Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Aug 30, 2008
Thursday I had two appointments. The first was to take my wife’s SUV to have the brake pads replaced. The second was to take my computer in for servicing. My wife actually made the appointment, though I hadn’t known she’d done it, but I figured she was so tired of hearing me complain about my computer shutting down and not working properly that she did what she had to do.
Lucky for me, both places were right next to each other, so I had no problems getting my computer there, even though my wife did schedule them an hour apart, so I had to bother the brake people to lower the vehicle so I could get my computer when it was time to take it in.
First, a little bit of history, and I’m naming names. Back in 2004 I decided, because I work so much with my computer, to have one put together. I went to Comp USA and I picked out all the separate components, based on their recommendations, and had them put it together. Overall, it cost me around $2,500, but I figured I was putting together my version of a monster computer, one that would work well for me over a long period of time.
Almost immediately, when I got it home, I started having problems with it. I should have seen it coming, because, while it was being built, they had called me to tell me that they were having problems installing the second CD drive I’d wanted to add, as in they couldn’t get it working, and I told them not to worry about it, since I hadn’t had one before. I got the blue screen of death on the very first day; of all things. I did what I could for a few days, since I do know some things about computers, but it just wasn’t happening, so I took it back for service.
In essence, I ended up taking it back for service six or seven times. Each time they would say they couldn’t find anything wrong with it. They said they tested everything; they kept wiping out my hard drive and reloading the operating system, and nothing. Of course, I griped because I would show up, they’d actually let me go into the back room with them, and I would say “you haven’t loaded anything on the computer, so how do you know it won’t lock up?” By that, they said they’d put on the operating system then let the system run for 48 or 7 2hours to see if it would lock up; what the heck was that? However, I also had bought from them a new game, at the time, Civilization IV, and it wouldn’t run on the computer; most of the time it shut the computer down with that same error message, and these guys saw it also. weird.
Anyway, after paying even more money and going lots of time without my computer, and being dissatisfied with Comp USA (I’d even sent a letter to the corporate office, but of course never heard from them), I decided it just wasn’t meant to be, so I stopped taking it in and decided to just live with it. The shutdowns kept coming, and I stopped using more and more programs that would shut it down. However, within the last couple of months, it would start shutting down if I’d been doing a lot of things without a reboot in a couple of days; lucky thing that Word and Excel save everything, but that was the final straw. I started thinking about buying a new computer, but didn’t because I don’t want Vista just yet, and hence, the appointment my wife made.
The name of the place where I’ve taken my computer is Comp-U-Soft, and they’ve been in the same location for about 11 years now. Where other computer repair places have opened and closed within months, these guys have stayed viable and right in the same place. I pass by it all the time, and I even took a computer in there about 10 years ago for repairs. They do good work, but it doesn’t seem to be fast work. That’s because they’re thorough; they were back then, and they are now. I will admit that, because of how long it seemed to take back in the day, I decided to learn more about computers myself, which is how I learned to fix a lot of things, but I’ve never wanted to mess with a motherboard, knowing how sensitive they can be.
The computer guy, named Bob, took the computer and hooked it up to an old CRT 17″ screen; these guys, for all their technical expertise, are really throwbacks to the old days. If you look at their website, you’ll see what I mean; they certainly could use some SEO on the site, that’s for sure. Heck, maybe I need to make a pitch. 🙂 Anyway, he hooks my computer up and types up the invoice that I have to sign so they can start working on it. Over the next hour we talk about theory of safety and online security, email, virus protection, and computers in general. I told him my story, and told him I’ve always thought my problem was the motherboard, and he was dumbfounded, especially after I mentioned what happened with the CD drive. He said that any computer business worth its weight in salt would never allow a computer to leave their shop without passing all certifications, and if they couldn’t even get two CDs working, then it was their problem to diagnose and fix, period.
Then, because we were talking about Comp USA, I told him about the time I bought a hard drive from their Westchester NY store that was supposed to be 100GB and, when I installed it myself, turned out to not only be a 4GB drive, but a used one as well, as it booted up before I loaded the operating system and someone else’s information and all his files were on it. He said that was the most incredible story he’d ever heard; that is, until I told him about the time my plane hit a deer while trying to fly out of North Dakota (yup, that actually happened). It wasn’t computer related, but every once in awhile you want to top yourself.
So, at this point, they still have my computer, but there are many differences between 1998 and 2008. For one, I have a laptop now that’s quite capable of running as my main computer for a long as I need. Two, we have external hard drives now, and I was able to copy over every single thing I wanted to from the other system; nice having 300GB of extra storage. And three, even at this juncture, these guys don’t charge a lot for service, no matter how long it may take them to figure it all out. The guy even said he would quote me on a new system, just in case, and that it wouldn’t be more than $1,500, probably less than $1,000; that works for me. Technology has been kicking my behind this year (don’t ask about the cell phones for awhile), but maybe this time around I can get on top of it in some fashion.
Sometimes we just have to acknowledge that our knowledge stops at a certain point on certain things; I’m glad guys like Bob are still around to handle the big jobs.