I try to help people when they have computer problems. I do run into some very interesting issues. My latest challenge was from a woman in her late 40’s or early 50’s. I certainly did not dare to ask. She admitted on the phone that “I’ve really messed up my laptop”. I traveled over to her apartment in Bangor to take a look, hear her story and to see if I could help.
She was having problems with her machine and was pretty sure she had a virus. She took it to someone for repairs. Someone she didn’t know. (Her first senior moment) She got it back and it still did not work right. Having a very tight budget and not wanting to take the laptop back to the same guy, she decided to try to fix it herself. (Her second “senior moment”). She had a disk that came with it which contained the operating system and attempted to install it. Things went from bad to worse. Now she could not connect to the Internet. What she didn’t know was that the Windows operating install disk does not have the software that would make her wireless card work with her laptop. Since this was the only way she could connect to the Internet, she was dead in the water. She had also lost (she thought) all her documents and photo’s. A friend suggested that she call me.
I brought the laptop home and spent 4 hours trying to get it back to factory condition. I was able to find and back up her documents. Normally, restoring a machine to factory original condition is an easy process. Unfortunately for her when she installed the operating system, she removed the ability to access the restore program that resides on her hard drive.
I called her with the bad news that I didn’t think I could help her. I already had 4 hours into the machine. With time, I probably could fix it, but the total labor time would have been cost prohibitive for her.
What to do
I felt bad for her and made a command decision. I told her if she could find the disk that had the software (drivers) for her Dell machine, I’d see what I could do. We’d work something out on the financial end. In some cases I will swap services. She found the disk. I reinstalled the Windows Operating System along with the wireless software and presto, she had a working laptop again. I transferred her documents, downloaded some free anti-virus and other useful utilities and will soon be taking it back to her.
Moral of this story
When it comes to computers if you have a problem and really are not sure what you are doing first, don’t try to fix it yourself. Secondly, take your time and find someone who knows what they are doing. Ask them questions or have a friend help you ask the right questions. It’s worth the extra time it takes and it could save you money and frustration and I won’t be writing about your experience in “Senior Moments int he Computer World”.