 2011 installed on it, whereas the serial the customer had purchased was for ‘Kapersky Pure’. Sure enough after installing Kapersky Pure the serial number was accepted fine.
I gave it the quick once over (check msconfig for anything suspicious running, stop any services that didn’t need to be running on boot, run MalwareBytes to clear things up a little) and removed a couple of advertisement toolbars from Internet Explorer that were causing issues. All done!
Now for the last part of the job, the faulty laptop (belonging to a friend of the customer). This one didn’t take long. It wasn’t charging correctly, sometimes it would, sometimes it wouldn’t. The owner was afraid it was the power connector inside the laptop. However after a bit of testing I was 99% certain it was actually the charger cable and not the connector on the motherboard. The laptop stopped charging when the flex of the cable was bent in a certain direction, when held straight not matter how much I shook the cable about in the connector it was still fine.
I had a quick look on amazon.co.uk, found a replacement for £9.99 and wrote down the model number so the customer could pass it on to his friend.