Last week I got a call from a new client whose wife uses her HP Pavilion desktop to play Pogo… Pogo… That’s it, just Pogo… and apparently there’s a growing number of “Pogo Sharks” out there that I was unaware of… Anyway, back to the story… His wife had inadvertently run Windows automatic updates, a little “click happy” (perhaps from Pogo) and ended up installing Windows 10 on the machine when she was just starting to understand how to navigate Windows 8.1. Now as far as she was concerned, the machine was useless and she decided to take her Pogo games to her husband’s work computer so he called me extremely frustrated because he couldn’t get any work done.
He asked if I could remove Windows 10 and reinstall 8.1 so she could take her Pogo back to the Pavilion and he could get back to work. I asked about any other applications like Office or data like documents, pictures, or music that would need to be restored and he said “wipe it like its fresh out of the box”. So I agreed to remove Windows 10 and reset the machine to its original factory settings so she could set it up like it was brand new again. I asked if he wanted any remote support should there be need for any assistance setting everything up again and he answered that the whole machine only cost home $150.00 so he wanted to go the cheapest route possible and a simple restore would suit his needs just fine. I quoted a price of $100 to do a clean install of Windows 8.1 without remote support, he agreed, and the machine showed up at my office the next day.
He didn’t bring the power supply cable and this happened to be a machine that used a “laptop-style” power supply so I dug through the mountain of old power supplies I have stashed away to find an HP compatible power supply. It took a couple of days but I finally found one (I think it may have been the 41st or 42nd power supply I checked), got the machine booted up, and began the process of booting to the original Windows 8.1 Recovery Partition.
A few hours later 8.1 was at the setup screen and I shut the machine off so his wife could set it up with her original Microsoft ID and restore any apps she downloaded from the Microsoft App Store before the accidental upgrade. Made the call to the client that the machine was ready, and he picked it up the next day.
About 3 hours passed before my phone started ringing to find the client on the other end madder than a hornet because he couldn’t get passed the setup screen. After a few minutes of calming him, I finally got a word in to ask if the mouse was moving when he moved it. He said it didn’t so I explained that he’d left his wireless mouse receiver in the machine and I used the same brand mouse & keyboard to work on it so I must have gotten the USB receivers mixed up when I returned the machine. I asked where his office was located so I could bring his receiver by and pick mine up but he replied that he’d only paid $20 for the mouse and it would be easier just to get another. I got him to connect another mouse which started working and he went along setting the machine up again ending the call.
About 10 minutes later, I got another call wanting to know what a “Microsoft ID” was and after explaining it, he had no idea what Microsoft ID to use. I tried to direct him to find the option to skip it and sign in with a “local account” but after about 20 minutes it was just easier to create a Microsoft ID that mirrored his GMail account and move on with the setup. Each step went by seeing me drawing verbal maps to navigate to the next step. Finally he got online and that’s when the real problems began. He asked if I could just take control of the computer and do it for him while he supervised, so we moved from “phone” to “remote support”. Two and a half hours later, we finally got the machine back to a state he was used to seeing and we ended the remote support session.
The “cheapest route possible” had once again cost me an additional 2 1/2 hours of my time. About 45 minutes later I got an SMS message from him stating everything was working perfectly! I took a second, logged into PayPal and send an invoice to his GMail account for 2 1/2 hours phone/remote support at $59.95 an hour with a generous $30.00 credit for the new wireless mouse he rather purchase than swap receivers for (so I’m out a wireless keyboard or mouse, I haven’t figured out which just yet because I’ve been so busy with other things lately). He’s yet to acknowledge the invoice, much less pay it and he probably won’t either but it taught me a lesson… Whenever a client wants a “bare-bones wipe and reinstall”, always allow for at least 1 hour of remote support once they get the machine reconnected where it came from.