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Old 11-11-11, 02:40 PM Thread Starter   #1
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Contest: Tell Us Your PC Repair Horror Stories


Now we've all had some horror stories going on PC repair house calls. Breaking something, tracking mud on the carpet, getting bitten by a dog, finding "inappropriate" downloads, even starting a fire. Let's hear your most entertaining PC repair tale.

Going on house calls can be totally frustrating, especially since most problems can be fixed with a simple spyware removal, virus scan and maybe a reformat wost case scenario. That’s why System Mechanic, the total PC cleanup software, is sponsoring this contest. They figure that System Mechanic is a useful tool for any PC repair job. Our friends over at WindowsSecrets.com gave it a positive review, touting it as “complete PC-maintenance toolkit: full-featured, intelligently engineered, and easy to use.”

Sure we all have our favorite free applications to clean up a PC, but what I like about System Mechanic is that all the tools are in one place. This will save a lot of time in the long run and save you and your customers from potential return visits to fix the same silly problems.

All you have to do to enter this contest is to post on the forums, just like you do on a daily basis anyways. Tell us your most hilarious, scary or ridiculous PC repair story and win a copy of System Mechanic. We have 5 copies to give away, so be creative! If it makes the cut, we’ll post it on the blog!

... Return to article for official rules and prizes
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Old 11-11-11, 02:45 PM   #2
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I don't think I can tell some of my best stories and have them "G" rated...

I see alot of "interesting" things here in the boondocks of central Missouri.

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Old 11-11-11, 03:19 PM   #3
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I was working for a good friend at his electronics shop a couple of years ago. TV Repair, radio, PC Repair, etc. One day, a lady brought her PC in and she looked beyond angry. Trying to make her day better, I did all I could to defuse a bad situation before it happened.

After she blew off some steam, she told me that about a couple years before, a similar thing happened and it nearly caused her to divorce her husband because he had been surfing some rather seedy (even seedier than the norm) fetish sites and the fight it had caused was nasty even up to counseling before they decided to mend things and him get help with his definitely unhealthy fetishes.

Well, she walked out of the shop smiling as a few jokes and some quick wit usually helps. I was able to get to her machine rather quickly as there were no other repairs in the shop. For about 3 days, i de-crapified it, de-malwared it, and de-virused it. Another day or so of system optimizations (this thing was in horrible shape software wise). The day I finished, I went to call her to tell her it was done, and during the phone call, the new anti-viral I had put on for her had found a mysterious hidden folder that was very, very large in size.

I told her I would call her back as the antivirus found something strange and I didn't want her to make the trip out and pay for services if I wasn't done. So I spent a while working at it until I got some file recovery software to retrieve the 'hidden' folder.

I called her back instantly and told her: "I am done, though I do not think you will like the price. It will be a tad higher than I quoted you and I will explain in person." I hung up, and waited on her. She showed up that evening and I took her into the back room and showed her where I had it hooked up on the bench. I then showed her the folder I found. Porn. Not just regular porn. Bestiality. Pedophilia. She handed me 2x the price I quoted her, said "Keep the rest as a tip." and was dialing the police on her cell phone out the door with her desktop in hand.


Last edited by TollhouseFrank; 11-11-11 at 05:31 PM.
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Old 11-11-11, 03:25 PM   #4
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No stories to share since I don't do PC repairs, and I reinstall Windows so often on my machine it never needs repairs. But...

Quote:
Originally Posted by TollhouseFrank View Post
I was working for a good friend at his electronics shop a couple of years ago. TV Repair, radio, PC Repair, etc. One day, a lady brought her PC in and she looked beyond angry. Trying to make her day better, I did all I could to defuse a bad situation before it happened.

After she blew off some steam, she told me that about a couple years before, a similar thing happened and it nearly caused her to divorce her husband because he had been surfing some rather seedy (even seedier than the norm) fetish sites and the fight it had caused was nasty even up to counseling before they decided to mend things and him get help with his definitely unhealthy fetishes.

Well, she walked out of the shop smiling as a few jokes and some quick wit usually helps. I was able to get to her machine rather quickly as there were no other repairs in the shop. For about 3 days, i de-crapified it, de-malwared it, and de-virused it. Another day or so of system optimizations (this thing was in horrible shape software wise). The day I finished, I went to call her to tell her it was done, and during the phone call, the new anti-viral I had put on for her had found a mysterious hidden folder that was very, very large in size.

I told her I would call her back as the antivirus found something strange and I didn't want her to make the trip out and pay for services if I wasn't done. So I spent a while working at it until I got some file recovery software to retrieve the 'hidden' folder.

I called her back instantly and told her: "I am done, though I do not think you will like the price. It will be a tad higher than I quoted you and I will explain in person." I hung up, and waited on her. She showed up that evening and I took her into the back room and showed her where I had it hooked up on the bench. I then showed her the folder I found. Porn. Not just child porn. Bestiality. Pedophilia. She handed me 2x the price I quoted her, said "Keep the rest as a tip." and was dialing the police on her cell phone out the door with her desktop in hand.
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Old 11-11-11, 08:41 PM   #5
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Best I can recall.

#1 I get a call from a customer who I had built a computer for. They had had it for a couple months, but "all of the sudden" their CD burner had completely stopped working (ejected fine however). So, they brought it over & sure enough, the computer didn't recognize it. I was a bit upset because at this point, CD burners were $200ish & this was a decent one, but OEM & without warranty. So any profit I had made on the computer would have been down the drain. I opened it up to disconnect it so I could test the wiring & such & noticed an odd sticky film on the cables, SCSI card it was connected to, & on the bottom of the case. It was pink. Not thinking of my personal safety, I took a lick... mmmm, tasty. Strawberry ice-cream. In the end, it was the SCSI card that had died.

Of course, the fun part was confronting the customer on why they had strawberry ice-cream on the inside of their computer (no evidence that it seeped in, it obviously had been open when it was spilled. The customer had the expected look of feigned shock when I mentioned the ice-cream. When I mentioned that it had to be open for it to be pooled like it was, they ended up confessing that they had it open on the side & were trying to figure out how it worked & ended up never closing it. Not long after, they had ice-cream.

#2 Of course, there's also the one where my Father brought his laptop to me & said that "stuff" was popping up all over the place. You know, that kind of stuff. Sure enough, the moment I booted into windows, the screen was covered in pop-ups of various adult oriented pictures. So many that it was in the hundreds. My Father of course asked "Who could have done this to his laptop? Oh, maybe it's that girl he lent it to a few years ago." Sure Dad, sure.
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Old 11-11-11, 08:47 PM   #6
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Old 11-13-11, 05:53 PM   #7
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This is probably not that rare of a thing.
I went to my sister's house to check her computer that was no longer running. I found it on a crowded counter with all kinds of boxes and an old tower. The computer had been pushed up against the other tower and some boxes that totally blocked off all ventilation holes. It got a little warm and made a funny smell. Now needs a motherboard.
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Old 11-14-11, 07:00 AM   #8
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Old 11-15-11, 01:33 PM   #9
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This one time I was at my friends house and he has a lot of old computer parts and video game stuff. He showed me a few of his old computers and what nots and he pulls out this old knock off nintendo 64 controller that plugs directly into the tv. It's sopposed to be powered with a dc adapter, we were not sure what kind. So we found a random dc adapter and pluged it into the power strip, then into the controller. Within a few seconds it pops and catches on fire. At that time i was already on the floor trying to unlpug the dc adapter and in my haste, I turn off the power strip instead; his computer was pluged into the power strip also. So when everything was resolved with the controller incedent, we relised that I had turned off his computer. My friend goes to press the power button and it doesn't turn on. After about 30 minutes of fittling with the hardware inside the computer, I bang on the power supply and it magically turns on. It was a maracle, and at that point i was getting really worried that I toasted his computer. As of now his computer can turn on but says his cpu fan is unplugged and need a new mobo.

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Old 11-16-11, 05:23 PM   #10
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It's not very entertaining, but it kept me playing games decently.
About 12 years ago, I had a Geforce 2 MX I put an aftermarket heatsink on. It worked fine, and I really enjoyed the boost I could get from further OCing it. Cleaning my computer one day, I removed it, placed it on a static bag, cleaned dust, replaced it...and no video. Removed it again, cleaned contacts, reinstalled in the computer...no video. The fan wouldn't run, so I assumed that my AGP port was dead, tried another AGP card [very old], and it worked. Confused, I reinstalled the GF2...no video. I figured I had fried it [ESD], and as a high school student, I couldn't afford another card, so I was reduced to using the onboard video, and in frustration, threw the GF2 into a cabinet and forgot about it.

About a year later, I'd been rummaging and found the card again. Deciding whether or not to trash the card, I installed it one last time [same computer as before]...and it popped the monitor on, booted fine, and played games fine. Overclocked to the same level as before as well.

I still have no idea why it resurrected, but I was one happy guy
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Old 11-17-11, 07:14 PM   #11
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I can't think of any single awesome story, so here are some of the better ones:

1. First month on the job, along with another new guy. He is working on a fairly big customer's system. Somehow/somewhere along the way he just dumps it on me cause he isn't making any progress on it. Needless to say it was an early Pentium 4, full tower chassis, with a SCSI setup, and tape backup. XP was hosed, his main drive was borked, and he wanted the system recovered from a tape backup... Sounds easy enough. Drive installed and configured, easy. He brings me a box that contains a CD he made that is supposed to be used with the tape drive in case the OS drive is damaged. I read through some documentation on it and it seems straight forward. Boot from the CD, but it can't see the SCSI card or the drives...? Now we have had the system over a week and the customer is calling at least everyday now. I read a little more and decide that I should be able to get it to work by installing XP on the system, the tape software and doing it that way. Get it all up and working, pop the tape in, and it sees the backups. I think I'm home free. Select the backup and start the restore. Meanwhile the customer is now calling three or more times a day. Restore failed. WTF. Try something different, several hours later failed again. End up calling Seagate support (maker of the tape unit) and get pointed in the right direction...try again fail again. Call back, another piece of information, try again....fail again. Customer getting UPSET. Call back the third time, and find the critical piece of information - that the backup index has to be loaded and linked to the correct backup volume. I just ask the Seagate tech if they made it intentionally vague so average people wouldn't screw with it and he pretty much answered with a "Yeah, pretty much.". Three hours later, fixed and done. Customer was happy that he didn't have to reload his software so that was good.

2. Had a teenager drop of a system he was building because it couldn't load windows. Brand new AMD64 FX chip with OEM heatpipe setup, drool. Boot it up and first thing I notice is overclock fail warning. Oh REALLY?. Pop into the bios and default it all. Reboot and run memtest, passes. Load up specific settings for the ram, rerun memtest and passes. Install windows no problem. Call the customer and tell them nothing is wrong with it. Now the fun comes when mom comes with him to pick it up. She begins to question me why we didn't find anything wrong with it. She pulls out her, "I'm A+ certified" card and I almost blow a gasket. I just look her dead in the eye and say, "I've been doing this for years and that system will work perfectly fine if your son isn't trying to overclock the living day light out of it." She just kind of looks at her son, looks back at me with that "my bad" kind of face and becomes all nice... She pays and as we hear them leaving she begins to berate the son on the way out the door...

3. I didn't personally do this, but I was the manager of the store at this point so I ended up with all the heat. Had a tech doing a simply memory upgrade on a Dell laptop. Might have been a 1505 or 1050, something like that. Anyway it died. Like DOA, no power, nothing. And it wasn't really anything that he did. You could google this model laptop and they all died randomly, even Dell had knowledge of the fact. Needless to say there was a lot of yelling, it made it to the local news/shady business segment... I'm not sure what the owners did about all that.

4. Again as a manager. A new system we built for a customer would not load windows for him (we do load windows to verify that it will before it leaves.) He is not happy, but he didn't not pay for an OS, or for us to install his OS, so I wasn't just going to do it for free. But I would test it out just in case we miss something. We go through it with a fine tooth comb and install windows straight from a cd. It all works great. He comes picks it up and calls back 30 minutes later yelling at me that it does work. After ten minutes or so I get him calmed enough to have him bring in the system and what he is installing on it. We figure it out after about 20 minutes that he has a pre SP1 XP disc...which doesn't really work on any later hardware. Needless to say I make him a new slipstreamed disc and do a preload of XP for him at no charge. I explained what the problem was and what I did to fix it. He was going to return it if it didn't work again. He called back the next day to say it was working great.

5. A nice college girl and her mom came in when her laptop wouldn't charge. Looked like the power cord was chewed on by rats for a decade... That's the problem right there, hell didn't even need to check anything to tell her that. We didn't have a replacement unit in that would work... So I offered to try and fix it for her. It wasn't pretty at all, but man she was happy. I totally wouldn't have even offered if it wasn't for the fact we were dead slow and she was pretty hot.

-tripped a breaker once while installing an AT power switch wrong.
-removed a PSU that had a bug infestation.
-had a customer rip me a new one for not building his PC with a graphics card that could do S-video out. He said his cable wouldn't fit into the port on the graphics card or the adapter that came with it. I asked if he was using the right end of the adapter.... He apologized and thanked me for putting up with him.
-had a customer that would call once a week and ask about those "Pen-ten-ium 4's"...
-did home pickup/delivery for a blind lady that smoked like 4 packs of Marlboro reds a day. She was rude and berated you any chance she got.
-had a customer that ran an adult video store just down the road. Did a drop off there one day. I swear the cleanest, well lit, nicely organized place I'd ever seen. Even had one of those porn star replica torso/hip things on display in a glass case.
-had a customer who's desktop background was a male porn star spread eagle... Guy had vasts amounts of porn - mostly gay. Needless to say his background pic got changed cause customers could see the station his computer was at.
-had a repeat spyware customer - after the 4th trip in we kindly told him to stop surfing for porn in not so many words. He was older and kind of new to the internet.

I'm sure there might be more, but that's what I can remember. Most people were not happy paying for service, but were generally nice about it. We did do work for a very sweet older lady who baked up all kinds of cookies and brownies. We did so much free work for her it wasn't even funny. She had no idea we were suckers for hot brownies.
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Old 11-17-11, 07:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xsuperbgx View Post
The computer had been pushed up against the other tower and some boxes that totally blocked off all ventilation holes. It got a little warm and made a funny smell. Now needs a motherboard.
I've seen many of AMD XP processors burned up like that because people put the heatsink on backwards...

It's not nearly as impressive as people who manage to put a DIMM in backwards...
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Old 11-17-11, 11:29 PM   #13
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Oh yeah, I almost forgot about the one where the processor heatsink/fan was so clogged with dust that the blades literally were just a disc spinning in a bowl of dust.
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Old 11-19-11, 07:25 PM   #14
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1:

An HP with a Celeron, probably 600 or 433. I accidentally dropped a Seagate U-series HDD on to the kitchen floor and after plugging it back in to check the HDD, MHDD reported problems pronto! Real bad sectors! O_O

And then I gave her a replacement HDD and installed Windows 98 SE and tweaked it!

But, when I was about to give it to her, it just quietly died, it suddenly fails to POST!
For no apparent reason! I never saw it boot again!

2:

August, 2011

Dell Inspiron 530S, (manufactured in 2008) has a Pentium Dual Core E2180 (A.K.A. Core 2 Duo) 2.0 Ghz

I put in a Caviar Blue WD3200AAKS 320 GB and installed the copy of Windows Vista that Dell provided.

It lost dual channel! O_O I can't use both channels at the same time, it will just go "BLEEP-BLEEP-BLEEP-BLEEP----BLEEP-BLEEP-BLEEP-BLEEP" or just do nothing except spin the processor fan at high RPM.

I had to give it to her in single channel mode.

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Old 11-22-11, 09:37 AM   #15
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Quote:
Dell Inspiron 530S, (manufactured in 2008) has a Pentium Dual Core E2180 (A.K.A. Core 2 Duo) 2.0 Ghz

I put in a Caviar Blue WD3200AAKS 320 GB and installed the copy of Windows Vista that Dell provided.

It lost dual channel! O_O I can't use both channels at the same time, it will just go "BLEEP-BLEEP-BLEEP-BLEEP----BLEEP-BLEEP-BLEEP-BLEEP" or just do nothing except spin the processor fan at high RPM.

I had to give it to her in single channel mode.
I've seen that on several Dell's before. And it's not like that slot or channel is damaged, I've run them with 3 sticks (of course single channel), but that slot works fine. Put it back with a matched pair and it bugs out in a dual channel configuration. Most people can't really tell the difference when it's running in single vs. dual anyway. I think it just irritates me more than most customers.
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Old 11-22-11, 01:58 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TollhouseFrank View Post
I was working for a good friend at his electronics shop a couple of years ago. TV Repair, radio, PC Repair, etc. One day, a lady brought her PC in and she looked beyond angry. Trying to make her day better, I did all I could to defuse a bad situation before it happened.

After she blew off some steam, she told me that about a couple years before, a similar thing happened and it nearly caused her to divorce her husband because he had been surfing some rather seedy (even seedier than the norm) fetish sites and the fight it had caused was nasty even up to counseling before they decided to mend things and him get help with his definitely unhealthy fetishes.

Well, she walked out of the shop smiling as a few jokes and some quick wit usually helps. I was able to get to her machine rather quickly as there were no other repairs in the shop. For about 3 days, i de-crapified it, de-malwared it, and de-virused it. Another day or so of system optimizations (this thing was in horrible shape software wise). The day I finished, I went to call her to tell her it was done, and during the phone call, the new anti-viral I had put on for her had found a mysterious hidden folder that was very, very large in size.

I told her I would call her back as the antivirus found something strange and I didn't want her to make the trip out and pay for services if I wasn't done. So I spent a while working at it until I got some file recovery software to retrieve the 'hidden' folder.

I called her back instantly and told her: "I am done, though I do not think you will like the price. It will be a tad higher than I quoted you and I will explain in person." I hung up, and waited on her. She showed up that evening and I took her into the back room and showed her where I had it hooked up on the bench. I then showed her the folder I found. Porn. Not just regular porn. Bestiality. Pedophilia. She handed me 2x the price I quoted her, said "Keep the rest as a tip." and was dialing the police on her cell phone out the door with her desktop in hand.
I do plenty of repairs, but nothing close to this. I agree with Matt - /thread

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Old 12-02-11, 01:13 PM   #17
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This guy wanted a good router so I gave him a Linksis E3000. He told me "WTF is this crap!! give me a TP-Link it's the best router in the world" So I gave him a crappy TP-Link (a 20$ one , since that's what he requested). He called after a few days saying that the connection is always breaking , I told him to contact his ISP , he told me that he got it from me, I told him that he bought the router not the internet connection and he said that "aren't they the same thing? ". I couldn't hold the anger of the ignorance so I told him "Sir, Behind the router there is a grey Ethernet cable , please check where that cable is from and contact him" then we hung up.

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Old 12-12-11, 05:10 PM   #18
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This was quite a few years ago - during the big boom in home computers after the internet went national. I was selling PCs for a regional retail store, and we provided "first level" tech support for our customers. I had a call out to a lady's house that had bought a computer from us a few months prior, and was now complaining that the connector cables were "disintegrating." After speaking with her on the phone for a few minutes and trying to decipher what she meant, I agreed to come out.

When I got to her home, I saw what she meant. All of the power cables, monitor cables, and other connector cables behind the machine were riddled with dozens if not hundreds of tiny little holes. She was furious, and accused my company of having sold her a computer with "defective cables." After reviewing the situation for a few minutes, I asked her how old her cat was. She went from furious to startled - "How did you know I had a cat?" (as though I couldn't smell the cat in the house). I then explained that her cat had been chewing on the cables. She seemed embarrassed, then insisted that couldn't have been the case. I shrugged and said "Maybe I'm wrong. It doesn't matter now. If I'm right, we'll find out when the cat finally pierces one of these insulation sleeves and electrocutes himself." This sent her from flushed red to pale white. She apologized for the trouble, and assured me that her precious Mr. Wiggles wouldn't be allowed in the computer room any more.
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