Ryan Chartrand

Somewhere along the course of the last year and a half, my computer decided that my copy of Windows XP Pro wasn’t genuine. I had a fit. What did it mean? My entire operating system wasn’t genuine? It’s not like I bought XP Pro off of some guy from the street with a trench coat. I got it at Best Buy like everyone else.

Not being the most computer-literate person I took my computer to Best Buy’s infamous Geek Squad and they did whatever it is they did to get the updates I needed to log onto the dormitory computer system again.

Sometimes, however, I would still have trouble being able to get mandatory updates, and thus, being able to connect to the Internet via Resnet. Finally, at the beginning of this quarter, my computer told me it was no longer able to bypass the blocks and get the updates I needed to get on to the Internet.

Which was a BIG problem. Huge, really.

As a journalism major, I need the computer for all of my major classes, a majority of my G.E.s, and some of my electives. I couldn’t wait weeks with no computer; I had papers to write from day one of classes. Luckily for me, one of my roommates had an extra laptop that she most generously let me borrow while I waited for new software to be shipped to me.

Unfortunately, most of you probably wouldn’t be as lucky in the same situation as I was seeing as most people don’t have two computers at school.

If your computer breaks down, you need to first figure out what is wrong. Sometimes it will be obvious and you can just go and get it fixed, but sometimes you need a more professional opinion. Take your computer to your nearest computer science major/friend, Resnet, a computer store, or make your own diagnosis if you can.

Once you know what you have on your hands, it’s ten times easier to solve the problem. Then you can have whoever you took your computer to fix it or suggest ways to solve your problem.

A good resource to have is Best Buy’s Geek Squad. While they are far from perfect when it comes to speaking in terms that everyone can understand, amongst other things, they usually can get the job done. Also, they have a loan policy where you buy a new computer and use the computer until yours is fixed, whereupon you return the borrowed computer and receive a full refund and your fixed computer. While I’ve never actually tried this, it seems like the best solution for those who really need their computers and don’t have roommates with extra laptops. Kind of like an insurance company giving you a rental car while yours is in the repair shop.

Likewise, there are independent companies that can fix your computer just as easy. Sometimes they are even cheaper, better and faster than anybody else, but be careful to do your research before hand. Compare prices and customer satisfaction rates before you give them your computer and your money.

If you’ve got a faulty Mac, then take your computer to someone who specializes in Macs. Someone who does PC repair might not have any experience with Macs, let alone have any experience in fixing one. If all else fails, contact Apple themselves.

My problem, apparently, was caused by my Dad haggling the computer salesmen into installing XP Pro, which wasn’t included, into my computer without actually purchasing the software (To be fair to my Dad, we were told by Cal Poly that XP Home would not suffice on the Resnet system and that we needed XP Pro, so it’s not his fault).

Thus, when I went to have my computer fixed this quarter, I did not have the software to re-install onto my computer and the Geek Squad couldn’t do anything because there was no other way to verify that I had a “genuine” copy of Windows XP Pro. I had to call up Sony and ask them to send me new software in order to fix things (And for the record, I still haven’t received the software. What’s up with that Sony?)

In the end, if your computer breaks, always make sure your files are backed up and you have your operating system. The worst that could happen is that you have to re-install everything.

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