Fixing friend's PCs

  dagbladet 09:30 11 Dec 2007
Locked

We've done this before. Many of us have helped out friends with their computers only to find ourselves apparently locked into an unspoken life-time repair warranty. I've just experienced a new one.

He's not exactly a close friend, but an aquaintance from the pub who had been given a new laptop for his work and wanted to give the old one to his daughter(6) to play about on. Someone told him that I was a bit of a computer dabbler so he asked if I could sort it out for him. he described it as "an old work machine that was slow and 'buggy' and probably not worth saving" but could I have a look. As it turns out, it is only about two years old, 1.8Ghz, 2meg, XP pro built in wireless. Much better than anything I have ever had. It had never had any anti-spyware/malware software loaded, never been de-fragged, etc. After the usual spring cleaning stuff, switching off 30 odd! programmes launching on boot, running CCleaner and finding 3gigs of stuff, spybot etc etc, it was running like a dream and I was relieved to avoid a format (no drivers disk). Then I installed a router on his main home PC (after another 3 hour spring clean) and got the daughters laptop hooked up on wireless. I was quite chuffed with myself on a job well done and left with the promise of a "nice drink" next time he sees me.

Well blow me down if the following weekend I walked into the local, went to the bar, he approached me, "here we go" I thought, is this beer all night or is it going to be the 'builders version' of 'a nice drink', where they pass on a few quid for job referalls.

No.

He said, "that bloody computer burnt my little girls legs", "really, how?", "she was on the internet last night with it and she felt a burning on her knees, the bootom of that b***** machine was "red hot", what have you done to it?"

When will I ever learn?

  The Brigadier 09:58 11 Dec 2007

People dont realise that laptops get very hot when being used for long periods.
Having it on your lap might be easier to use, but you must realise the dangers of doing so.
Tell your 'friend' that they are NOT designed for use on laps!

  Totally-braindead 10:31 11 Dec 2007

Oh dear thankfully I have never had this. Had some downright ungrateful people but no one got hurt.
As I'm sure you realise laptops do get hot, some very hot and running it sitting on your lap just makes it worse as it blocks the cooling vents and makes it hotter. Really wish they wouldn't call them laptops, notebooks would be a better name.
Since hes just an "aquaintance" theres nothing really lost friendshipwise though.

You have my sympathy for whats its worth, I don't think you will be able to convince the dad that its nothing to do with what you did so you'll probably have to just leave it. An adult using it would probably notice the heating up quicker and avoid injury.

  Quickbeam 12:08 11 Dec 2007

It's always the same when a friend or remote acquaintance asks for the use of whatever skill you have.

By trade I'm a confectioner, at one time I used to make celebration cakes , but packed up when people were disappointed that I wouldn't do them at cost price. I had a small transport firm and had people I knew thinking I would haul for them for diesel money. Now I'm in the taxi business, I either say I'm fully booked at that time or over price the job to fob them off... I won't do work for friends(?) under any circumstances now!

  spuds 12:24 11 Dec 2007

Perhaps there is a way of remaining friendly, and at the same time offer a word of advice.

On the internet (Google search) there are many references to 'hot' laptops, and how other people have had this problem, and what remedies or actions were taken. Print a few copies of the most relevant, then present it as an additional aftercare service and Christmas present ;o)

On a personal note, when someone suggests that I might know something about computers,I find that a "Sorry, no can do" is best.By all means try to advice and leave them to it. Who am I to stand in the way of a £30/£60 an hour independent technician or PCW Tech Guy!. 'Friends' you can make, enemies can be more difficult to lose.

  Legolas 12:50 11 Dec 2007

You should have laughed it off, explained all laptops get hot and then said "I'll have a pint thanks" :)

  Colin 12:52 11 Dec 2007

With the rise in sales of notebooks due to their drop in price, I'm sure that the heat problem will crop up more. A colleague at work bought an Acer notebook from Tesco. He’d had it about a week and he told me that it would freeze after using it for 15 minutes. He said that he would take it back to Tesco and play merry hell. Why people go up like a bottle of pop at the slightest thing, I don’t know. Anyway, I asked him to bring it in to work. The next day he brought it in and he put it on the desk, started it up and, of course, it ran faultlessly, though the noise of the fan was noticeable. I asked him how he used it at home – “on the carpet” he said. On turning the notebook over and looking at the fan grill, it was full of fluff and other sundry items. I cleaned it out, told him to use it and a hard surface and he’s not had a problem since. A lot of PC problems are self inflicted – I don’t think I could be a PC fixer to the general public!

  Bingalau 13:45 11 Dec 2007

I wouldn't want that ungrateful bounder for a friend or even an acquaintance. You, meanwhile have learned a valuable lesson for life..

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