Got a PC problem? Don’t rely on PC World!

Fairly shocking reports about the competence of PC World repair centres in the UK.

In most cases, I’m already set up for helping my family with PC problems. The article appears to focus on “renders the machine unbootable” type errors such as loose internal cables or deleted Windows boot files. In those cases, I’d still have to go visit… but that’s probably no bad thing. Rather that, than loss of data, high costs, and more brokenness. Plus, it’s just more fun 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Got a PC problem? Don’t rely on PC World!”

  1. Without trying to defend PC World here, I’m struggling to understand what the “correct” response should be when presented with a PC that has been broken by the deletion of a critical file.

    Were such a machine presented to me, and I were to notice that one or more critical system files were missing, my immediate and unambiguous response would be: “the integrity of this machine has been compromised. In the absence of an audit log or credible explanation for how this file was removed, the only recommendation I could professionally make would be for a backup of data followed by a complete reinstall.”

    Anybody who tried to convince me that the machine could be reliably “repaired” by replacing the “missing” file would receive short shrift: once a core part of the system has been inexplicably compromised, there is no way to know that nothing else has been messed up. In essence, all bets are off.

  2. OK. I have several points to make in response.

    Assume that a machine was not booting, but a customer wanted you to a) fix it or failing that, b) recover data. Would you wipe it clean, knowing that the data itself was recoverable by dropping the drive into another box even if the OS could not be booted? Would you attempt to convince the customer to BUY A NEW PC, if you just needed to reinstall the OS?

    You’ve implicitly answered no, to the first question, with your “backup the data and reinstall” suggestion. I’d probably go along with that, too. In fact, in the past, I have. I hate not knowing what broke something, so it probably is the best option.

    Would I charge a large sum of money for the backup and reinstall? I probably wouldn’t do that, either. I have a fairly philanthropic attitude to home PC problems, and always feel immediately sympathetic that a home user is suffering from a problem (which probably impacts their confidence in computing in general), and angry at the manufacturer or author of the failing component. An attitude like that gets me into all kinds of scrapes, and leaves me impoverished 😉

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