General discussion


PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

By fbaisch ·
The CEO?s admin. assistant brought her personal computer into the office this morning and wants me "clean up" the system so she can give it away to her son and his wife later this month.

Here is a copy of the text of her email:

"Between your desk and filing cabinet, I placed my old computer hard drive from home. This was replaced by the Dell laptop. What I would like to do is have the hard drive ?sanitized.? In essence, ALL files, etc. deleted. When it is ?empty,? I have included all the software for the programs I would like to have installed. This is being given to my son and his wife when they come out this month for a visit. They will not be arriving until the 20th. As this is obviously not work-related, there is no rush, but I was hoping to have it ready for them when they arrive."

Now if my boss decides that I should do this, I don't think he should but he is not the most "forceful" of managers and I think he will have me do it. What I want is to address this situation in an email letting them know that I do not think this is an appropriate use of not only my time, but the parent company's money. We are a small company under a major worldwide company's umbrella and I am sure that they would not appreciate this too. Also, I have no idea of the software she gave me is for this computer or another one, like her new laptop. She does not completely understand the copyright laws regarding software. I know this from past experiences with her and software installs and having worked as a private consultant in the past, I will not load illegal software onto any computer.

How would you handle this?


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grey, but also black and white (somewhat)

by syberlane In reply to grey

I agree with the "old guy" however, it's also good to let people know that what you are doing isn't magic! Unfortunately, today much of the work IT does is transparent in nature. That being said, the fact that it is the CEO?s admin, explain that you can do the work but make it clear that this ?sanitizing? as she calls it, is more of a PC overhaul and requires time and effort. If she needs it by a specific date and it conflicts with your schedule tell her she may be better off taking it to a shop or calling a service similar to Geek Squad (i.e. don't over extend yourself).

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they will not take it to geek squad

by sniperlt In reply to grey, but also black and ...

Thats the poing of bringing it to the "IT" guy. You will do it for free or a lot less then they would pay by taking it into a shop. Thats the very reason that the Admin Assistant brought the computer to the original poster. She wanted it done for free and done on her time frame.

To me the point is not the money the point is that I just becasue I work for the company I am not each employees 24/7 computer problem solver.

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by syberlane In reply to they will not take it to ...

That was my point exactly... Instead of saying screw off let the person understand 1) what they are actually asking for and 2) ultimately --what you can, can't, or won't do.

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real question

by pivert In reply to Yep

the real question most of the time is: what has happened, can you help me? and if you can't: what do i tell in the store/shop and how do i avoid being ripped off. I always take a look at the pc when they ask me. a: it keeps me up to date (virus, hardware,...) and b: the user feels helped because you (the expert) looked at it

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by mr Auld In reply to Who Gets the Bill

Do the work at home and send her a bill for your time!

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Suspicious. Many reasons to refuse.

by edwart In reply to PC maintenance of persona ...

In your situation, I would like to refuse the favor. First, because it counsumes your working hours. Then, because you are in doubt whether the installation of programs is legal. And finally, because this can be a test for you, especially in matter of your loyalty to the Company, and your ability to proper manage your time. Even the fact, that she did not talk to you directly, seems suspicious to me. You may be - not knowingly - involved in destroing the evidence of some fraud.

As you can see, there is many reasons to do not touch the drive. Put it in your drawer and ask her to come and get it back. There is no need to reveal all the reasons. You can explain, that you cannot do this not having the whole computer, because there are hardware-specific device drivers to be installed, there may be compatibility problems between HDD geometrics and BIOS etc. You can offer her to deliver all the stuff to your home, or invite you to do the work in some other place - in your free time.


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I hadn't thought of that

by Kiltie In reply to Suspicious. Many reasons ...

Good point there edwart:
"You may be - not knowingly - involved in destroing the evidence of some fraud."

In which case, it would be wise to CYA "just in case"

On the quiet (if you do decide to go ahead) image the system, and/or backup the data from the drive.

Keep it somewhere safe, and, as others have wisely said, document, document....

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Keep the relation clear

by edwart In reply to I hadn't thought of that

> On the quiet (if you do decide to go ahead) image
> the system, and/or backup the data from the drive.

IMO it is not good idea. There must be a reason to keep the data that are not your property. To make such copy you must perform intended action, and in that case you cannot say that you did it "not knowingly". You copied the data and... what then? If you suspect some malicious action, you should inform the police. If you don't, either there is no need to keep these data, or you must be aware, that some day the police may contact you and ask, why you did you keep the evidence and not informed them...

Let me say again, IMO the best action is not to touch the drive until you do not plan to do some blackmail to that person... ;-)

Anyway, probably there is no fraud and no bad intentions, but you should make it clear, whether it is a order or a favor. Keep the relation clear: either it is company-employee or human-human, but not something in between. Nothing good comes out from that.


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Beware of traps!

by KOEN.WALraevens In reply to PC maintenance of persona ...

In this case I personnaly dont't think there's a way to refuse. 'She' thinks of you somewhat as someone who'se there to be used.
Do it, screw it ?! (install but do just what's necessary). Make sure to not take too much time in installing OR put it first in line and don't do anything else but her installation. If ever questions arise: point out that you received an email form your CEO and that it's of extreme importance!
That will throw a new light at things. Don't be afraid to show your strength but know your weaknesses. For Example: If you were to 'jump' for every request from her (or anyone else for that matter) they will NOT respect you. To earn respect: don't give in! Show you also have an opinion.

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by rogerfairfield In reply to PC maintenance of persona ...

The situation is a little dodgy, apart from the time taken to sanitize his PC, there is the hidden problem of,"what happens if I do not comply". If you have a good working relationship with your CEO then you may want to help. Using a lunch break for instance. Pointing out to him that this would be the only time available, "oh and by the way, do you realise i cannot install this illegal software because it is against my professional ethos". is a good way of pointing out that he is kicking the butt out of his position.
At the end of the day he cannot order you to do it , he can however put some pressure your way if you impolitely refuse.

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