Customer has just moved into town, and is having computer problems.
The PC refuses to start correctly, and before the startup problems, the PC had many problems with popups, and was running very slow… It all sounds very typical.
when I get there, the PC freezes partway through starting XP. I restart, then try hitting <del> to get to the bios, but the keyboard doesn’t seem to work.
occasionally, there will be a keyboard error during the BIOS POST.
I try a different keyboard, but I get the same result except…:
While pushing the in the keyboard plug, I felt the keyboard socket move slightly.
I try changing keyboards again, and this time, the socket moves back into the PC by about a centimeter, until I stop pushing 🙁
OK, time to take out the PC and have a good look inside.
I find that the motherboard is mounted on a sliding tray, designed to make swapping motherboards easy.
However, the last “technician” to work on the PC must have been trying to economise on screws… there was only 1 screw (instead on 2) holding the side case panels in place, and NO screws holding the motherboard tray (hence the “sinking” keyboard socket).
I secure the tray properly, but the keyboard still doesn’t work.
OK, it must be a motherboard fault. I tell the customer that getting hold of a replacement motherboard can be difficult (AMD Athlon 750MHz = and appropriate mobo will be difficult to find). at a guess, I estimate $200 (particularly given the time to find one, and the risk that it might not be compatible with the processor… all up, a cheap, but unpleasant option). There is also the risk that there are other motherboard faults that are not apparent yet…
I also offer a newer (P4 1.8GHz system) for $350. Price includes transferring the DVD writer and HDD to the new PC. She goes for the new PC.
I connect the original HDD to my main system, do a scan, and remove a few nasties.
I later find out that she has a “non-legal” windows XP, and moving it to new hardware causes it to request activation… well, after some careful work, I manage to get XP working correctly, and I install all the new drivers for the new hardware that XP suddenly “discovered” due to the HDD transplant.
Hopefully, I’ve learnt another lesson: ask for the XP disks before taking a PC away for a potential rebuild. If there is no disk, then the cost is higher, due to all the activation rubbish I need to bypass or the cost of a proper version of XP… Oh I forgot… its becoming more difficult to get XP nowadays… Isn’t progress grand!