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Sunday
Feb072010

Paranoid User

There are some who are paranoid of the people who want to help them.

I had a customer who wanted to install a game for her kid, but it won't install.  It turned out her computer was full of malware, and I offered to reinstall Windows for her - the only sure fire way of making sure nothing malicious remains.  However, she said she want the original software to remain.  I figured she had illegally installed software on there, so I felt no pity.  Besides, how can you clean such a badly infected machine?  She also says the laptop is new, so how can there be viruses?

That is a very absurd question, and at this point, I knew what I was dealing with.  I explained to her that it doesn't matter if it's new or old, malware can get in when you let them in.  Also, when something that gets this bad, there is no sure fire way to cleaning it up without starting from scratch.

She wanted to stay to watch the whole process - none of my customers ever do that, since reinstalling Windows, drivers, and software is a tedious process that can be done while I do something else.  However, because of her paranoia, I was forced to work in front of her, making small talk while we wait for Windows to install.

In the middle of installing Vista, she said she was going to get lunch and left her son (the one who wanted the game) to watch me.  About 30 minutes later (and after Vista was just finished installing), she came back and said she changed her mind, gave me $20, and left with her laptop.

Her laptop is now left in an unlicensed state (will expire in 30 days), no drivers (using generic VGA driver, and networking is not going to work), and no software (all the software that came with PC).

I got $20 out of it, but not sure what was wrong with this woman.

She is Chinese, and I don't speak it very well.  My mom was talking to her while was working on the PC, and after the whole ordeal, my mom told me the story she told her about the last tech who worked on her PC before didn't put in the "original" software.

Now I think I understand - someone probably installed a non-genuine version of XP on her machine before, so now she is paranoid about all techs.

That's too bad, because she is just going to screw herself royally in the long run.  She was going to buy a whole new laptop instead last I heard, and if that's the case, what a waste and a pity.

Yes, there are bad techs out there, and they are ruining it for the rest of us.  I was going to install Vista and use the manufacturer's SLIC license, which is perfectly legal since the manufacture already paid for the license.  It would be just as legal as the original install, and I was able to create the Application and Driver DVD through her own laptop to install the factory software and drivers.  She would end up with a laptop exactly like how she would have bought it when new.

So because of her paranoia, her laptop is now worst off than it was.

Would I still work on her laptop if she comes back?  Sure, why not.  But I will still charge her the full price on top of the $20 she gave me, because I will start over again - I can't trust what she and her kid did with it between now and then.

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