Tech Support Tuesday – Computer Memory Loss

Welcome to Tech Support Tuesday.  We’ve been busy the last couple of months and have not been able to post very much.  We’re going to try and prevent that from becoming a habit.  Here’s a little story that happened several years ago.

Computer Memory

I was visiting this client in 2005 and they were having issues with their system running slow, turned out they had very little computer memory on it so I recommended adding more.  When I told them the cost and that they could purchase it online themselves when they had the money, they were pretty happy.  I told them that when the memory arrived to call me and I could install it in about 5 minutes.

About two weeks later I got a call from them saying that their system died.  I asked them what had happened.  They explained that they purchased the computer memory and it arrived and they had their secretary install it.  I asked him why he didn’t call me to install the memory.  His response was that his secretary was rather computer “savvy” and felt confident installing it for him.  Riiiight.

I asked them what specifically happened.  They went on to say that after the secretary installed the memory the system stopped responding.  No mouse, no keyboard, the power buttons didn’t even work.  M’Kay…what do you mean “after they installed the memory it stopped responding.”  It took a little investigation but eventually I was able to find out that they never turned off or unplugged the computer to install the new memory.  THE THING WAS LEFT ON THE ENTIRE TIME!  Seriously?!

When I got there they were frantic.  All those documents, pictures etc were lost as far as they were concerned and they were already asking me what they should get to replace it.  They were correct to panic a bit.  The “genius” they had install the memory could have really cost them a good chunk of money.  Fortunately, it didn’t.  All it took was to simply unplug the machine and plug it back in and then turn it on.  Saying they were lucky is an understatement; the secretary, not so much, my fee was taken out of their pay.

The question that I continue to ask myself to this day is; why would you leave a piece of electronic equipment on and plugged in when you are working on it?  Never mind the possibility of damaging the equipment, there is the electrocution factor involved here.  It is the equivalent of leaving your car running while you try to replace the spark plugs.  Sure you could do it, but you’ve guaranteed your nomination to the Darwin Awards if you do.

Please remember to ALWAYS UNPLUG ANY electrical device if you intend on working on it.  It doesn’t matter what it is, turn it off, take the battery out or unplug the electrical cable.  Doing so could save your life and your equipment.