What's The Worst Experience You've Had Fixing Someone's Computer?

What's the Worst Experience You've Had Fixing Someone's Computer?

Whether you do it professionally or just for friends and family, tech support can be frustrating sometimes. Maybe you've tried getting out of it or convincing people to do it themselves or maybe you really enjoy it. Either way, you probably have some horror stories to share.

Photo by Real Computer Solutions

What's the worst experience you've had fixing someone's computer? Tell all in the comments.


    various dead things... dust... lots and lots of dust, cob webs and spilt dried up coke. so gross!

    Working in London, a customer's PC was clogged with dust, dirt and droppings - I think there was a mouse nesting in there, and it certainly smelt like it! It was shoved at the back of a cupboard and never turned off - ironically, also a Dell!

    Working part time at a repair shop, an old fella brought in an old computer that smelt of tobacco so intense, that we had to keep it in the toilet with the exhaust fan on. When you opened up the side, the case and every component had a thick layer of tar, ash and dust on it.

    It worked in his favour though, we had it fixed and back to him the next morning just to get rid of it.

      My father's computer was like this until he quit smoking. I refused to fix it and instead forced him to get a new one and let someone else deal with the mess of the old one.

      Fixed a monitor for some one who smoked in front of there PC. When to desolder a dead cap and the board went up in flames.

    Corrosion - had someone want a new one because they were told their old one was dead due to excess corrosion, stupidly I got them another desktop.

    Fast forward two years... it's sitting in front of me right now with corrosion everywhere, refusing to turn on. I can either a) tell them to buy a laptop or b) chuck in a new motherboard and hopefully get another 2 years out of it.

    Of course it is the folks computer, 6 years on the floor untouched:

    Doing adhoc tech support on site for a client at my first job.

    A particular user had long hair with dreadlocks, a messy desk, sat on an exercise ball rather than a chair and had various herbal tea and homemade snacks scattered over his desk and the floor (both eaten and uneaten). He was complaining that his computer was running slowly, and could I have a look?

    Upon sitting on the exercise ball, I glanced down to see the most filthy, grimy keyboard you could imagine, and shuddered with the realisation I had to use it. I pressed the space bar to deactivate the screen saver and watched in horror as it appeared to get stuck, the springs straining to free themselves from the years of caked on crap. Slowly but surely it rose, almost in slow motion.

    I excused myself saying the issue was likely complicated, and that I needed to tend to the server I was originally called out for. When I was finished with said server, I snuck out the side door so as to avoid the hippy, and in my summary email to the client casually mentioned that one of the users machines appeared to be having memory issues, and given the age of the machine the best course of action was to purchase a new one for him.

    I'm now slightly OCD about keyboards (even my own), and I have a greater level of respect for the low paid tech support minions who's daily job is to clean up other users mess...

    Putting a plug/cord/lead in every output of the IO and then in to every input on the monitor of screen. I have seen VGA HDMI etc plugged up when only one was needed.

    Nothing too major although i went for a job interview at a school for IT support (at this stage i was a complete noob at all computer stuff) and they had a mock station i had to fix up. Checked all the cables to make sure they were all in and working yep. Boot the pc up works fine but gives me the no mouse keyboard error check the pc all good (i thought anyway) reboot still nothing triple check and realised they had put the mouse where the keyboard goes and the keyboard in the mouse slot..... Job Interview failed :(.... Nowadays whenever i see one of the old keyboards and mice with those green/purple plugs i instantly throw them in the bin for a USB one.

      Green and Blue (sometimes purple) slot, is called a PS2 (from IBM). There are also PS2 to USB converters. It's good to keep a few around the shop.

    A smoker's PC. Any of them, ever. Worst thing in the world. Everything is inside is yellow, sticky... and that smell. Dead rodents in PC's, and a computer that was on a property somewhere and host to what must have been 5 kilos of red dust inside.

    Software wise, finding 3 separate instances of child pornography on customer's PCs over 5 or 6 years and dobbing them in to the local police. Which at the same time was a pretty great feeling too. My boss at the time was an ex-copper and did not take such things lightly. Helped that he knew a few people too.

      Just curious, do you do this for a living, and you look through client files?

      I rarely have time to do that, with so much work.

      I'm just curious, were they on the desktop? How else would you know, unless you go through every ones files. To me, even though I don't appreciate children in that manner, I can't understand why you would sort through a clients files.

      I've noticed several of these posts, where they found things that they would have had to "look for". I'm not flaming you, just wondering how you caught 3, when I haven't seen one, in the 15 years I've been in business, but then again, I don't have time to look at their picture files as I prefer getting the units out of my shop as fast as possible.

      I'm really just curious how you found them, as, if there "is" a way, w/o being intrusive to their privacy (which they are paying for), then I'd like to know too? I would love nothing more than to catch one of these predators, but how can you do that w/o invading their privacy (something that they can sue your shop over).

      TIA for the info

    homemade porn.. of the preachers wife sitting next to me...

    Win 95 days. Forgotten the reason but ctrl A on the wrong directory and pressed delete to watch in horror as all operating system files fast disappeared before my eyes on my friends computer.

    Helping my girlfriend try to fix her printer - everything seemed to be configured fine, but nothing was coming out. Opened the lid of the toner compartment, and the entire underside was covered in little spiders. Attacking them with bug spray didn't help the warranty claim...

    "Hmmm the power button on this iMac isn't responding, better open it up and take a look at the logic board and switch."

    A dead cockroach falls out.

    "Ewwww. I hope there isn't more of these."

    Finally remove the display and the iMac is FILLED with LIVE COCKROACHES crawling everywhere!

    Run with the iMac to a wide open space, chuck it back into its box, seal the gaps with packaging tape and GTFO of there.

    Call customer and tell them we won't repair it and that it's infested with live cockroaches.
    Customer is understandable about the situation and buys a new (discounted) iMac.

    Worst tech experience ever.

      Skittlebrau, is that Mac for sale by any chance? I smell a bargain, and I'm not afraid of bugs... :P

      This JUST happened to us. My Dh is the comp tech & used to have a storefront doing repairs. Now he is in IT mgmt...but he still occasionally works on a few people's PC's as a favor. Well, his delinquent cousin brought a PC by this past weekend & unbeknownst to us, it was FULL of live roaches. I found this discussion via a search on the topic. We are looking at hundreds, if not thousands of dollars now to sort out a MESS.... There had to be 50 or more in there & 3 days later I am still finding them, even with staying up all night every night hunting, setting bait & traps everywhere, etc. I am just sick over it. I've never seen a roach in person until now & have never known anyone (rural Midwest) to EVER have any around here......and since I am still finding one here or there, I think this is sadly just the tip of the iceberg of the mess we are in for. He made NO mention that he had an infestation when requesting the favor of course. I didn't even spot any until it had been here several hours & the sun went down, so who knows how many crawled away before I ever spotted it. BLECHHHH!

    This isn't really tech related, but when I was around 16 I used to clean the cars at a dealership on the weekend. Drove one car from the back lot up the front, opened the bonnet and a live possum was sitting there on top of the engine, still alive, it scared the crap out of me and no one believed me when I told them lol.
    Another car wouldn't start, opened the bonnet and saw ant's around the fuse box, opened the fuse box, there was literally and entire ant nest in the fuse box at least 10,000 ants going crazy.

    Live, angry spiders.

    Dead things can be gross, but spiders swarming out of a PSU When you switch it on is terrifying.

    It was lovely. I had pickup and delivery pick up a computer, which I found out later, was from a trailer park.

    When I opened it, I moved it out as fast as I could, but it wasn't fast enough. The inside was a breeding ground for German roaches. It still took months to get them out of my shop.

      It's funny, actually, that this post should come now. I just had to rush a laptop out the door, and I hope I got there in time. If you look at the pic posts, you'll see at least one live roach, as well as, what roaches leave behind. It was a nest:



    I've been a PC repair type guy for a good 10 years and oh boy, I've got some good ones for you.

    Client calls, has just had a PC custom built and it won't turn on, she also claims it smells funny.
    Figured OK, its new so he probably didn't earth the board or something and fried it. Arrive on site to look at PC. The case is fucking custom made solid sheet metal slab with holes drilled in it. With a pentium II sticker on the top. Attempt to open the case. Its sides are held together by 3cm long nuts and bolts. After finally getting the case open I discover why its not working. The entire motherboard has had holes drilled in it, and its been TIED TO A STEEL CROSSBEAM WITH COPPER WIRE. The Motherboard and PSU had both immediately fried themselves the moment she turned it on for the first time. It had left giant burn marks across the board. I explained that she had been conned and asked her how much she paid for the machine.
    She took the guy to court and won a small settlement. I don't know the details though.

    Years ago, a friend of a friend (we'll call her una) had heard that I dabbled in "fixing" computers, I hardly knew her but she asked if I could have a look at her PC because it "wasn't working".

    Una told me many times "just do what you need to". It was an old thing and I had some spare parts, no payment required etc. Anyways, by the end of it, I did her a favor because the entire thing was shot and decided to replace parts and upgrade, even a new case. More or less, a lot better PC working perfectly.

    Una came to pick it up, I explained to her what I did, she thanked me with a cooked meal and left without looking concerned. Not a day later una comes back with her friend, her friend looking rather ...concerned. Una starts going off, somewhat irritated that I had taken all of her old parts out, given her a new case that she didn't want and had not fixed the PC she had originally given me. I went on to explain to Una that it was impossible because part a, b and c were stuffed and the PC I had given back was in far better shape performed much better...it worked. Una: "Yeah, that's fine but...I'm just not happy with it, it's not the original parts, I'd like it back in its original state and I'm going to get it taken to a professional PC repair shop".

    So I ended up putting everything back and giving back her busted ass machine. When I next met the concerned friend who told Una about my part time hobby of occasionally and UN-proffessionally fixing computers, I asked why had I angered Una? For what reason had I earned Una's wrath? Concerned friend had apologized at length, she had..."mental issues" or at least was a sandwich short of a picnic.

    A few days later I found out that UNAppreciative was told by the professional computer fix it company that part a, b, and c were stuffed and she either needed to replace the parts or buy a new pc.....

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