Whoa! Didja get the numbers off that truck?!?

September 13, 2002 - 8:40 a.m.


Word got out at work that I am an expert on fixing computers. 20 years in the business, that stuff sticks with you.

I already worked on on guy's computer. He had so messed up it wouldn't even boot the operating system. That one was a simple matter of wiping off the hard drive and starting over. It also needed a new CD-ROM drive. I had it back to him inside of two days.

Now I'm working on the second one and this one has been more of a challenge. Both of these computers are about five years old, so we're stretching their useful life just a year or so. Because of that they also sweat under the strain of running present day operating systems. This one is running Windows ME, barely. It's a five year old Acer with an AMD processor. His original problem was that the printer didn't work, and he couldn't dial-up. The push button to activate the CD-ROM was broken off too.

Well the printer was kaput. (That's a technical term for "go buy a new one") The modem was in a similar state. I discovered that after I threaded my way through the Acer on-line archives searching for the right modem driver. Everything worked okay, but the relay on the phone line wouldn't work.

I bought a new modem and got it installed and working, and that was fine. I also installed the drivers for his scanner and got that working too.

Sadly, the more I worked on it, the flakier it got. I'd never seen a more stubborn system. He mentioned that he'd already had the fan on the CPU replaced twice.

Aha! I pulled the side cover off and aimed a desk fan at the innards, and got it working reliably for two days! It still sweats and strains loading Windows ME, but there's no cure for that.

I made a trek north yesterday to the Global warehouse and bought a little fan to mount in the box. I plan on sawing a hole in the side and placing this fan there, to get more air flow inside. It's not the right way to fix a computer, but this thing is a beater. He understands that, and his plan is to replace it soon, and this fix will extend its lifespan for a few more months, so at least his kids can get some homework done with it.

I don't charge my friends for this stuff, I only ask that they buy the parts. It's a good thing too, because he could probably buy a new one with what I could charge for labor. This kind of thing is fun for me. Some people garden, others work on their cars.

I fix computers.

the last one -*- the next one

Current Terr Alert Level
Terror Alert Level
OMG, She's agonna blow!

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