Monday, December 31, 2007

The reformat kiss-off

One of the things that really gets me cranky is the "reformat your computer" solution to software problems. A question we have on our IT queries website is from a gentleman who has been told he should reformat his computer to reinstall Pinnacle.

What a load of rubbish! The thing with this blind "reformat your computer" advice is that it's the IT equivalent of a doctor telling you to "take two asprins and call me in the morning".

The difference is the two asprins are relatively harmless while a reformat can result in hours of work, frustration and lost data.

Put simply, reformats are the last resort and usually are only necessary for fixing major spyware infections.

In this case, it's the classic example of an incompetent computer tech fobbing someone off with some nonsense.

A competent computer tech should be able to resolve this problem with a few hours work. The problem though is clients often don't want to pay for that work.

Which is probably why so many incompetent techs survive and even prosper; they may not be good but they are cheap.

1 comment:

Peter said...

Some are not that cheap either but still charge for something they could not fix simply beacuse they spent the time trying.

I know this from personal experience 3 years ago when I was having trouble getting my upgrade from standard broadband to wireless broadband to work. I could get Internet access to 4 computers ok but could not get all computers to network to each other.

As I was setting up the wireless connection to more than 1 computer, support was not provided by Bigpond for this so I tried it on my own.

After managing to get 2 computers talking to each other I could not get the other two to do so and called in a qualified tech (MS certified) who spent 2 hours trying without success and then declared that he believed my new ADSL modem/router supplied with my wireless upgrade to be faulty. This cost ne $198 which I reluctantly paid and have kicked myself for ever since.

After he left I completely uninstalled the wireless set up and started again and, after a series of trial and error techniques, I got everything working and it has been fine ever since. I now do my own maintenance and upgrades myself.

I think part of the problem is that people expect to be able to turn their computers on and they just work and should continue to do however this is akin to driving a car and not maintaining it correctly or at all.