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 Life in a Tech Shop - Stories

Here we have an example of how a little computer knowledge can be a bad thing. A repeat customer of mine always seems to bring me her machine(s) after she has tried to "fix" them herself. Which means I have to go through and repair what she has done and then find the real problem.

Her latest attempt has landed her machine on my workbench once again. I asked what it is doing, and I am told it will not boot.  I have to clarify what she means by "will not boot".. will not boot into windows or will not boot to POST.  I find out it will not boot to POST,  meaning the lights come on, but that is all.

So, I toss this machine up on my bench and crack the case..and what do I find after a brief inspection.. a RAM chip not properly seated in the DIMM socket..and I know for certain the last time this machine left my shop the RAM was inserted properly and the machine was booting. Next I find a whole different set of IDE cables inside. These are the cheap ones with only 2 - 40 pin connectors, not the standard with 3- 40 pin connectors. Again, I know I did not leave them in this box, as soon as I find one of those cheap cables I rip it out and put in a standard one.

So, I call her.. no one there..left a message on her machine asking what else had been done inside so I can get a better idea on how to troubleshoot this machine..

She calls back, I was out.. Her message is that my message seemed quite accusatory ..and that I was implying that SHE did something to break or damage her computer. She then admitted she opened up the machine, and wiggled one of the cables to the hard drive.. the one with the little white plug, aka the power supply plug .. In doing so, a small blue arc jumped from the power connector to the hard drive.

YES, the machine was running when she was fiddling with the power cable to the hard drive..

As a last ironic note, she has a habit of naming her computers querky cutsie names...

Meet Sparky:


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