Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My parents fixed the PC at home!

This was an experience!

For the last one month or so my parents have been complaining that my PC at home some times suddenly refused to start up. This was strange to me as the PC in question is a Dell machine and is about an year and a half old. Though I have opened it up and added a few memory modules and a graphics card to over the time.

Now I have absolutely no physical access to my machine @ home, but I heavily depend on it to talk to my parents. The only rational thing I could figure out most of the time was that the power plug was loose and you just need remove it from UPS and fix it back. Though I was pretty sure that it was not the real problem as I have never seen it to be loose before.

And one fine day, i.e. on a Monday (March 9, a holiday for me and had planned a cycling session to a near by lake for the day), my mom calls me and tells me that my computer is broke!! It is giving strange beeps and there is no power on keyboard! From which I could only make a vague guess that there is some memory problem or some of them have gone loose for some strange reason.

That was pretty good observation by my parents, I must admit, as they are not really used to computers as I am. Though my dad has worked on third-generation computers, but that was quite a while ago.

Ensuing this was a real ordeal from my and my parents side, beginning by telling how to open the machine. Thank god it was a Dell machine, and you can easily open the side cover without using screwdrivers! To make them open the cabinet did not take much of a time it was done with some five minutes of instructions.

The real hard part was telling them where the RAM was installed! I tried giving all sorts of rubbish analogies. First I made sure that they know what board to look into (motherboard). And then finally settled on to this one: there are 3 "ruler-like" strips placed next to each other, which are perpendicular to the motherboard and are placed on "white" strips. Lol, I have never had had to tell any one before how a RAM chip looks like :)

After this, they told that yes, they can see it. Next, it was easy to tell them how to remove one and then test whether the system powered on. My system back home has a 2GB, 1GB and a 512MB chip. One-by-one they removed the chips and checked, but all was in vain. So next, I asked them to put back the chips one-by-one, this was more harder to tell them, as you need to put them back properly (they go only one way in) as also you need to press the chips somewhat hard to place them firmly on the holder. It didn't work for the first two times. So I was almost gonna give up and in between I called up my computer guy back in Pune to ask if he could to be free to drop in at home that same day and fix up the things. He told that he would call me back in 10 mins and let me know! This was pretty surprising reply by any standards!

But in the mean time they could properly figure out how to place the chips and started the PC. Next I was able to remotely connect to it and could figure out that only one module was properly fitted. So I again called them and asked them to properly fit the other two. And viola, the next time I connected remotely, every thing was back to perfect and normal.

All of us were pretty happy for this. But I was pretty amazed, my parents fixed the PC!! and this was the first time ever they had opened it by themselves, though they have seen me doing this countless number of times :)

And to add to all the amusement, the computer guy form Pune called back, I am still recovering from this! Any way so I told him that my parents fixed it, though you might be needed some other time ;)

Ha and on the downside, its was all a 3 hour "fixing time", and cost me 500 INR for all the conversation we had, and well I stayed home for the whole day. But what the heck, it was worth it!

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