[Ubuntu-US-CA] A personal story for your consideration

Robert Lewis bob.l.lewis at gmail.com
Fri Jun 29 22:29:43 UTC 2012

How Linux can be used to diagnose a computer with Windows on it.

A friend from 1000 miles away called me to ask if I had any idea
why his keyboard was acting up and being intermittent making his
computer useless.  He was running Microsoft Vista.

Two days latter things went from bad to worse and the computer was
inoperable and he could not boot into Vista.  I asked him if he had
an Ubuntu LiveCD handy but he didn't.   I was going to burn one and
ship it to him but them asked him who provides his DSL.  His ISP
was Century Tel. which apparently has a big foot print in the state
of Washington.  He then told me that they have a computer repair
department and handle people that walk in.  However, he told me that
people that have used them have complained that they charge a great
deal and they were not satisfied with the results.  I decided to call
them and conference my friend into the call.

I told them that I was working with one of their customers and that
I lived in California and needed his customer to have a bootable
LiveCD.   I also asked if he had heard of Linux and the guy said yes.
I asked if he would be willing to download Ubuntu 12.04 and cut a CD
for my friend.   He said sure and guess how much they wanted to do it?
$1.09 and that included the media and tax.  The CD was ready in 2-hrs.
Now I call that good service.

When the guy home with the CD I had him run the RAM tests from the CD
and his RAM hardware came up clean.  I then had him come up into the
LiveCD mode and his computer worked flawlessly and he could
get caught up on his email.   I then had him download Teamviewer.
A program I favor for desktop sharing as it works across all three
platforms and is fast.  I then remotely accesses his machine and from
the "Dash" selected the "Disk Utility".  I than looked at the Smart data
the disk and ran a check.  The hard drive was not looking good and
I believe his earlier keyboard intermittent condition was being caused by
recalc's on the hard drive which had a higher priority than the keyboard.

So, Linux comes to the rescue again helping to diagnose a problem
1000 miles away and proving to be an invaluable tool.

Now what to do?   You got it, replace the hard drive and sell the user
on never using Microsoft again ;-)  However, this guy has little money
and frustrates easily at problems like this.  I acquired a 2-1/2"
SATA drive from someone on this list who was kind enough to donate
it to the cause.  He knows who he is and I thank you for your
generosity in helping out.

I took this drive and wiped it and ran a bunch of diagnostics to insure
that it was solid and had no errors.   I than installed Ubuntu 12.04
and proceeded to customize it for this user.  Then I shipped it to him
on an island located about an hour away from Anacortes, WA where one
goes by boat to reach the Island.   A friend of his put the drive in
the machine and he is fully operational.

Another win for Linux, as, in my experience taking a Microsoft
hard drive and moving it to a very different machine is failure
prone.  Jeff might have thoughts on this but it has caused me a
lot of grief when I have tried it.   Bottom line is this does
work well on Linux and all is well that ends well.
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