Nothing is by the book

There are two things that make the businesses Rick and I run different from running a computer shop or working as the IT guy in a big company.

1. We see dozens of computers each week and no two of them are the same in any way.

2. Rarely is anything done by the book.

Every person has their own preference for desktop wallpaper, word processing program, Windows version, printer, antivirus, digital camera, web browser, etc.

It is my policy to only have someone change what they are currently doing with their computer if their current practices are causing the problems they call me about.

While I don’t care much for AOL, I don’t make it a habit of telling people they should switch unless AOL is part of the problem they have me come over for. The same goes for Norton Antivirus, Internet Explorer or any other product I don’t care much for. I just try to keep people happy with their computers.

One thing I have noticed in the past few years is that people in general of all ages are becoming more computer savvy. This means when I get a call, it is typical that they have tried all of the basic troubleshooting steps such as restarting the computer, turning off other programs, disabling firewalls, etc. So when I arrive I know that I will have to do a little more detective work.

Today I saw a computer where the client’s laptop wouldn’t connect to his wireless network. It would see the network, but it wouldn’t officially connect. This all happened after he upgraded XP to SP2. One note of importance here is that his wireless router and wireless card were both Microsoft brand.

As it turns out the Microsoft wireless utility that came with his Microsoft wireless card, was not compatible with Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2. Once I uninstalled the utility and let the XP SP2 utility take over, everything worked fine.

This is only one illustration that there is no such thing as a common computer problem. The more programs, hardware and jobs you throw at a computer, the more variables there are to sort through in any computer problem.