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What gross things have you found during PC cleanup

By CagedMonkey ·
OK, I know all of you out there have at one time or another found something repulsive when cleaning up a PC. What I want to know is what items have you found in/on a PC when a user complained something did not work.

Recently I was called to a users desk because they claimed the keyboard was not operating correctly. Many of the keys were sticking or just not working.

Well, I got to the user's desk and picked up the keyboard, turned it over to see what might shake loose. Lo-and-behold. Hundreds of fingernail clippings dropped out and deposited themselves onto the desk. I just left the pile there and asked them to clean it up. I was not about to touch any of it.

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I have had that - smoker tar

by Deadly Ernest In reply to Just scum

From cigarette to fingers to keyboad and mouse. One place I went to fix a computer had this lovely light tan / coffee coloured wall paint. Then I moved a cupboard to find it was originally pure white. 32 heavy smokers over 8 years. Normally I work n gear at the customers site, at that place I worked beside an open window.

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Seafood Salad, coffee, poppy seeds

by Cheesel In reply to What gross things have yo ...

The seafood salad and poppy seeds were in a keyboard. Then, there was the laptop marinating in coffee. To my surprise after disassembling the laptop and letting it dry overnight I reassembled it and it worked! I suspected after that that it probably had a significantly shortened lifespan, but it seemed fine.


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Cleaning dirty PC bits.

by michael_orton In reply to Seafood Salad, coffee, po ...

Have you seen Fred Langa's Langalist e-mail list?
He was editor of BYTE.
He tells of PC bits, floppy drives, motherboards etc that have been cleaned in a dishwasher and recovered. He suggests this as a last resort.
I have an IBM PC and Monitor that had spent a few days in a skip, in the rain before I recovered it.
It still works, but only with the installed win 3.1. I dried it in the very hot conservatory.

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Just on that one

by HereInOz In reply to Cleaning dirty PC bits.

Relating to that, Michael, I did a data recovery for a customer from their old hard disk to their nice new machine - the old hard disk would still work but would fail after 15 minutes or so.

After I got "all" the data off the old HDD I threw it out the back in the pile (exposed to the weather) to go to the "computer graveyard". Four weeks later, customer calls and asks "where are the pictures?"

Oops - he remembers that they were in a folder called "travel, or something like that, that might be in the Windows folder". Oh dear!!

Go outside, after four weeks of winter rain and cold, grab the very wet HDD, put it by the fire for a day, plug it into a box and behold - it fires up, I extract the pictures, and the disk continued to run for several hours until I shut it down and put it back out on the pile.



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What A Compliment!

by nishpc In reply to Just on that one

What brand was that HDD !?!?

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Yeah, what brand and how old was it?...

by btljooz In reply to What A Compliment!

Unfortunately, "They don't make 'em like they used to."

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by In reply to Just on that one

Seriously, you threw a customers HDD out without wiping it?


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Durable HDD

by HereInOz In reply to

Well, for starters, there was nothing confidential on the HDD, and I had already questioned the customer whether he wanted it obliterated or not, and the answer was not to worry about it - it was an old Internet Surfing PC that was not used for very much else.

Secondly, from memory it was a Maxtor 2GB hard drive. Very old, very tired, and I think the one thing that saved it was that when I had lobbed it in the box - yes I actually tossed it in there - it had landed flat, and circuit board facing down, so it was reasonably waterproof. Had it landed up the other way, I reckon that it would have suffered severe water ingression.

All up a robust HDD plus a bit of luck coming together at the same time.

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by m_johnson In reply to Just on that one

Somebody must've left their pc outside because when we took off the cover to find out why it didn't work, there was cut grass inside. Guess the lawnmower got too close.

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Oh, I tried THAT once...

by Cheesel In reply to Cleaning dirty PC bits.

with my old Amiga. I saw an article on how to disassemble an amiga keyboard and soak the keys in soapy water. I'll never do THAT again. I lost parts to the keyboard...cost me a mint to get a replacement for it. It had a proprietary keyboard.

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