Thursday, May 08, 2008

Geek Squad my Aunt Fanny

A few weeks ago, my computer stopped burning data discs. The Wife was trying to backup photos on CD-R and my computer just refused to do it. Odd, thought I. Then I found out this held true for burning audio discs as well. I ran various software repair programs, defragmenting, fixing the registry, scrubbing the hard drive for viruses and spyware... nada. I even resorted to a system restore, to no avail.

Talk about inconvenient. Not a disaster, but inconvenient none the less.

Then on Tuesday the computer refused to recognize the memory card from her camera. It insisted the card needed to be initialized--although it already had been and was full of photos. When I get home, I discover the computer is also insisting the same in regards to my flash memory drive as well as my external hard drive. In effect, it refuses to recognize any USB peripheral. All of my data (read: Stories, articles, reviews, etc.) is safe and sound on my hard drive, but I have absolutely no way to access them.

So I take the computer in to Best Buy. I'm not a huge fan of big chains, but the whole "Geek Squad" suckered me in. Plus, I didn't have time to research independent computer repair shops in San Marcos and Best Buy would be convenient for me on my commute. So I take it in and explain the problem, then outline all the unsuccessful steps I'd taken to fix it on my own. The slack-jawed yokel takes my computer and says he'll call me in 20 minutes with the diagnosis. Fast forward 45 minutes. No call comes. I'm waiting in line and finally get up to the doofus, who cheerfully informs me that there are no viruses on my computer and that I'm good to go. But I already knew there were no viruses. Did my CD burner work? Would it recognize my flash memory? Had he listened to anything I said? No, on all counts. They'd have to keep it and run a deep diagnostic on it, he informed me, but would be in touch later in the afternoon with the results. With foreboding, I left my computer there. They already had my $63 after all, but I wasn't about to throw good money after bad.

Of course, no phone call ever came. So I headed over there this afternoon to have them tell me all the hardware checks out. That's the good news. The bad news is that the operating system--Windows XP--is corrupt and unstable. It has to be re-installed. Dell will provide me with a recovery disc, after which point everything should work fine again. Except that re-installing Windows will wipe everything on my hard disc. And I can't back it up externally because Windows isn't playing nice with USB right now. Ain't life swell? Best Buy offered to do a data recovery for $100 or so, then re-install Windows for $130 once I got the disc from Dell. No thanks, pal. I've had time to research while waiting for you to never call me. There's a local outfit just a block away from me that'll do it for $65 since there's nothing wrong with my hard drive. I'm still very much annoyed by the whole situation, and cringe at all the programs I'll have to hunt down the discs to--not to mention those I installed via downloads and will have to start over from scratch with. Ugh.

And yes, I know Microsoft sucks donkeys. Macs cost too much and I'm not enough of a tech head to even consider Linux, so I'm stuck. I know this. Thank you for your concern.

Now Playing: Jimmy Buffett Boats, Beaches, Bars & Ballads


  1. Just remember that Geek Squad employs the geeks that aren't employable elsewhere.

  2. Yeah, that's pretty obvious in hindsight.

    The good news is, I've found almost all of my software discs that came with the computer, including the XP reinstall disc.

    The bad news is that Word Perfect--the program I use the most--continues to elude me. Curses.

  3. Give praise to FSM that you aren't subjected to the horror that is Windows Vista.