General discussion


Is Your Friend/Relative a Computer Expert?

By comp1systems ·
Recently I was called to help a friend's friend retrieve his
files from a hard disk drive the friend and a relative both
decided they were going to fix the computer that was
having problems. When I asked why couldn't the files be
retrieved, I was told that the relative and the friend had
deleted some files and drivers from the system (and who
knows what else), and had gotten into the Windows
Registry and fooled around with it, making the computer
totally inaccessible. They did not know where the
installation CD was, and were at the stage of panick.

I picked up the hard drive, taking it back to my place. I
hooked up to my test computer and was able to retrieve all
of the files, storing them to a CD and floppies for backup.
The computer was eventually tossed and I ended up
inheriting a hard drive. But friend was very grateful and I
did give a brief lecture on why just any body should not be
allowed to fool around with a computer that's experiencing
problems, especially if they have no idea on what they're

It can only cause all sorts of problems and ultimately a lot
of money to fix the problem depending on how extensive it
is. I do not consider myself to be at the expert level, but
fortunate enough to know the dos and don'ts of fixing a
computer. And I have been saying it for the last year or so
to call a professional if you don't know what you're doing in
fixing a problem. Because your friend (if he/she has no
clue) can make things just worse. Regardless of how
simple or complex it may be. Even I won't pretend to know
how to fix a problem. I'll call in backup. It's the smart
thing to do. And just one more reason to keep
unexperienced friends (and family) away from a computer
experiencing problems.

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Too Often, I've repaired systems that "experts" have worked on.

by Mickster269 In reply to Is Your Friend/Relative a ...

Many, many times I have been called out to a clients location, to 'fix' a computer. It's usually been that someone's nephew/son/friend has gone in with just enough knowledge to be dangerous. They go in, thinking they can resolve the problem, and end up compounding the error tenfold.

I can usually drive the point home to our clients when I hand them the bill for my work. After their breathing returns to normal, I mention that if they had called me first, I could have fixed the original problem in about 1/4th the time, at 1/4th the cost.

Once I had a customer remark "I thought the kid was a Computer "Guru"." I told him if that was true, I was the "Freaking Dali Lama". My boss got quite the kick out of that.

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Recent experience

by gralfus In reply to Too Often, I've repaired ...

I built a system for a friend in another state. When it started having some difficulties, a "head software engineer" decided to dismantle to computer in order to fix it (without asking). Of course, he didn't bother to label any of the connectors (multiple hard drives on a separate IDE controller). Once he had it apart, he didn't know how to reassemble it. So my friend had to cart the thing back over to me to make it work again. Just because someone is a great programmer / engineer / manager doesn't mean that person knows anything about computer hardware or servicing.

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I remember my nephew

by Neil Higgins In reply to Recent experience

a few years ago,when he had Windows 98se (no jokes please,he was only 16).The system he had was "perfect",in the sence that all was well,until he tried to uninstall a friends game,which had been given to him.I can't remember exactly why he did it,but he thought he was an expert,and tried to edit the registry,after deleting the game via the normal procedure,only this made things worse,because he got rid of files he did'nt understand.My neice had loads of schoolwork stored,and my sister also had important items on there as well.Had anyone bothered to back-up "all this" onto disc,I would'nt have had to spend a wasted Sunday afternoon,putting things right,when I could have been doing something more relaxing.Now they all happily use Linux,and leave anything they are'nt sure about,alone...or to me. :)

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It's Why I Scream, "BACK UP YOUR FILES"

by comp1systems In reply to I remember my nephew

Way too often I get phone calls about, "my computer's
acting up," or, "my computer wont boot up," or, "why can't I
access my files?" I have a friend who has an HP. He called
me one afternoon nearly on the brink of tears because his
computer was not booting up properly. He was told by an
HP Technician (calling Technical Support for HP) to buy a
new mother board, cables, and the whole nineyards. He
did this, and to no avail, the computer continued to do the
same thing. I told him it was not in the mother board and
suggested to him that since HP told him to do that, then he
should have them fix it under the warranty he had paid for
when he puchased the computer. The other thing was all
of his school work was on the computer. So I said (being
naive), "well you have all of your school work backed up on
a CD, right? You can go by what you backed up." I noticed
he had a strange look on his face, and that's when I
realized he had never backed "anything" up on his system.
If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times....BACK
UP YOUR FILES REGULARLY! It can save a lot of headaches
in the long run...take it from somebody who's been there.

Should your computer suddenly crash, or catch fire, or your
house burns down, or if a friend or family member screws
up the system by fooling around with files he/she doesn't
understand, or there's a natural disaster like an earthquake,
hurricane, a dangerous lightening storm -- or whatever, if
your files are backed up to the date, you are less likely to
lose important files. I back up my files everyday. I am not
taking any chances. Backing up files is not just the smart
thing to do, it's common sense. But you'd be amazed at
how many people I've run across who look at me like I'm
crazy when I ask, "do you back up your files." My
boyfriend's sister and her daughter only started backing up
files in the last year or two when they realized just how
serious computer problems can get and how annoying they
can become. When the daughter lost her files when her old
system crashed, she not only panicked like crazy, but she
had to redo everything. And her mother lost valuable
pictures she stored to her picture after downloading
something from the internet that was harmful to her
computer. I spent most of the night restoring her
computer last year.

Anyway, I wish there could be a full page article on why
backing up files is so, so important.

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