Tales Of A Local PC Repairman

Tales of woe. The customer is always right. Well, maybe not always, perhaps very seldom…

Hard Drive Full

Some years ago, when I upgraded my laptop, I gifted my old Asus laptop to son number two. The laptop was quite old then and must be somewhere around 15 years old now and still going strong– a testament to the Asus brand. Anyway, he brought the old laptop around to me the other day because a program he relies on and uses frequently refused to run. I know my son pretty well so already had an inkling of where the problem might lie and, sure enough, on checking the status of the HDD saw immediately that is was full to overflowing– showing only 1.86GB free space out of a possible 116GB with an unmissable bright red warning:

After a telephone chat with the son, where he indicated what data he didn’t need or want to keep, I duly deleted around 40GB of data and… guess what… his precious program will now open and run fine. I explained to him, again, that he needs to allow a certain amount of free space on the hard drive for everything to work properly. I love my son dearly, but when it comes to computers and technology, he is definitely not a chip off the old block.

My Email Won’t Go

One of my clients, an elderly lady, rings me and tells me… my emails won’t go, by which I suspect she means the emails are not being sent and are sitting in the Outbox forever. So, to check the status of her internet connection I ask her to please run her browser and tell me what happens. After sorting out what and where her browser was, she says to me… There’s no use doing that. To which I naturally replied, Why? She comes back with, Because the modem isn’t switched on.

Bless her heart. I have no idea how she thought she could receive or send email without any internet connection.

”Two” Many Antivirus Programs

I go to see an old friend and long time client who has called me to report that his computer is running very slow. I’m sitting at his computer going through the usual diagnostics when I notice two separate antivirus icons sitting in the notification area of the taskbar. A little investigation and I discover he has indeed installed two different antivirus products both running real-time protection. He swears he has no idea how this has happened so I ask him which he wants to keep and promptly uninstall the other. I explain to him in detail how installing more than one antivirus can cause conflicts that will slow the machine down. The machine is now running fine… all good.

Roughly three weeks later the same friend/client rings me again with the exact same complaint– his computer is very slow. All the way to his house I am wondering what the heck could have caused it this time. I finally arrive, sit at his computer and see immediately that there are two active antivirus programs installed again. Waddya gonna do!?

This man, who is a good mate, is 83 years old and actually has a pretty good handle on computers and technology but he has this fetish for antivirus products. I reckon, over the years, at one time or another he has installed every single antivirus program known to mankind on his computer. Not all at once, of course, but every time I visit to fix his computer he has a different antivirus installed. And sometimes two. 🙂

The Serial Pest


I’m guessing most computer repairers would have a client who, when it comes to computers and technology, is their standout dunce… AKA the serial pest. My serial pest will often ring me three times a week asking how to perform the exact same simple chore. He also possesses a magical computer whereby settings seem to mysteriously change all by themselves. He will ring me one day with a minor problem which I will promptly fix and then ring again a couple of days later with a completely different problem that has mysteriously manifested since we last spoke– and so it goes.

He is actually an intelligent individual but, equally obvious, he has absolutely no grasp of computers and technology. He is also a very nice man and I just cannot refuse to help him out. After all, it usually takes only a couple of minutes of my time. It reminds me of one of the classic tech support stories of all time where the support help desk is chatting with an obviously technology-challenged caller. The conversation is very long with the caller providing much evidence that he/she is completely clueless. For the sake of brevity here are the closing exchanges:


  • When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two cables plugged into the back of it, not just one?
  • Yes, here it is.
  • Follow it for me, and tell me if it’s plugged securely into the back of your computer.
  • I can’t reach it.
  • Uh huh. Well, can you see if it is?
  • No.
  • Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over?
  • Oh, it’s not because I don’t have the right angle– it’s because it’s dark.
  • Dark?
  • Yes– the office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in from the window.
  • Well, turn on the office light then.
  • I can’t.
  • No? Why not?
  • Because there’s a power outage.
  • A power outage!? Aha! Okay, we’ve got it licked now. Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff your computer came in
  • Well, yes. I keep them in the closet.
  • Good! Go get them and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was when you got it. Then take it back to the store you bought it from.
  • Really! Is it that bad?
  • Yes, I’m afraid it is.
  • Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them
  • Tell them you’re too stupid to own a computer.

A tad harsh perhaps, but I sometimes appreciate how that tech support guy felt. 🙂

2 thoughts on “Tales Of A Local PC Repairman”

  1. Wow Jim. Thanks for sharing and making us chuckle. I can only recall one story. A computer was brought in for servicing because it was very slow booting up.

    The first think they did was to scan for viruses. Oddly the first scanner stopped working after flagging several hundred. Tried another, and since it was working better than the other, decided to let the computer run over night. In the morning, slight surprise to see the scanner had successfully finished. They laughed when they noticed the counter showed over a thousand hits. Do not remember the rest, as it happened decades ago, Mindblower!

  2. Hi Jim,

    Thanks for the ‘sparkle’ added to another day of blue skies and sunshine.


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