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A week ago I tried to boot my home computer, and it just beeped at me. I asked my housemate if he had any suggestions for a repair shop, and he said he'd had good luck with Office Max. So I took my computer to them, and they diagnosed a failed RAM chip. Fair enough, and so I ordered a replacement.

36 hours later, the new RAM arrived in the mail and Office Max installed it. I took the computer home and tried to boot it. Windows kept blue-screening over and over again. So I took it back to Office Max. I think it took another 36 hours for them to tell me that Windows was corrupt. They could re-install Windows, but since my PC had come pre-loaded with Windows 7 and I wasn't given the disks, I'd have to buy Windows 8.1 from Office Max. The price of the OS and installation was $300. That was on top of what I'd already sunk into the new RAM.

At that point I thought, "This is a four year old computer. I'm not going to spend this much money on restoring it. I'll just buy a new box." So I bought a new computer and asked them to transfer the data from the old hard drive to the new machine.

Another 36 hours later they called to tell me that the hard drive was also corrupt. They couldn't transfer the data. They could send it to a sub-contractor in Florida. It would take a week and almost $600 dollars.

I said no thanks, and took both old and new computers home. I thought I'd been backing up the hard drive, but the resulting file was a black box that I couldn't look into. I had to restore it to a hard drive to see it. So I was never confident that it was actually backing up, which is why I'd asked Office Max to try to salvage the data from the hard drive. Turns out my lack of confidence was earned. I had created a system image back in 2011 when I first got the machine, but it had never updated after that, as far as I could tell. I could have restored what was there, but it would have been missing four years of data.

So. I called up another repair shop, Uptime Technology, and I asked them how much they charged to recover data from a hard drive. $150 and it would probably only take 24 hours. I merrily took the computer to them.

The punchline of this story is that they called me today to tell me that the PC was working again. "It was just some bad RAM," they told me. So apparently Office Max either replaced the wrong RAM chip, or there was more than one bad chip.

I also called Office Max, and they said I could return the PC I bought from them.

So all that angst and running to and fro for just about nothing. All's well that ends well? Well, as long as I can figure out how to back up my data properly from now on.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 7th, 2015 12:54 pm (UTC)
I've found paying a couple of quid a month and getting the off site backup option of this software very useful: http://www.code42.com/crashplan/
Aug. 7th, 2015 02:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the pointer. That definitely looks worth exploring. I like that it gives you options about where to store the data.
Aug. 7th, 2015 05:23 pm (UTC)
Good news: I know a terrific place - sorted out a corrupt iMac hard drive and replaced a tablet power socket for a combined sum of about £150. Always clear about what they can do and then they say in the nicest possible way that they hope not to see you again.

Bad news: they're about 5,500 miles away from your front door.
Aug. 7th, 2015 05:28 pm (UTC)
Good news: If I brought my hard drive to them, I could have a beer with you!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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