As an independent consultant providing a personal service, there are some IT services that I can not provide
I can not provide the expertise or the parts to repair computers. I can change a hard drive and add memory, but that’s about it. If you switch your computer on and nothing happens (no lights, no drive spinning up, no fan starting up) then you’ve got a hardware problem and will need to consult a hardware repair specialist. Here’s a little tip, though. If your computer appears to be dead when you switch it on, try depressing the on/off switch for a continuous 20 seconds. Then let it go and then try and start it again as normal. There’s just a chance that it didn’t close down properly after the previous session and the 20 second press forces it to completely close.
If your hard drive has failed or is failing, and your entire, unfinished, doctorate is on it and you haven’t got any backups, then you will need the services of a specialist data recovery company. If you get into this position, it’s crucial that you don’t use the computer until an expert has tried to get your data back. Seek specialist help immediately.
Support for Company Servers
Specialist knowledge is needed to maintain server-based computer networks. If this is the kind of support you need then I recommend looking for a Microsoft Certified Technician. Neither can I help very much if you are having trouble connecting to your employer’s VPN. If you are having such problems then you will need to speak with the IT technician managing the VPN. The only help I can provide in such circumstances is as a go-between – speaking to the technician on your behalf. This is not usually needed or useful, but I’m happy to do it if you are happy to pay me.
Microsoft Exchange Accounts
Most Microsoft Exchange accounts are managed by organisations that have their own computer management and support. Look to them for support with Microsoft Exchange accounts. Neither do I support Exchange accounts hosted by Microsoft.
Support for Microsoft 365 Business
I do support Microsoft 365 Home, but support for the business versions needs knowledge of the administration of the account and users that I am not qualified to offer.
Support for Domestic Network-enabled Devices
I don’t have Sky or BT online services, or a Wi, or an X-box, or anything like that. If you would like me to help you set up such services and devices on your home network then I may be able to help, but it would be my trouble-shooting expertise and general experience, rather than specific knowledge, that might be of use to you. Also, you may appreciate having someone to deal with specific companies’ “customer support” personnel on your behalf. I am happy to do this, but, once more, my trouble-shooting skills are probably of more use than my specific knowledge.
Advanced Product Training
If you need to use Photoshop, Excel, or Word, for instance, at a professional level then my broader general knowledge of these products and how to train beginners in using them, is probably not going to be deep enough for your needs. You will need a specialist trainer in that product and not a “general consultant”.
IT Training for Groups
The training that I carry out is 1:1 and geared to the specific trainee’s needs. A very different approach is needed for training groups, where an agreed syllabus is needed. It is not efficient for a “one-man band” to develop the range of different syllabuses that would be required. I recommend a specialist computer training company if you need several people to be taught the same material at the same time.
I do not hold clients’ passwords. I am happy to offer advice in this area, but I am not responsible for your access to your programs and data. There are several blog posts on this site that consider the use of passwords.
Although I designed the website you are currently viewing, plus a handful more for clients, it does not make sense for me to offer web design services as this is a fast-developing specialist area. Seek out a specialist – there are thousands of them!
Social Networking Sites
I do not think that social networking sites can be trusted with personal data and I do not use them myself. Therefore, I don’t know enough about them – or feel positive enough about their benefits – to help others in an informed way. The only exceptions to this are that I do have a LinkedIn account and can give basic help with using this service. I also use WhatsApp.
I work normal office hours from Monday to Friday. I do not work in the evenings or at weekends. Naturally, there are occasional exceptions to this for existing clients with urgent problems but, generally speaking, if you need to know that you can reach support at any time of the day or night on any day of the week then I am not the person for you.
The best way to find out if I can help you is to contact me.