I have to admit, I really do miss going to the office. The HP campus in Houston is brand new and state of the art. It was designed to incorporate all of the ‘workplace of the future’ trends like natural light, Zoom rooms, collaborative spaces and stand-up/sit-down desks. I had easy access to products in the lab for testing, and if there was a problem with my PC or software I could walk over to the IT help desk and get support.
Mostly I miss seeing my friends. Taking coffee breaks, meeting for lunch, gathering for group activities and just greeting each other in the elevators helped keep me motivated and helps maintain a healthy culture. I’m envious of some of my coworkers in Asia and Europe who have already begun transitioning back to their offices. Houston will be re-opening in phases, but for now I will continue to work from home. Once I’m back, I know it will take some time to adjust.
Talking with my co-workers who are already back to the office, I’ve put together some tips and resources to help with my own transition. I’ll share them here and hopefully we can avoid some of the common problems and keep focused on the work we love to do.
If you missed the previous article about Working from Home, you can find it here. If you have tips that we could all use to make the transition back to the office more productive then add them in comments below. If you are having a problem with your PC or printer and need help, start a new post in the community and be as specific as possible about your product and the symptoms.
Cleaning & maintenance - Do a visual inspection of the work area, properly cleaning any equipment as required and doing a physical check of each peripheral, any dock, any cables, and ensuring each power supply/adapter is working.
One thing we learned over the last few months is the proper way to clean our PCs and printers at home. This is essential advice for returning to the office as well. A regular cleaning routine is part of our new normal at the office, and it should be for everyone, for any area and surface in the work area.
Here is the guidance HP is sharing for cleaning products. Check with other manufacturers for non-HP products.
- PCs - https://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c00292159
- Business printers and PCs – http://h10032.www1.hp.com/ctg/Manual/c06593291
Oh yeah, here’s Bill and Steph to sum it all up 😊
Charging your batteries – Charge each stored or unused laptop or tablet completely before turning it on.
We see it happen sometimes in schools after summer break. Laptops aren’t charged for 2-3 months and then don’t start properly when reconnected to AC adapters. The batteries slowly discharge over time and enter a low-power mode. It might require several hours of charging to get the device ready for use. This can be prevented using these steps to put the battery in ship mode for extended storage if you know you won’t be using the device for an extended period.
For PCs with Battery Health Manager in the BIOS, set your battery option to ‘Let HP manage my battery charging’ using these instructions. If your PC stays docked or connected to AC power for longer periods, the BIOS will manage the charging to extend the life of the battery.
Passwords, logins and security – Update your passwords, security applications and certificates.
At HP we are prompted to update our passwords regularly. If we don’t use the PC for long enough, we might end up unable to log in using the older credentials. If you’re in a corporate environment, here’s where you should work with your company IT or help desk for assistance. Make sure your logins and passwords are up-to-date.
If you log into Windows 10 using an email address and password, you can reset your Microsoft account password using these instructions. Keep in mind that, for security reasons, HP cannot reset the BIOS or Startup Menu password remotely.
Don’t forget to update your anti-virus or internet security applications. It usually doesn’t take more than a few minutes.
Software and firmware updates – Allow some extra time to get your PC completely updated before you start your work.
It seems like Microsoft wants to install the latest update for Windows 10 every time I need to log into a morning Zoom meeting. But really, I should already know this might happen and plan ahead. If you haven’t used a PC for an extended amount of time, you can be certain there are updates waiting.
The Windows updates can be fairly large downloads and often require you to restart and then download a different update all over again. While you can work while the updates are downloading, you will see reduced performance as the network and hard drive are busy prioritizing the installation. Try checking for new updates in Windows Update repeatedly until there are no other recommended updates. For most PCs, this will install the latest drivers and even BIOS.
For PCs that are managed by the company help desk or IT, follow the procedures set out by your management. For business PCs that are not IT-managed, try using the HP Softpaq Download Manager. For all other PCs, the HP Support Assistant can check for the latest HP drivers and BIOS and install them for you.
When installing new updates, especially BIOS, you can expect high CPU usage, fans spinning faster than expected and increased heat being generated.
Printers are important too – There are some maintenance tasks you should perform if your printer has been idle for an extended time.
At one point in April, we printed 50 more sheets than I had planned for on my home printer. Now that school is out, I’ve changed my Instant Ink plan back to the lowest setting. It’s easy to change the plan and it can save you money.
I’ve asked some of our printer experts what they are recommending for customers with large office printers, or even inkjet and laser business printers. In either case there are some things to do if your printers at work have been idle or turned off.
- Check the cables. Look at the power cable, make sure it’s connected.
Update the software and firmware to the latest version. HP has continued to release features and fixes during the last few months and you should keep up-to-date. Large A3 printers should update automatically when they are powered back on.
- Perform the printer maintenance that is specific to your model (for example, cleaning the printheads).
Poor performance – Take some steps to improve the performance of your PC. HP has a pretty good Performance Tune-Up tool in HP Support Assistant. For manual instructions you can find performance improvement steps here. Performance should improve over time as the PC completes all of the necessary updates.
The PC doesn’t start – I hope this isn’t a problem you run into, but it happens sometimes. There could be any number of causes, so it’s helpful to try a few things to get up and running before moving to more advanced troubleshooting. Go here to get started (yep).
Activating Windows or Office – If your PC is IT-managed this usually won’t be an issue, but for many PCs, if they don’t access the activation servers during certain periods of time, they may indicate that Windows or Office are not activated. This is usually resolved by connecting to the Internet, but you can find additional help here for Office and here for Windows if you need it.
Sound and webcam – Just because you are back at your desk doesn’t mean you aren’t in virtual meetings at least part of the day. Our webcam troubleshooting steps have been updated quite a bit in the last few months based on feedback from customers. Audio troubleshooting is available here.
All of these software topics and others are helpfully pulled together in our Windows 10 Support Center. For hardware testing, see our HP PC Hardware Diagnostics.