Repairing Computers at McKeldin Library


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Terrapin Tech in McKeldin Library is the all-in-one place where Division of Information Technology (DIT) customer support agents intake and repair computers. This guide for Terrapin Tech agents explains the procedures to follow and steps to take for when a customer brings a computer into Terrapin Tech.

Intake appointment

The first appointment a customer makes is the intake appointment. When the customer arrives, it is your job to look at the computer and classify the customer's issue as a software or hardware issue. 

If it is a software issue and the computer user is present, work with the user in order to fix the problem. The solutions for different kinds of software issues vary, but you should always start researching solutions by searching IT Support. The IT Support knowledge base contains all of DIT's shared collective knowledge about technical issues and solutions. If you don't find a solution on IT Support, search other resources such as Apple Support forms, GSX or Google.

If you determine that the issue requires a re-installation of the operating system or that the issue is hardware related (such as a broken screen), the customer will need to leave their computer with us and open a HWREQ (hardware request ticket) with us. Before opening a HWREQ ticket, make sure the customer has recently backed up their data. If the customer left Terrapin Tech and we have NOT asked them if they have a backup of their data, DO NOT PROCEED without confirming the customer has a backup of their data (or is okay to proceed without one).

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Backing up devices

When a customer has to have their computer serviced either with hardware or a software re-install, it is highly recommended that they back up all of their data, as Terrapin Tech is not responsible for data loss of any kind. Users can opt out of a data backup, but we must ALWAYS recommend it and make sure the user is aware of potential data loss.

The type of backup method used differs by what device the user has, but all backup methods require the use of an external hard drive.

The external hard drive capacity must be at least as large as the storage capacity on the computer. For example, for a 512GB MacBook Pro, a user must give us an external hard drive that is at least 512GB in size. If the user does not have an external hard drive, we recommend they buy one from either Amazon or Best Buy. Western Digital (WD) is one of the top brands to recommend.

Customers CANNOT use iCloud to make a backup of their computer unless they only want to store a small group of select files. Google Drive is also a way to do this, however these services should ONLY be used as a last resort if the user cannot give us an external hard drive in any way or if the customer only wants a small group of files backed up.

For Mac systems that turn on and are functional

For Mac systems of any kind that are functional, we must use Time Machine to back up the user's data.

To use Time Machine:

  1. Plug in the external hard drive to the user's computer.
  2. Time Machine will prompt you to back up the computer.

If Time Machine does not prompt you to back up the computer:

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Click Time Machine to set up the backup.

For more information, read Apple's article on how to Back up your Mac with Time Machine.

For Mac systems that are not fully functional

If a Mac does not turn on, or turns on and you are unable to use the computer:

  1. Connect an external display to the computer.
  2. If nothing comes up on the external display, press Command+F1, which mirrors the display instead of extend it.
  3. If you can now use the computer with an external display, back up the computer using Time Machine

We must now take a look at how to get the data off a computer that won't let us in. For all Mac systems except for 2016 and above MacBook Pro's and 2018 and above Mac Mini's, Mac systems have either a Hard Drive or a Solid State drive that is removable. View a service guide on GSX on how to take out the drive for the computer model you are working on. Once the drive is out, place it in one of our SSD enclosures or plug it into one of our HDD to USB cables. Then, plug the drive into one of the store's iMac's. You should now be able to copy the contents of the drive into onto the user's external hard drive.

If the computer does not have a removable drive, GSX has directions on how to transfer the contents from the computer to an external hard drive by using AST2 and DFU mode. This requires the use of the iMac in the store. Direct instructions vary on model to model, so be sure you find the article for your exact model in GSX.

For Windows machines that turn on and are functional

If a windows machine turns on and is functional, the best way to back up a user's data is by plugging in the user's external hard drive and dragging and dropping all of the user's folders into the external hard drive. The folders necessary to copy over are all the folders located in the user folder, found here in C:\Users\users name here. If the user has two drives or multiple partitions, be sure to copy the contents of that drive over as well.

For Windows systems that are not fully functional

If a Windows machine is not fully functional, then the best way to back up the data of the computer is to take out the Hard Drive or Solid State Drive in the computer and put it in one of our enclosures or Hard Drive to USB cables. To do this varies by model to model, so be sure you have the proper steps. Once in an enclosure or connected to a Hard Drive to USB cable, connect it to one of the store's iMacs. You will now be able to copy the contents of the drive over to the user's external hard drive. The folders necessary to copy over are all the folders located in the user folder, found here in C:\Users\users name here. If the user has two drives or multiple partitions, be sure to copy the contents of that drive over as well.

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Running diagnostics

On every computer that requires a hardware repair, we must run diagnostics. These diagnostics can help significantly when trying to find out what the issue with the computer is. Diagnostics for computer models vary.

For Apple computers

Turn off the device. Plug the device into power, and plug the device into an ethernet cable. You may have to use a dongle for this. When turning on the Mac, press and hold the Option and D keys at the same time, until you see a spinning globe. On the setup screen, click "I agree" and select a language of your choice. Next, on your own computer, go into GSX and type in the serial number of the computer into the search bar. The model computer should come up, and you should be able to click run diagnostics. There should be a blue bar next to the model computer, signaling that the computer is online. Run the test named, Mac Resource Inspector, and record the results in the notes on the hardware ticket. Be sure to also run any tests you might feel are applicable to the issue and record the results in the hardware ticket.

If the screen on the Mac does not work, you will have to run a Blind MRI. To do this, repeatedly click the enter button on the mac after holding the key combination to boot to diagnostics. You will know when the computer is online when on your own computer GSX has a blue bar next to the computer. Run the test named, "Mac Resource Inspector", and record the results in the notes on the hardware ticket. Be sure to also run any tests you might feel are applicable to the issue and record the results in the hardware ticket.

For Dell computers

Turn off the device and plug the device into power. When turning on the computer, repeatedly click on the F12 button. The button on different computer models might vary, so multiple tries might be needed, or feel free to search up the correct key for the computer model. You should be brought to a screen with multiple options. Using the arrow keys, select Diagnostics. Click on the play button and let the computer run through its tests. You will be required to click on yes or no at the beginning of the test when testing the display, so be sure you are paying attention. While testing, the computer will announce any failures when they happen and ask for your permission to continue. Be sure to note the failure in the ticket, and then continue with the tests. Once the tests are complete, click on the arrow in the bottom right corner to view all of the tests that passed/failed.

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Quoting repairs

Once the user has a backup of their data or has opted out of backing up, we can now move forward to further diagnose the computer. Anything software related such as re-installing an OS is no charge. Anything hardware related where the user has AppleCare or Dell CompleteCare is also no charge, except for battery replacements with Dell computers. 

Apple computers

For Apple computers, be sure to follow the troubleshooting and diagnostic steps on GSX to find the proper issue. You will have to be Apple Certified to proceed. Be sure to open up the computer for any signs of liquid damage if not done so already. If liquid damage is found, this is an automatic Tier 4 Mail in. NOTE: Before getting a quote, be sure the hardware problem is not part of an Apple Service Program. For example, if a user is coming in with a 2017 MacBook Pro and the keyboard keeps repeating keys, this is covered at no cost because it is a service program Apple is running. Without the service program, this would cost the user around $500. For a complete list of programs, visit https://support.apple.com/service-programs. Once the problem with the computer found via the steps in GSX, contact a sales lead or assistant lead to generate a quote for the repair. This quote will be visible to the user, so be sure to send them an email explaining the diagnosis and the quote, and asking if they would like to proceed with the repair. If they would like to proceed, a sales lead or assistant lead will send a payment link. We prefer if credit/debit card is used. If they do not want to proceed, they can pick up their computer. If the computer is covered with AppleCare, no quote is necessary, just order the parts needed. GSX should tell you what parts need to be replaced. To find out the cost of the item if the sales lead or assistant lead does not have it, GSX should bring up a price by clicking on the model computer and clicking service parts
NOTE: After sending a user a quote and an email, set the ticket state to Awaiting information, so that we get a notification when the customer responds if they want to proceed with the repair or not. Finally, place the computer on the Awaiting information shelf.

Dell computers

For Dell computers, be sure to follow any troubleshooting steps on Dell’s website. You will have to be Dell Certified to proceed. Next, open up the computer and check for any signs of liquid damage. Any liquid damage will have to be mailed to Dell directly. Once the problem with the computer found, contact a sales lead or assistant lead to generate a quote for the repair. This quote will be visible to the user, so be sure to send them an email explaining the diagnosis and the quote, and asking if they would like to proceed with the repair. If they would like to proceed, a sales lead or assistant lead will send a payment link. We prefer if credit/debit card is used. If they do not want to proceed, they can pick up their computer. If the computer is covered with Dell CompleteCare, no quote is necessary, just order the parts needed. If the computer is covered with SafeWare, notify a supervisor and place the computer under the order a part shelf.
NOTE: After sending a user a quote and an email, set the ticket state to Awaiting information, so that we get a notification when the customer responds if they want to proceed with the repair or not. Finally, place the computer on the Awaiting information shelf.

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Repairing computers

We have finally reached the final stage of the repair process. When the necessary parts that we order come in, they will be placed in the back on the blue cart. The packing label should have written on it the HWREQ that it is related to. As a certified technician, you can repair the computer with the new part. Be sure to follow all directions on GSX if using a Mac, or follow all guides on Dell’s website if applicable. If you are still confused on a certain part, please ask a lead or a supervisor. Don’t be afraid to also look up tutorial videos on places such as iFixit or YouTube to help you out. Do not rush the repair. It is not a race! Once the repair is finished, be sure to run diagnostics again and make sure that there are no more issues with the computer. If new issues pop up, notify the user and investigate further by restarting the repair process again from step 3 of this guide. If all tests on the device pass, then the computer is ready to be picked up. Be sure to notify the customer that their device is ready to be picked up, and set the state of the ticket to Ready for Pickup. Finally, place the computer on the Ready for Pickup shelf by the door. Congratulations! You have completed the repair process!

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