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Computer Tech:
Crazy Twists and Turns in the Computer Business
Posted 14 months ago on 10/5/2020
Take Away:

This is a story about a computer troubleshooting encounter I recently had that definitely had its share of surprises.


Not long ago I had to go see a fix my computer customer I have had for a few years in Geauga county, Ohio (a rural area just to the east of the eastern suburbs of Cleveland). He runs an Italian restaurant in Middlefield, Ohio (fourth largest Amish settlement in the world) and was in the process of opening another restaurant in Burton, which is a few minutes west of Middlefield. Middlefield is not your typical town - the Giant Eagle supermarket and the Walmart both have designated hitching posts so the more traditional Amish customers who do not drive vehicles can park their horses and buggies.

First, I went to the new place in Burton. There were two Brother MFC printers of the same model and they wanted to use a Windows 10 laptop computer to print to them preferably wireless, but via USB cable if needed. Well, I tried everything to get them to print both ways and it was not going to happen. Chalk this one up to the Microsoft June 2020 update for Windows 10 that altered the Windows print spooler so it doesn’t want to work with older Brother MFC printers. This is my fourth run in with Brother MFC printers that do not want to work with Windows 10 since the June update so go figure!

The next computer repair chore was to remove the Windows log in password for two laptops, a Dell and a HP. First, I used my Hiren’s Bootable CD utility pack software to access the SAM file under C:\Windows\System32\Config to nuke whatever existing password was there. It worked fine with the HP laptop, but the Dell laptop did not want to reset for some strange reason. I tried multiple times to remove the password on the Dell laptop, but no joy. So I took the Dell laptop with me as homework intending to back up all the data and then install a fresh Windows 10 on it to finally get rid of the password that would not go away. I could see this job was going to be a real doosey, but there was more to come.

Now it was on to the Italian restaurant in Middlefield to look at a desktop monitor that powered on, but would not display anything from the desktop pc, which turned on just fine. In many cases, though not all, a dark monitor can be resolved by removing the memory modules from the computer and possibly blowing out dirt and dust with a mini hand held vacuum cleaner and then reseating them back into the memory module slots. I tried this several times with differing combinations of the two memory modules and memory slots and no luck whatsoever. So now I assumed the monitor had an electronic component that shorted out, after all this was an older monitor from 2005 so it was probably in its twilight hour.

Even though the desktop monitor appeared shot, I wanted to try one more thing. The Dell laptop I took with me for homework had a HDMI port and I just happened to have with me a VGA to HDMI converter plug. I used that to connect the old monitor to the Dell laptop that had the Windows log in password snafu. But something different was happening with the Dell plugged into the old monitor. For some strange reason, the Dell laptop was doing a CHKDSK repair operation at the POST SCREEN fixing some disk errors on the hard drive. It never did that when I kept struggling with it at the new restaurant in Burton. Well, the next thing you know the Dell blew past the Windows sign in screen with the funny landscape in the background without even asking for a password like it repeatedly did before and then lo and behold I was at the Windows 10 desktop. Meanwhile, the old desktop monitor that was plugged into it never illuminated so it was dead as a door knob like I thought, but apparently it reached out from the grave to resolve the password problem with the Dell! My homework assignment had been aborted.

Just when you think you have seen the most crazy, bizarre stuff you will ever see in your line of work – something else will happen that just blows you away. Never fails…..


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