Being so close to Brize we often get service personnel pop by to fix their computers. Most recently we had a chap drop in to have a look at his laptop that wasn’t loading into Windows. His biggest concern was that he was due to deploy to Afghanistan shortly and he used the laptop to keep in contact with family and friends back home. We got the problem sorted and he came in to pick it up.
However that’s not where this story finishes. Not long after we heard from him again, with a similar problem, except by this time he was already in Afghanistan. He’d been using his laptop without problem, turned it off one evening and came to it the next day and once again he couldn’t load into Windows. Fortunately he could get into safe mode, so could use Skype to some degree, but without sound it was a pretty unfulfilling experience having to instant message people rather than talk to them.
The real twist in this is story is that we had installed a trial version ByteSafe Home on his laptop. As he was connected to the internet I was able to connect to his computer and start to hunt around for possible causes. First thing I looked at were the error logs within Windows; sadly they pointed to a Windows update that had downloaded previously and was having problems installing. More often than not with Windows update problems the only solution is to roll the laptop back to a previous date, though sometimes not even this works. At this stage of things the last thing I wanted to do was attempt a repair and leave him without a working laptop – so I rigged up a quick fix for him. We talked about a few possible outcomes and really the most important thing for him was being able to use Skype. So I made a few registry changes to safe mode to allow the audio drivers to be loaded and hey presto the speakers came to life when he next rebooted his laptop (I was on the phone to him –using Skype as it happens- and a smile went across my face as soon as I heard his speakers singing in the background). Whilst it was far from ideal situation it sorted him out in a bind and meant that he could stay in contact with loved ones back home.