Security

10 really dumb mistakes to avoid in the field

Certain mistakes are almost guaranteed to result in problems that can cost you clients. Make sure you don't fall prey to these common missteps.

We all do it. Make mistakes. Some of them are just little DOH! moments that lead to embarrassment. Others, however, lead to disgruntled or (worse) lost clients. Many of those mistakes can be avoided if you know what to watch out for. I'm going to highlight 10 mistakes you don't want to make when you're on a job. Avoiding these mistakes will help you retain your dignity -- and your clients.

Note: This article is also available as a PDF download.

1: Don't blindly upgrade

How many times have you upgraded Windows XP to SP3 (including IE8) only to find out (postmortem) that something in the upgrade has broken some feature or functionality your clients need to do their job? I have seen this far too often. Internet Explorer 8 is notorious for breaking currently working systems. Make sure you know the critical sites your client needs to use and confirm that they work with IE8 before undertaking any upgrades.

2: Don't edit configuration files without backing up first

This can get really tricky when doing things like migrating Linux servers from one machine to another. Make sure you are clear what's a backup and what's a currently working configuration file. Do not let these files cross paths (nor their filenames). Get into the habit of copying and renaming backup configuration files so you know exactly where that working backup file is.

3: Don't forget to turn the firewall back on

You know you've done it. You can't seem to get a network function or feature to work so you shut off the firewall to remove one possible hurdle. In your excitement (after you've nailed the problem), you leave without turning that firewall back on. Bad move. Before you leave that desk, make sure that the firewall is back up and running so that machine is protected.

4: Don't forget to document

How many clients do you have? If that number is more than 0, you need to be keeping documentation on those clients. Having to navigate around the network to discover the lay of the land wastes time. Keep a good record of passwords (unless you prefer to entrust them with clients to preserve your own liability), network addresses, machine names and functions, etc. The more the better.

5: Don't do anything without client permission

No matter what you're working on, you want to make sure the client has given the okay for the job. Think about it this way: Any work you do without client permission could easily be work you won't be getting paid for. Or worse, you might undertake a task (without permission) that could cause data loss, which could lead to much bigger issues with regard to the bigger picture.

6: Don't experiment on a client machine

You might be tempted to try that new "fix" you heard of that can shave a few minutes (or hours) from your job. Don't. Test those hot new fixes either in the office or offsite. Don't trying something unproven unless you are 110% sure that this fix will work for the situation you are about to use it in. And if you do attempt it, make sure you have a backup of the system before you do.

7: Don't learn on the job

This relates to number six (sort of). We can't know everything. On a daily basis, we run across something we've never used or seen before. When you come across something you know nothing about, don't try to learn about it on the job. Those clients aren't paying you to learn; they're paying you to fix. If you have to research a piece of software, tell the client you will need to do so and you will return when you're ready to tackle the issue. If the client is okay with your learning on the job, do so. Just make sure they're aware that what they are asking is beyond the scope of your knowledge. It's always better to be honest than to try to BS your way out of a situation.

8: Don't use Add/Remove Program to uninstall antivirus

Recently, we had a machine come into the office with FOUR different antivirus apps installed. Needless to say, the machine was nearly unusable. All four pieces of antivirus software had to be removed and, fortunately, we were smart enough to use the included uninstall for each one. When using the Windows Add/Remove Programs tool, the antivirus will leave behind traces that can cause problems for other antivirus tools. Just be safe and use the included uninstall tool for the software.

9: Don't go in without knowing the situation

Unless you're visiting a new client, one of the most unprofessional things you can do is to go into the situation without knowing what's going on or what the layout is. If a fellow employee is about to hand off a client to you, make sure that employee gives you the lowdown on the layout of the network topology, as well as point of contact information and any special information regarding the installations, users, or system quirks.

10: Don't leave the site without making sure everything works

You might think you've covered everything. And everything may work from your perspective. But that's not enough. Sit users down at their computers and make sure things work from their perspective. They are, after all, the ones who have to use the computer. If the machine doesn't work according to their expectations and needs, your work is not done.

Other missteps?

The last thing you want is to make one of the above mistakes. Letting yourself fall victim to anything you've just read could cause you to lose respect and clients. Don't let this happen.  What other mistakes should go on this list? Have you made a mistake you hope to never make again -- or seen other techs get into hot water over a botched job?


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About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

128 comments
Cliffcard
Cliffcard

Before installing any new software on a client machine, ask the system administrator to restart the system and call you when it comes up. Guess who will be blamed if the system doesn't restart after you've installed your stuff.

dmn2012
dmn2012

I like it when I read clear and unambiguous direction or suggestions. I don't have to tax my brain matter to figure out what the author attempts to communicate. Walden’s message is clear to any professional engineer, who understand this list as elementary textbook methodology for delivery of services, and unequivocally fair to conclude that failure to abide by such practice would likely result with "embarrassment" or "disgruntled clients." However, [u]this list overlooks and does not factor[/u] [b]incompetent/ineffective management[/b] who chooses not or do not comprehend the value of these practices. Unless you have buy in and assigned responsibilities with competent management, list of practices or methodologies are not worth a hill of beans and will set the course for disaster in every aspect of that environment.

jojosm57
jojosm57

Don't forget to backup or export a client's contacts in Outlook etc.

gph132
gph132

There's nothing wrong with learning on the job. No one knows everything. There is a limit how much time should be spent. Certainly there are times where you can say, 'I don't know the answer, but if you would like I will try to find it.' Clearly, it is wrong to spend significant time studying if someone else knows the answer. Still, you will increase your value to the client by growing.

laurie.tyz
laurie.tyz

Don't pretend to know everything! Don't be afraid to say "I don't know, let me find out and I'll get back to you." Then do exactly that.

KNOWLEDGE464
KNOWLEDGE464

This is great the only problem is that TECH's seem to grow head strong (egotistical) and think they can out weight common knowledge these things are fundamentals that everyone is supposed to do first. I mean if you got the certification didn't you read the book. I have no certifications but I keep my self trained, informed and hands on. I laugh at these consultants who come in with their suave know it all and get stumped and I end up giving them the answer because the basic fundamentals were skipped (LOL, whose the NUB). MENTAL CHECK LIST PEOPLE We all may be smart but so were the guys who work for NASA and look at their rover on MARS now! can't even connect to it because their tech dropped the file in the wrong directory. OOOPSY! Money GONE! If you do this job everyday it should be second nature to follow steps and procedures (the fundamental). Don't be embarrassed to have to refer to blogs, text, or sources. That is smart

lmnogoldfish
lmnogoldfish

I have this experience: In most cases, the Add or Remove Programs is only used to remove. If you just stick the disc in and install it, Add or Remove can be iffy on the remove. However, if you use the Control Panel and Add the program, you have much better luck with the remove later. I was told by some MS folks that the Add option monitors the install and creates a better remove script. I think MSI does the same thing, but the setup on the CD--not so much.

pwatson
pwatson

Do not make any change before doing a thorough analysis. Everyone wants everything done faster. That has some positive aspects. Technicians, users, and especially clients benefit from the work being completed sooner. However, there is great hazard, especially in failure situations, to change something, anything, before the situation is fully understood. Use the carpenter's rule; measure twice, cut once.

salah2001sh
salah2001sh

Yes you are true and beneficial as always

allan.clapp
allan.clapp

Never e-mail a client something that they cannot open... In this day and age of technology there is not excuse to send someone a Microsoft Word or Open Office Writer document that they may not be able to open. The freeware program PrimoPDF can be installed on to your computer as a "Print Driver" which enables you to generate Adobe PDF documents directly from any Windows program. All you have to do is select "PrimoPDF" as the printer you are going to use to print your document. Primo then asks you to tell it where you wish to save the finished file. Nothing could be simpler than that. And since it is freeware the price is right. Allan Clapp, Founder and CEO, Better Schooling and Information Systems allan.clapp@gmail.com

crowleye
crowleye

So you can do this job while texting, know it by heart, snap-snap and done. Then a day comes when your head is full of cotton wool, and things get muddled. Stop before you start. Make a checklist of each step, even things to think about or look for, then force yourself to follow it slowly. There's nothing worse than making a goof and having to take more time and think even harder when you already feel like hell.

chippsetter
chippsetter

My favorite pet peeve is when a tech recommends a client get a new machine if the current machine only needs a little more RAM, another drive, or a new power supply because the only thing the client does is email, word processing, spreadsheet, and surfing.

TW210
TW210

I had this helpdesk tech working for me and would not stop asking me why we weren't going to SP3 and IE8. We are a vendor that remotely connects to hundreds of remote systems using various methods. And we have every single one of them working. "Don't fix what isn't broken" I'd tell him. And I also explained why (a lot of what you said in #1) and that we are always up to date on security patches. I've been burned in the past by 'upgrading because I wanted to'. Needless to say, the annoying remarks didn't cease until we were forced to lay him off ;0

mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

I am surprised you didn't include any of the people business gaffs. I find that most techies usually do some bone headed move in the soft art of dealing with people. For instance leering at the female help at the client site.

benwal91
benwal91

I'm guilty in #1 and #2. But I have now decided t view which of the windows updates are needed, and will not mess up PC performance. I never really back up a config when I edit something like a website file for example. But usually there is a working config file hiding somewhere, and everything is back to normal.. Or I just go in and find out where the error is.

atarentus
atarentus

One client had moved to a new office suite. I was there setting up their servers. The office manager asked me if I could move a tele-power pole about 20 feet next to another cubicle. I said sure, and did it, moving the power and phone and also running a couple of new cat5 cables for network while I was at it. A couple of days later I got an irate phone call from the contractor who had installed the phone system reaming me out for moving the pole without calling him in to do it.

terry.sanderson
terry.sanderson

Keep this guy away from Windows machines, as he obviously knows nothing but is not afraid to pontificate anyway. "Don?t use Add/Remove Program to uninstall antivirus." Does Jack really think that the program link that runs the uninstall is any different from the program that runs from Add/Remove Programs? Take a look at the registry and see the program that runs to uninstall an application from Add/Remove Programs. Gee, it's the same uninstaller that runs from the Application's Start menu. Stick with Linux; your credibility with Windows has hit zero.

hydrodane
hydrodane

but almost everyone has notepad, or wordpad..acsi text...it really is one of the most reliable standards...and remains so...(why do I feel old mentioning this??? ugh). I know it sounds silly, but it is true that many customers do not have pdf reader... I just thought I would mention it since your workaround presents just another kind of challenge..albeit a small probability... as such, pdf is certainly a terrific idea, not bashing it at all. Aloha tm

blkhwk322
blkhwk322

As far as I can tell notepad is still free and installed by default on Windows systems. Why would you send a PDF just to have your customer have to download AND install Acrobat Reader???

MrRenegade
MrRenegade

Your right about that one. Make it easy for a client new or old when exchanging data. Plus its just as bad if you tell the client I can't open your file. I don't have that program because I think its old and out dated. (I had a tech do that to one of my clients... that took a good day and half to smooth over)

rfolden
rfolden

"when a tech recommends a client get a new machine if the current machine only needs a little more RAM, another drive, or a new power supply because.." Let's think this through a little, here. I don't understand why this is your pet peeve... The tech may be doing "you" a favor... Here's an example: You own or work for a small company that does not have a dedicated IT department. You "outsource" your IT needs to a company that uses an hourly ("labor") model.* You've got a PC that is performing "inorrectly". Is it the Power Supply? Is it the RAM? Is it a Virus or Malware? If the tech diagnoses the problem (say, 1/2 hour) and then realizes it is going to take another 4 to cleanse the demons out of the machine, he/she is indeed doing you a favor by recommending you simply purchase a new $300 cheapie... Can you find the software discs that came with the machine if the HDD dies and there is no image / backup? Do you really WANT to pay a tech an hourly rate to attempt to round this kind of thing up? Etc. Etc. Etc. It is true that you can/perhaps should try get a "per fix" model of repair. There are certainly companies that will dispatch techs for $35 that will "put da RAM into da machine". But that's all they'll do... Doesn't work? Too Bad. And I'm also quite sure these companies aren't going to let you buy the RAM you bought at Wal-Mart in this scenario, either. You'll have paid the contract company for the product ahead of time (at a profit for them...) and once the part is shipped to you, you contact the contract company and they dispatch the technician to pop the part into the unit. NOT a job I want. Now aren't you glad you have in-house IT? If it is MY machine, sure, I'll fix it or upgrade it on MY time... I know how and I'm not charging myself for my time. However, when you're billing someone it is a whole other ball game. *meaning, whatever I'm doing, I'm charging $100 an hour for it, with a 1/2 hour minimum. Parts extra. (This is NOT unheard of...)

hydrodane
hydrodane

winking....if reciprocated..ok. its life...you takes your chances. workplace professionalism.. oxymoron. political correctness...oxidemormon. without cubicles, 80% of skilled workers in america (and I suspect in the known world) would not have romance in their lives. just kidding...we should never acknowledge beauty... ever! in any situation... an old boss would say.. you can stare, but don't oggle. (note: lets don't pretend at all, this message is just for the men either!) we all get around...if you want a meaninful relationship built entirely on trust... get a dog! woof! Aloha tm

N4AOF
N4AOF

Terry, you should have at least some slight hint of a clue before spouting nonsense. Your diatribe would have been funny if it wasn't so sadly clear that you were being serious.

eclypse
eclypse

There must have been at least a half-dozen posts that said to use the AV program's uninstaller because doing it from Add/Remove Programs doesn't always work. Posts from people who have experience with that very thing and know what they're talking about. People who appear to have RTFM or at least know what they're talking about before blasting someone. People who aren't trying to score points (or just pontificate) because of whatever reason...

hydrodane
hydrodane

Aloha, we have all had to reinstall.reimage a machine.. but how many of us fully document the machine BEFORE we reinstall..reimaging not so much of an issue. but the amount of time and energy wasted in configuring the machine to the customers wishes is a bad idea, when just a little documentation and planning before it is done. "why isn't my computer the same as before??" if you have heard this..you are probably not doing the job correctly. we also tend to assume some things also... like the vista customer who had not updated windows for x reasons (to prevent a conflict)..but we go ahead and put the update..and then they will complain..hey, my X isn't working now? what did you do? all machines are different..and clients expectations. care and attention to details is important...documenting and planning.. Aloha hydrodane

ion_tichy
ion_tichy

Besides email, I send some of my project plans and documents in text to the client because they do not need extra formatting beyond what NOTEPAD provides, and second, not all my clients use Windows OS and MS Office - think Linux, Unix, Mac, etc. Text files load faster for opening. What I have found with most Windows users is that they do not know what text format is, or why they need to use NOTEPAD or WORDPAD. For these users it is Office apps (Word, Excel, PPT) or nothing. Can be frustrating at times.

N4AOF
N4AOF

If the information you are going to email to a client is just text you could do in notepad, then why make it a file at all? Why not just put the text in the body of the email. This is quicker to do, simpler for the user, and far more reliable (are you sure exactly how every client's email system handles attached files and what program their system is going to use to open a .TXT file). The recommendation of using a pdf is the most sensible suggestion when the information requires formatting and/or graphics. PDF is far easier for clients to utilize than the insane new Office formats or even saving files to the somewhat safer Office 2003 formats. I am repeatedly amazed at people who send information out in ridiculous formats -- whether it is email using complex 'stationery' or attached files from applications that don't make good sense for the information being sent. I don't know how many times I have received some information as a PowerPoint presentation file only to discover it consisted of one slide of text where there was no value to any of the formatting. I have also seen text information sent as an Excel spreadsheet (although this is much less common).

rfolden
rfolden

Did I write anywhere where I was forcing the customer to do anything? Did I write anywhere where that was the only service I offer? Umm, no. Nice ad hominem attack, BTW. This is only one tool in an arsenal of many... And I still stand by the statement that sometimes (NOTE: not always / not everytime) a new machine is cheaper for the customer than aggregate labor charges + parts. Best Buy? Get real...

manpapad
manpapad

Suggesting (not forcing) such a thing is sometimes the best solution economically. I usually let the customer choose, giving him/her a cost estimate for my hours (although I don't charge as much as $100 ;)) and a few suggestions about a new computer (which will usually come with a two-year warranty as a plus,sometims more...)

dcarr@winning.com
dcarr@winning.com

WOW, if every time I have run into a Bad Power Supply, defective or failing Hard Drive, Malware or Virus issue or where more memory will solve the issue, recommended buying a NEW MACHINE, I would have ZERO clients/customers. I do not know what kind of business you are running, but I surely would not hire you. Sounds like you have no knowledge of HOW TO FIX anything, so your solution, is just go buy a NEW P/C!!!! Wait, maybe you work for the Geek Squad at Best Buy. They are all clueless, as every fix there is "re-install the OS and all apps to fix the problem" YOU are my pet peeve.....

makkh
makkh

I have tried to use simple language to elaborate most of the topics, however I believe there are times where it is hard to avoid from using some jargon. Anyway I really appreciate your comment.

eclypse
eclypse

This is one of my pet peeves as well. I have never understood why people send the silly stuff they do through email when a simple text response is all that is required. While I get that bandwidth isn't so much an issue nowadays, it _kills_ me to see an email reply of "ok" that should be less than 1k, but is instead 500k because of all the garbage that is in the html part of the email like the stationary, the signature, etc., _plus_ the text part of the message. I still use pine (now alpine) for my email and I have since 1992. While I think that it's your choice to use the client that works for you (or your company's choice to tell you what email client you use when you work for them), I do think that a little common sense should prevail. Just because you _can_ do something, doesn't mean you should. Sure, one of those fancy emails looks pretty, but if I have to wade through all of that junk just to see a two letter reply of "ok", that just seems a little bit much and (to me) kind-of defeats the purpose of email in general: to convey a message.

dcarr@winning.com
dcarr@winning.com

I could not agree more. PDF format is by far the easiest, safest, and most universal way to send documents. You retain all the original formatting, and I have yet to see a p/c that DID NOT have Adobe Reader installed. I find it annoying when attachments are sent as tif files. Yes, you can open/read them, but I still prefer pdf. It is the way I send all documents to clients/customers/friends/ etc.

NBI Computers Services
NBI Computers Services

how much money could you make an hour in your office by seeing a client and how many clients could you see an hour. in my shop one tech could be running a repair scan on one computer while replacing a cpu on another while a hard drive function test or data recovery on a third. One tech fixing three computers at the same time. once that tech leaves the office for a services call that tech's time is dedacated to one client. If he starts a malware scan he is stuck there untill the scan is done. if in the shop he could begin repair on a second computer and perhaps a third. this tech is still getting paid his hourly rate. lets say: one hour to get to the client one hour to get back two hours to repair the computer total billable time to the client is two hours 150.00 per hour for a total of 300.00 the tech gets 30.00 per hour for a total of 4 man hours a total of 120.00 that leaves me with 180.00 to cover the cost of insurance for truck and shop truck M and R in new york parking fines (cannot be avoided sometimes) continuing education health coverage for techs and other workers taxes in the shop during the same four hour time that same tech could repair 6 or more computers for a net of 600.00 now do you get the picture sure if your doing tech work for pocket money no problem BUT if it is your main income you have to charge. if you charge a flat rate you need to account for all these costs in that rate which is why (best buy) charges about 300.00 for an on site services call and dubble that if you want a tech to show up within two days. they dont pay 30.00 per hour ether.

hydrodane
hydrodane

Aloha, just chiming in here...cuz the slug fest over who is the best nerd is really entertaining...I am staying out of this one. you made a comment about your time waiting...etc. think of it this way... the essential practice of getting paid "while waiting" is very standard. we get paid for travel time...usually a flat charge.. we get paid for waiting for a machine to boot. we get paid for waiting for the customer to locate disks, product keys, etc. we get paid for watching them demonstrate a problem we get paid for even telling them, yup..that is a virus..even if they don't want us to do anything about it...(maybe because they want to buy another machine, whatever...the point not being that we are recommending a new machine versus repairing a virus..but that is in some instances a practical solution for some people, give the time and expense..and along those lines... we get paid "waiting" for a our virus scan to produce results to completion... the only question I suppose is simple for me: what WILL you charge ALL of your customers for your time and labor..and even the waiting? of you say a flat rate, no matter how much time and waiting...you better have a very high fixed rate for paredo's principle tends to obliterate otherwise reasonable fee schedules.. so, yes, in my opinion, you do have to make a decision about how you are charging your time...but it should not be a yes or no question... and yes, it does depend on the customer...I think that is a good sound practice..it is democratic and also is capitalistic. like the fellow who charges $100 an hour..I bet his "waiting" time is billable, and makes no distinction! hey..if they can pay $500 an hour, go for it...but you better be a very fast waiter! just some humor...I think alot of business tech owners wrestle with the same question of "waiting" charges. For the small companies this is just as important to answer..as the large..in the end, it boils down to not just matters of profit margin.. opportunity loss comes to mind. take care.. Aloha hydrodane

makkh
makkh

Your existence at client's place while system is running something is undoubtedly important. You're actually needed to monitor the process although client might see you just sitting there physically.

chippsetter
chippsetter

If I see the need I do suggest a new machine. Second of all I am usually working on a senior's machine who is on a fixed income. I do not charge anywhere near $100 per hour. Nor do I usually charge for time just sitting there waiting for the scanner to run. That could be a stupid move but I have not gotten my head around the idea of having me charge for my time sitting at their house doing nothing.

MrRenegade
MrRenegade

Look if you have problems with how I spelled stuff, fine go complain about it somewhere else. This isn't the place for it, as long as the information can be understood and the message is getting across then nothing is wrong. Last time I checked this entire posting system was open to anyone who had their 2cents to put in no matter if its in the middle of a chain or not. As for my clients giving me such control. I provide a complete IT solution for them handling everything from the T1 Lines to the toner in a printer. Its all handled though my company this way the owners of the businesses don't have to worry about anything in regards to IT in their company. All information about the entire company's IT Infrastructure is documented and stored in a safe at my location and at theirs this way if anything happened to my company we still have all the information to be able to service them. Oh and say I were to get really sick or even get hit buy a bus and was out for 6 months. Well that's why I have a business partner and 7 techs that work under us. Trust me my clients are covered. If I were to say move away and were no longer able to come to the office I would sell my side of the business to my partner or work with him remotely. If you were all standing in front of me right now I would slap you with a reality check and tell you all to get some common sense. However that wouldn't help because your just closed minded low level IT drones thinking your always having to fight with Best Buy for clients. If your hourly repair rate is lower than Best Buy, then you have already won. So I don't want to hear it. Remember if it wasn't for companies like Best Buy you wouldn't have much of a home user market for repair and service now would you... Chippsetter, For the clients I have that currently have equipment that's hard to fix, well I came into the picture as their IT late after they decided to outsource their in house IT people. Strange enough I hired one of the techs that was on staff to help with one of the accounts. We are currently making arrangements in a refresh cycle to update the equipment to more flexible systems when it comes to repair.

dcarr@winning.com
dcarr@winning.com

Thank You, for a very coherent and right on response to renegade. I have worked with thin clients myself on a contract several years ago, and they fit the situation for that business perfectly. "use what's appropriate for the situation" Your quote: "I'm guessing that the things you all do for your clients works for them (or you probably wouldn't)." I agree totally with the above statement. The key being that what you do for your clients works for "THEM" In the case of rfolden, the $300.00 cheap piece of crap p/c, would basically work for no one, and puts the client at further risk. You get what you pay for. We should never recommend garbage to our clients.

eclypse
eclypse

While I get that "Mister" Renegade is coming late to the party here in his "wightings", I would suggest that while his method of booting is maybe a little bit more complicated than the average setup, it probably does allow for faster hardware replacements and makes the individual PC less important since it contains no local data - so I get what he's trying to do there. I would be annoyed with the 10 minute reboots, but if that's the worst thing about his setup, then it's not too bad IMHO (assuming we are talking about an office environment and not one user's home PC here). If he documented properly (as was mentioned in the original article), then it doesn't matter if he is no longer available. I'm not going to ponder too long on the question of whether-or-not the documentation was "witten" or "wighted." I personally don't like having any more apps and data on an individual PC than is necessary because of the recovery time if it has to be replaced, but I also realize that one size fits absolutely nothing. As a couple of others have suggested, use what's appropriate for the situation. We've had really good luck using thin clients, but they're not appropriate for every user. However, we have very few machines with local data on them and we have standard images that we can use to reinstall more quickly if needed. It works for us. I'm guessing that the things you all do for your clients works for them (or you probably wouldn't). That's my $0.02... =)

chippsetter
chippsetter

Best Buy higher ups may be CompTIA A+ certified (as I am) but usually it is not the higher ups working on your machin.If you were able to get the companies to standardize on equipment why did you have them standaradize on equipment that is so hard to get into to fix?

dcarr@winning.com
dcarr@winning.com

Renegade (aka DUDE): I was replying to rfolden not you!!!!! All of my replies were to him, not you!!! Try reading his posts!!!! Who the heck rattled your cage. Did you even take the time to read what rfolden wrote???? Helloooooooo, $300.00 cheapie machines he was suggesting. That was the point I was arguing. Are you smoking funny cigarettes??? I totally agree with ddawson59. As he states, you are an idiot. Sounds good to me. Clients that give you that much control over their environment are definitely not thinking clearly. I was being sarcastic when I mentioned the corps. (Boeing, Allied Signal, etc.)I was talking about being "SMALL". Obviously they are not!!!! Ever heard of Contracting!!!!!! I was an independent contractor working on project based contracts at those organizations. It that too hard for you to understand???? That is what I was doing at those organizations. Boy are you dense!!!! Please do us all a favor and go back to wighting, and don't let your ego get in the way of your humility. Did you even read my post. Obviously I was responding to rfolden's initial remarks, then you fall out of the sky and are totally off subject. Please go back to wighting and weading. Weading is evidently not your strong point!!!!

ddawson5
ddawson5

Ok I'm joining the party late here but... does anyone else think it's funny (and a little sad) that this guy posts: "Guess what I wight the technical Standards for Company's Best practices and procedures. I also wight the technical standards for CompTIA A+ Testing so go ahead and tell me I don't know what I'm doing just try." Dude if you are "wighting" for these publications I'm pretty sure they are not reading it LOL rather filing it in the round file cabinet. As for your post although you do have some good information here you are describing a one-off situation. I work for a major corporation full-time and I have a successful side business and I can assure you that NONE of my customers would ever go for this scenario, mostly because it gives you all the power in the situation. What happens if you move away or decide to retire, or get really sick? Then what do these people do? They can't even go to Best Buy! I would say you're an idiot, but that would be redundant :-)

MrRenegade
MrRenegade

Alright you want to get down to brass tacks fine we can get down to the little detailed crap. BTW I'm not a DUDE I'm a Mister get it right. "(I have probably forgotten more about this industry than you have ever known)." Guess what I wight the technical Standards for Company's Best practices and procedures. I also wight the technical standards for CompTIA A+ Testing so go ahead and tell me I don't know what I'm doing just try. Alright you have 25+ years in small business OK so what, you want a cookie? In this world of IT it doesn't matter how many years you've been in the biz it matters how much you know about current and old technologies. Oh and you state you worked for Amex Boeing PCS Allied Signal Etc. Since when are company's like that SMALL?!?!? BTW I use to work for McDonnell Douglas before the merger and though to when it became Boeing and trust me they not small. On another note if you Worked for all these big name company's my question is why so many? Performance issues or maybe Knowledge base issues perhaps. Whatever the reason you need to start getting up with the times in how IT is handled nowadays. You also state you have owned your own business for the past 8 years. I'm sorry but you as a business owner should know just as I do that more time the client is down the more money that is lost due to ZERO productivity. Now with my clients you say imposable that I have a match for match machine of every one of my clients, well guess what I do. I currently have 19 Corporate clients. I have standardized each and every one of them to the point that I only need a range of 5 different Models of Machines in my inventory at any 1 given time and totals up to 30 machines at the ready. Now you say but what about Data and Apps and Domain rights!?! I say to you Standardization of Networks and Data. When you boot up a computer on one of my clients networks it will have a completely BLANK Hard Drive. 100% empty no data nothing This is for security of data. The computer boots up off of a PXE environment and starts with the Base image for that office which takes it about 4 1/2 minutes in single cast mode. Then it will restart boot like normal and part of the Sysprep it automatically adds the computer to the Domain and asks for the Users Login ID. Then the system though Sysprep is built to the users needs with correct Domain rights and all the way down to which printer they like to use. (All these normal user settable items are changeable by the User themselves so in case they move its easy for them to setup to a new printer with out me having to remote in to change it. Oh and they don't have to move the computer when they move if there is a computer sitting were they currently are they just have to login.) Then one more reboot and when the user logs in a simple Login script will look for the appropriate Flag files and automatically install any applications they currently have access to Now this process even if they have to install Every program the company has to offer will take no more than 10 minutes. OH but wait I almost forgot about there DATA?!? Oh that's right its all on the local File and Print server so their My Documents is remapped and there Personal Folders for outlook are all right there were they should be. Oh and there outlook profile is already populated on the machine with profgen so the total down time of a machine is about 25 minutes and every applications is freshly installed and ready to go. Now if you still push the point of but a Power Supply is a Field Replaceable Unit that takes 10 minutes. Does it really? Tell me if it takes 10 Minutes to replace a power supply in an HP DC5000 or a DC530. YOU HAVE TO TAKE THE MOTHERBOARD OUT TO DO SO! And tell me How easy is it really to replace a power supply in an ALL-IN-ONE Computer like an MSI or a SystemMax? Tell me that one. These are my clients, if you don't cater to your clients needs then how can you be a successful business? Yes I have a client that is using DC5000 and DC530 why? Because they get the job done for the client. Plus they purchased them all and we are working on an equipment refresh cycle that is going to take place in 3 months. I have another Client that uses nothing but IBM Net Vista's and the same story for them but their refresh cycle got extend for another year so not to cut jobs. Oh but you maybe thinking that's just too much setup and hassle for a small business that's only has 5-10 employee's Hehe well guess again I have a client that has 6 employees and its the same setup for them as well and its all done with just 2 servers 1 that's the primary the other a backup just in case, and they handle every bit of all that I just described. Just for the record Best Buy for their higher up geek squad guys are CompTIA A+ so they do know a little something. Not that I'm supporting them just stating a mere fact. So lets recap, "So, lets see.... P/C has a bad Power Supply, and you are telling me it will take too long to replace it at the clients location???" Yes it would for my clients. Plus if a power supply fails I need to make sure that everything else in that computer is still good. Plus I would like to know what killed that power supply in the first place so how can you determine the true cause if you don't have all the variable in front of you? If you replace just the power supply that's only 1 part of the puzzle. Also let me ask you this one, customer calls you up on the phone and says I have a X brand of computer the power supply is dead can you fix it? You go sure I'll be out in a few minutes. Now here is were I ask you do you have over 20 different models of New Power supplies on hand? The power supply could be a mATX or a 24pin ATX or even a 850 watt or etc etc. Oh and your quote "You are definitely totally unique in this business!!!" You bet your ass I am and my clients are glad for it. You have a nice day dcarr.

dcarr@winning.com
dcarr@winning.com

This is what you said, and I quote: "You own or work for a small company that does not have a dedicated IT department. You "outsource" your IT needs to a company that uses an hourly ("labor") model.* You've got a PC that is performing "inorrectly". Is it the Power Supply? Is it the RAM? Is it a Virus or Malware? If the tech diagnoses the problem (say, 1/2 hour) and then realizes it is going to take another 4 to cleanse the demons out of the machine, he/she is indeed doing you a favor by recommending you simply purchase a new $300 cheapie... Can you find the software discs that came with the machine if the HDD dies and there is no image / backup? Do you really WANT to pay a tech an hourly rate to attempt to round this kind of thing up? Etc. Etc. Etc." OK, here is the POINT!!!!!: The $300.00 cheapie you recommend, does not have any of the APPS or DATA on it that were on the problem machine. So, we magically (using the always available Magic Pixie Dust) have these apps and data fly thru the air to the new $300.00 cheapie. We also magically have whatever peripheral devices (you know, like printers, scanners, PDA's, etc.) DRIVERS install all by themselves. The we magically have all the latest Windows Updates install by MAGIC. Oh, and all the application updates. Oh, and latest versions of Adobe Reader, Flash, Java JRE, etc. etc. The latest Virus defintions install by magic: assuming the $300.00 cheapie has AV on it, and that it is not some wonderful TRIAL version that will expire in 60 or 90 days. Do we have Malware protection AT ALL on the $300.00 CHEAPIE, not likely. So it will also get downloaded, installed and updated for FREE magically. Oh my goodness, did we forget that this $300.00 cheapie may be being connected on a network (Workgroup or Domain). Oh, that's right, it will magically for FREE connect itslf to the proper workgroup/domain. Oh. my God, did we forget the printer and file sharing. No need to worry, it just happens thru osmosis. I could go on and on, but it gets more ridiculous the more I think about it. But wait, the $300.00 cheapie is a much better solution than the $30.00 spent on memory, or the $50.00 P/S. The labor on either of these will not even come close to $300.00. NOTE: If the p/c in question is lets say 8 years old, then dumping money into it is a bad idea. But what about the system that is a year or 2 old and maybe cost $900.00. If it has a bad power supply, then we say dump it??? I think not. It is likely that the $300.00 Cheapie has a low end Processor, and insufficient memory to start with. So you may be replacing a p/c with a problem, with a p/c that is even worse. Also, what if the ailing p/c has XP or Vista, and the NEW $300.00 cheapie has WIN-7. Maybe, just maybe some of the clients/customers apps WON'T RUN on WIN-7. The customer/client has not had training on using Vista or WIN-7. No need to worry, we will just give them Windows Vista or Win-7 for dummies. Hmmmmmmm, what a dilemma. It is always a good idea to put brain into motion before mouth. Not only is your $300.00 cheapie solution flawed, it is in the vast majority of cases (over 90%)downright WRONG. We are not replacing a BIC cigarette Lighters here. The only worry on them, would be the color. This is exactly why so many clients/customers/homeusers DO NOT trust the IT industry. They see us as the dishonest or unqualified car mechanic, or in days gone by the crooked TV repairman. We need to make RESPONSIBLE choices and offer cost effective RESPONSIBLE solutions. If we can't or don't want to repair the problem, then recommend someone who will/can. If we don't do this, then we are no better than the incompetent crooks at Best Buy.

rfolden
rfolden

Another nice ad hominem attack.

dcarr@winning.com
dcarr@winning.com

Renegade, I think your solution proably works well on Caprica. Listen DUDE!!!!! I was NOT talking about dealing with Major corps. here!!!! I was talking about specifically dealing with SMALL BUSINESSES and the Home user market. (I have probably forgotten more about this industry than you have ever known). Even in a mid range or LARGE business, just swapping a bad system does not solve the issue of the APPS & DATA that was on the system you just swapped out. If you think you can convince me you have EXACT matches to every p/c you support stocked in your warehouse, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn I would like to sell you!!!! WOW, you must have thousands or millions of spare systems that are "EXACT" matches in every way to what your clients have. That is a NEW ONE on me. You are definitely totally unique in this business!!! I have only been doing this:(p/c sales, repairs, upgrades, service, networking, etc etc. for 25+ years), so I am probably unfamiliar with your management style. I have owned & operated my own business for the past 8 years. I have only worked for small businesses (in tech support) like, lets see: American Express, Boeing, PCS Health Systems, Allied Signal, Phelps Dodge Corp, and others, to name a few. So, lets see.... P/C has a bad Power Supply, and you are telling me it will take too long to replace it at the clients location??? Sounds like BEST BUY. They have similar solutions: Buy a NEW P/C or reformat the HDD and re-install the OS and all apps, oh and that pesky data you had on the system will unfortunately be completely lost.

MrRenegade
MrRenegade

Get off your Soap Box for a minute and look at the big picture. Is Grandma Daley going to spend $100 an hour for computer repair? No shes going to hire someone like YOU for like 10 an hour. So Sit down shut up and listen for a minute. You have to realize when your dealing with Small-Mid-Large They don't have the time to wait for you to "fix" even the little stuff. If you have a match for match machine (and known the client like you should if you have a contract with them) you simply swap drives change inventory tags and update Serial Numbers AFTER you have put the system in place. Trust me on this You can make the business a lot happier if you can swap the system in 10-15 minutes and have the person backup and running from a problem that would normally take an hour to fix. Saves you Time and the Client Money in the long run and Makes you more money due to client Loyalty. Then back at the shop you fix the system and put it on the "Spares Rack" and wait until there is another problem. Every tech that handles Small-Mid-Large Business needs to have a good idea of inventory on there client AND have a spare machine or NEW machine on hand that Matches there inventory that they can bill back to them later on. Its just good Business.