Saturday, September 10, 2005

Doin' The Geek Squad's Work

Wow. I knew I was tired, but I didn't know I was that tired!

I wake up a little after 6:00 AM on a Saturday. The TV's on. The lights are off. And I'm not quite sure about anything. Then it hits me. I sat down watching Sgt. York on TCM last night and fell asleep. For 10 hours.

Yep, I was sleepy. And here's why.

I had a busy week. Not just at work. But doing some computer work for a friend. And, it's work that he had already paid The Geek Squad nearly $200 to do. Only, I ended up doing it. Because, it seems the local edition of The Geek Squad is a bunch of slackers.

It started the other day when this friend, who has a laptop computer but isn't into using the computer as much as, say, me. I mean, he's got a life and everything. But, he knew I had a little blog and asked me about it. I mentioned it was going okay and I was enjoying it and everything. He said he'd go online as soon as he got his computer fixed.

I asked him what was wrong. That's when he told me the story:

My friend mentioned that he knew things started going wrong a few months ago when his anti-virus software expired and he didn't renew it.
This is Lesson #1: Always run an anti-virus program and keep it up-to-date.
Then he took it to The Geek Squad for them to fix. He paid nearly $200 for them to "clean it up and get it running." They kept if for a while but it still wasn't working when he got it back.
This is Lesson #2: A fancy name and national publicity don't mean jack.
After several weeks of frustration, he finally got his computer back. But without an anti-virus program. Seems that money he paid to get the viruses cleaned off didn't include installing anti-virus software to keep it clean. That was another $80, which would bring the total to over $350. My friend said "no" and got his computer. After he had to go back on a later date.
This is Lesson #3: Be sure you know what you're paying for. Be on the lookout for hidden extra charges.
So anyway, I offered to help if I could. So he brought me his laptop.

Sure enough, I couldn't get online with it. So, on my computer, I downloaded the Computer Associates trial version of their anti-virus program and installed it on his computer. It wouldn't run. That made me suspect it still had a virus. And, since my friend wasn't able to get online, he didn't get it that way. That indicated to me that he had the virus when he got it back from The Geek Squad. They missed one. See Lesson #2.

So, I pulled out another anti-virus program, the AVG anti-virus, and installed it. This one worked.

And found a virus on my friend's computer. See Lesson #2 again.

This one was a bear to remove. Took a while. But, I finally got it. Oh, it was the Java Btye/Verify virus. Go look that one up, if you're interested. But, take it from me, it's hard to remove. But, finally, success!

The thing is, it still wouldn't get online. So, that meant more work. And breaking out the utility disks that came with his computer.

When I tried the recovery utilties, they wouldn't run. But that's because his computer came with Windows XP Home with Service Pack 1 installed. And his computer had been upgraded to Service Pack 2. And that explained the "newer operating system" message.
This is Lesson #4: Windows XP Service Pack 2 is treated like a new operating system. If your computer came without SP2 installed, but you have it now, some of your utility disks won't work like you expect.
So, I had to take another approach.

After backing up all his important documents (calling him after 11:00 PM to find out what all he wanted to keep), I pulled out the installation disks and tried to do a reinstall of the original operating system.
This is Lesson #5: Always back up your important documents.
On one of the early screens, there is a "repair" option. And it worked!
This is Lesson #6: You don't always have to wipe your computer when fixing SP2 with SP1 disks.
So, after running that process, I had a working computer. And could get online. That's when I updated his computer back to SP2. And everything was working just fine!

Oh, then I was able to install the Computer Associates Anti-Virus software. And it worked. And, it found three more viruses!
This is Lesson #7: Sometimes, you need more than one utility to do the job completly.
After getting everything installed and run, his computer was repaired. He was happy to get it back. And I had a sense of accomplishment.

Now, do I think I'm better than The Geek Squad? Nope. I think if I can fix my friend's computer, those professional over at The Geek Squad could have, too. I guess it depends on how motiviated you are to do a job.
This is Lesson #8: The attitude of the person doing the job sometimes makes all the difference.
Anyway, all of that work on his computer took several hours. And I was tired. All week, I was tired. And last night, it caught up with me. And I fell asleep on the couch. And I'm still tired.
Lesson #9: Falling asleep on the couch for 10 hours does not a good night's sleep make.
Now, excuse me while I go get some sleep.


  1. Sounds like you earned that long nap.

  2. Thanks. I almost feel refreshed now.

  3. But Hey, Someone Handles Problems, Just Like Me

    And that someone would be Basil. He gives us a good nine point lesson set that covers a lot of the 'fun' associated with major computer repairs. sniff Now I do not feel so alone. Thanks, Basil... ;)...

  4. Sunday Funnies

    Image from Cox and Forkum Not really funny eh? Well, it is 9/11, as you can see in our tribute posts below. I time to remember and mourn the death of many innocent Americans. Hopefully posting some funny links today will not dishonor it. But we can ...


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