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When we first began servicing ultrasound systems, software was burned onto EPROMS, which meant the software would never become corrupted but also meant when you performed a software upgrade/update, you had to replace dozens of chips on several circuit boards.
Then, systems began to run the OEM application software layered on top of the Windows and UNIX installed on the hard drive. With this came the dreaded “blue screen of death,” lockups, corruption and hard drive failures.
Nowadays, a clear majority of ultrasound systems have at least one hard drive, sometimes including a RAID drive. These systems experience regular failures. How do we prevent these failures or perform rapid repairs when failures occur?
First, we want to ensure we have the software that the system is currently running. Some OEMs supply the software with the systems and some require a purchase. If you are in a purchasing cycle for systems, ensure the software (and service manuals, training, etc.) are included in the negotiations. If you do not currently have it, make an inventory of all the different revisions of software you do have and purchase what you need from the OEM and keep it all in a central location for team members to access. GE will usually ship the systems with the software attached to the BEP.
Next, backup as much as possible on your system. The bare essentials are the presets and options, but you can also create a backup of the entire hard disk to restore the system at a later date. You can also create a cloned hard drive. For both technical and legal reasons, this must be performed for each system. These steps can be time consuming but in the event of a failure, these backups are a lifesaver. A cloned drive will allow you to simply swap out the drive and you’re up and running. You can completely restore a system from a backup in as little as an hour. Also, by having these backups, you do not have to complete all the steps for a software reload or worry about options files or presets since they are all in your complete backup.
Please keep in mind that when a software reload is required, always perform on a new drive and preserve the old one. This way if the load does not take or you need vital data from the old drive later, you can retrieve it. If a drive has failed once, it is likely to fail again.
Software issues seem complicated, but if you prepare ahead of time you can minimize downtime and maximize savings.
For more ultrasound technical tips and tricks, or to view technical support videos visit www.conquestimaging.com, our blog section or visit our online Technical Support Video library for installation and removal instructions and much, much more. Conquest Imaging Technical Support is available 24/7/365 at 866-900-9404.
Mike Davis is a Technical Support Specialist at Conquest Imaging.
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