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Employment Deprived For 33 Years In Canada :(

May 29, 2009
By Christopher C. Charles
416 398 3772

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PC Repair Stories: THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY! The Best PC Dr In The GTA

Dec 31, 2008 I consider myself one of the best PC technicians on the planet. My forte is Windows. I know I rank below average replacing defective motherboard components. I simply don't know how to do that. I am great because I empower my customers to repair windows without losing files. Techies tell me what makes you a good or bad PC technician. Any good/bad PC repair stories to tell? Users tell me why you like or hate your PC technician/repair shop. And how many times each year do you seek PC repair? Any good/bad PC repair stories to tell? Techies tell me good/horror stories dealing with customers, their computers or tech support Users tell me any good/horror stories dealing with PC technicians/repair shops/tech support


Jan 03, 2009 I went to fix a laptop near Dufferin and Eglinton in Toronto. It was a MDG EL80. I brought my trusty desktop, the Compaq Evo 510. (2.5 GHz, 512 MB RAM). However, I forgot to bring my flat screen. The customer did not have a monitor. Forgetting to bring the screen wasted at least 2 hours of my time because restoring a 6GB image of Windows Vista compressed on 1 full DVD takes 10 times longer than restoring the same image compressed in a file on my 80 GB HD. Although the Compaq Evo 510 contains zero SATA ports on the MB, I use an adapter allowing me to connect a SATA HD to the IDE port on the Compaq Evo. First, the laptop shut down on me by itself! I removed from the laptop the AC power cord and the battery. I opened the compartment underneath the laptop to expose the fan. It was dusty. I asked the Hispanic customer for Q-tips. I connected my 135 PSI compressor to an AC outlet, rinsed off the ear wax from my ear plugs with hot water then inserted them deep into each ear. I turned on the noisy air compressor and while it was building up pressure, I used the q-tips to clean the dust off the propeller blades of the fan and off the heat sink. When the compressor automatically shut off, I commenced blowing the dust out of the laptop and keyboard. Then I used Bootit NG on CD to restore the 37 GB partition size Vista image from the DVD disk to the laptop's HD I had made all free space. It seemed to take forever. At least the laptop was not shutting down anymore. While the image was restoring, I began to chat with my customer. He told me he is from El Salvador, was a sergeant in the Government Army fighting the Communists who had killed 40 of his men. He was shot 4 times and was one of few survivors. His platoon had been ambushed by a large numberof Communists. I asked him if he still has nightmares and he responded, “Yes I do sometimes. You know it’s very hard to seethe young men you trained die. Many cried out for their mother and some cried out for him.” My customer explained about his trade. He works with iron tubing to make railings, furniture and ornaments. He also told me how his ex Jewish partner cost him to loose a lot of money. Evidence of his work was visible in the living room of his apartment. My customer from El Salvador has parrots. One Parrot called Guitar was flying around freely. He liked to perch on my customer’s right shoulder. This bird ignored me for at least 2 hours. Then all of a sudden he flew onto my right shoulder and walked around my back to the left side. He seemed fascinated with my dreadlocks and was playing with them. Later on he flew on my head. My customer said, "He (Guitar) does not do that to anybody." I confessed, “Animals love me”. Many times customers have said the same thing about their cats and dogs. Maybe it is my calm demeanor that is so magnetic. Finally the image restored. I then restored the tiny data partition and resized it to maximum capacity. The laptop booted no problem. However, following initial hardware detection many ugly yellow marks were visible in device manager. Everest reported the video, card bus, finger print, camera, chipset, Bluetooth and modem devices needed drivers. Unfortunately, my customer had no Internet access. I made notes from Everest and from the vendor and product ID reported by device manager. I decided to visit the nearest Internet café less than a five minute walk westward along Eglinton Avenue West. When I arrived the staff had donned their winter coats ready to travel home. “Sorry we are closed. We close at 11” said the young Chinese man whose co-worker was a Chinese girl. I returned to the customer who was inside a tavern and told him I am traveling downtown to Bloor St. W. between Christie and Bathurst where a 24-hour Internet café is located. He said meet me back at the bar. At the Internet café I paid for 30 minutes upfront. I had great difficulty finding drivers because MDG’s website contains no links to download drivers. I found the video driver. I discovered I already had the ENE card bus driver. The Bluetooth driver was difficult to find. I downloaded 2 different Bluetooth drivers. I tried to find the camera driver and failed. I saved the drivers on my flash drive. While trying to download drivers my screen suddenly went black. I asked the worker at the front desk, “What’s going on?” He replied your time is up. I was furious and raised the volume of my voice in protest! “This is NOT what I expect when I pay my money for a service!” The Korean worker replied, “It’s an automated system we use because people spend a lot of time playing games then complain they don’t have money to pay”. Furious I replied, “You can automate a five minute warning that the time is about to expire before you just close off the screen like that! I am a professional here to do work. I don’t waste my time playing online games like your other customers! Please don’t make me have to raise my voice again!” I yelled. I paid for 1 hour upfront and resumed trying to find drivers. When I was leaving the Internet café I reminded the worker to suggest the owner implement a 5 minute warning because not doing so only upsets customers! When I returned to the bar, everyone inside was preparing to leave and my customer was nowhere in sight. I asked if anyone had seen my customer and the bar tender handed me a note my customer had left. He had written his name and phone number. I went to the nearest pay phone. It was then I noted the time was 2:30 AM. I called the customer twice …no answer. I guess everyone was asleep! I had left my appointment book and all my equipment at the customer’s apartment. I decided I would go back the next day to finish the work. I arrived home around 4 AM. I had to take the blue night Jane bus to Finch then the Finch bus eastbound to Keele then walk 20 minutes south to my apartment building. The next morning I called the customer and arranged to continue. As I was walking to the customer’s building, I heard 4 to 5 gunshots. Then I saw a gaunt dark skinned 30 something male running toward me across the Intersection of Dufferin and Eglinton Ave W. He appeared African. I would guess Ethiopian or Somali. I fought against my curiosity to approach and enquire what’s wrong. If he was the gunman I did not want to tangle with him. I might get shot myself. The African ran west on the south side of Eglinton Ave W. Soon after, Police cruisers with flashing lights were scouting the area. One went northbound on Dufferin. Another went eastbound on Eglinton W. I tried to enter the customer’s building but the door was locked. I then learned I had forgotten to take the note with the phone number. So I began throwing lumps of frozen snow at the apartment window. Fortunately they heard me and the customer soon appeared at the door. The customer said the African had run into the nearby Laundromat. I installed the video, card bus and Bluetooth devices. I needed the camera, modem, fingerprint and chipset drivers. I discovered an unsecured wireless connection and googled MDG tech support. I discovered that they have 24/7 tech support. I called and told them the model of the laptop. The support technician asked me how long ago the laptop was purchased. I lied, “Almost 1 year ago”. I lied because I know tech support usually won’t give any free support once they know the PC is out of warranty. The support technician gave me a link to download drivers. However, the link was useless. The support tech asked for my email address and promised to send me a link to my email. I protested, “How long will that take? I have already spent hours trying to find drivers. I need the drivers NOW! Why aren’t they on your website?” 10 minutes later, I checked my email and there was a link to all the drivers for the laptop. WONDERFUL! While I was repairing the laptop a City TV announcement showed a video of a TTC bus riddled with bullet holes. Apparently nobody was shot! I believe the announcer said police were searching for a white male. We all thought the gunman was the African. However, I postulated he could have been the intended target. Finally, I created the image successfully. As usual I counseled my customer regarding the dangers of misusing the boot restore CD and showed him how to use the shortcuts in the folder called “stuff”. The customer paid me cash and helped me carry my heavy cart full of equipment down the steep staircase. Another job well done! Here is a story that illustrates how I work:


Winter 2008 A mature West Indian woman called me requesting help installing her webcam. She complained that she could not get the built-in mic to function and when she did get the mic working there would be no video. As usual I responded sternly, "This is NOT how I work! I do everything or I do nothing! The way I work is: I wipe everything off your hard drive. If you have important files then I can save them first before I erase all. Then I put my Windows on and copy back your stuff I saved. She was adamant, "Oh you don't have to do all that. I just need my webcam installed". I replied, "Then you better find someone else to fix your computer". She hung up the phone. Every week I have to tell at least 1 or 2 callers to find somebody else. So I put that caller out of my memory. People call me and say: I don’t want you to erase everything. I just need the viruses removed. Or I just want my sound to work. Or I just need to fix my display to the correct resolution color and icon size. Or I just need my printer installed properly. Or I just need a network adapter installed so I can access the Internet. Or I just need Microsoft Office installed. Or I just need my wireless router installed and secured. Or I just need an antivirus program installed. Or I just need my power supply replaced. Or I just need the error messages to stop. Those who think they know better than I can JUST FIND SOMEONE ELSE TO FIX THEIR COMPUTER. VIRUS REMOVAL DOES NOT REMOVE THE DAMAGE DONE TO YOUR WINDOWS! THIS IS WHY I REFUSE TO WORK THIS WAY! Customers! It's the easiest thing in the world to take your money and do garbage with it. However, it takes great integrity to send you to the competition. Remember, my service is NOT available anywhere else. And you are almost certain to suffer with your computer when you seek computer repairs elsewhere! Customers! remember that the restore procedure of the major PC manufacturers, Acer, Dell, Compaq, E-Machine, Gateway, HP, IBM, MDG, Sony and Toshiba deletes your files forever! My restore procedure preserves your files. And NO OTHER PC techncian in GTA empowers you with both written and audio-visual instructions. My service permits you to save hundreds of dollars in computer repairs. Unlike the services of others you must keep calling back several times within a 1 year period! See: My Rescue Kit consist of Software, Laminated and audio-visual instructions
Play my 8 minute Rescue DVD Movie
Approximately 2 weeks later I am called to repair a PC. The woman says she can afford $50.00. “OK”, I agreed to fix for $50.00. While I was repairing her PC she confessed she had first called me but decided to use the services of someone else who claimed to have 20 years of experience repairing computers. This person spent 6 hours trying to install her webcam. In the process he managed to bungle her on-board sound and recovered by installing a sound card. He charged her $80 for the sound card and $60 for his labor/time. And the original problem with the webcam persisted! Now that is one very expensive lesson for the customer. And this is typical of stupid people. They listen to others who are stupid like themselves and will always contradict the advice of the wise! I got everything working flawlessly and kept the sound card. I told the customer that I sell sound cards for $20. Furthermore, the customer was empowered to repair the Windows herself following the next infestation of malware, spyware, virus, worms, Trojan horses, false alerts, and rootkits.


Feb 23, 2009 I went to fix a computer. I was told it is brand new, less than 6 months old, running Vista. As usual, I wiped everything off the customer’s hard drive. After restoring my image of Vista, I got NT load error. I used bootit to check the partitions. I discovered that the Acer system automatically changed the first partition type from NTFS to something else. I have encountered this before and have documented the solution on my website, I tried this proven remedy. However, after 4 hours of boot failure, I asked the customer if I may fix the Acer M1640 at home. The customer agreed. Acer support was closed before I arrived. I am surprised Acer does NOT have 24-hour support. The next day I called Acer and was annoyed by the service agent who insisted I explain when I started to have trouble with the PC. “I don’t know when and I don’t care to go there. Please can we just deal with my problem now?” I responded impatiently. The service agent hung up the phone! I called back and another agent picked up the line. I complained, “That other tech rep hung up the phone on me just because I refused to explain when the PC started to misbehave. My concern is getting windows to boot on this computer from hell!” “Is this what you call “empowerment” when you frustrate the customer’s ability to reinstall the operating system of their choice?” Acer’s marketing slogan is “Empowerment”. Some Empowerment! The agent told me to go to and download the format tool. Acer MBs deliberately change the first partition on the hard drive, making installation of Windows there impossible: Hence the employment of a 1 GB dummy partition on the first partition. Even at home I continued to get that 07B stop error BSD (blue screen of death). When I tried Vista boot repair I got stop error BSD. When I tried XP repair install, I got stop error BSD. I tried integrating SATA drivers into Windows XP installation CD. I got stop error BSD trying repair install. I tried installing Vista from Windows Vista Ultimate installation CD. It appeared as if Vista failed to recognize the HD and could not continue. I put the customer’s same 320 GB HD into my PC and it boot after I used Bootit to clear the signature. I tried Acer’s format tool and it did nothing to help resolve my booting problem! After agonizing defeat again and again I thought of loading Vista on a spare IDE 40 GB HD (2004 mfg date). I loaded the data partition image onto the customer’s original 320 GB HD. Bingo! That creative idea worked. The Acer from hell finally booted showing 6 users account icons. Even after the first boot it was further trials to get the data partition functioning properly due to the automatic assignment of drive letter D:\ to the micro drive attached to the MB. After 2 and half days of torture, problem solved!

4. Don't Blame Me If Your Motherboard Is Defective!

May 20, 2009 My experience tells me that approximately 1 in 25 computers have defective motherboards. This is why I have decided to carry to my repair gigs a working motherboard, CPU, heat sink, CPU fan and device drivers. I charge $80 extra to replace a defective motherboard! Typically this is what happens as frequently as 4 times within a period of 1 year: The customer calls me because although the PC is booting up they cannot install any software on it, or the operating system does not behave correctly. After I wipe everything off and try to boot the PC. The PC fails to boot or it might boot once then refuse to boot again. I reseat or change the CPU, change the RAM or rearrange the RAM sticks, change the HD, replace the CMOS battery, change the power supply. After trying these things the PC deteriorates rapidly to the point where it does NOT even respond to the power on button. I say to the customer, "Your PC is defective. I can't do anything with this PC. You need to buy a new PC or replace the motherboard." This is when things get UGLY! The customer always gets angry and insulting: "You broke my computer. It was working. Now you have ruined my computer. You don't know anything about computers!" Customers have even threatened me with bodily harm and threatened to trash my residence. So far I have escaped bodily harm. However, the last time I encountered a defective motherboard, my life was threatened many times and my Compaq Evo 510 PC ($160), my 15 inch flat screen ($100), and my 400GB IDE HD ($68) was confiscated by force as compensation for breaking the customer's computer. "I will destroy you. I will tell everybody how you broke my computer" said the customer. I replied, "You are only one voice that will be drowned out by the many who will contradict what you say. I have built up a solid reputation over the last decade that cannot be destroyed by you! I have already many, many customers who are convinced that I am the best PC repair person in the GTA." I left the apartment and early the next morning I reported the incident to the police. I should have known the PC was likely to be defective because I had asked the customer where he purchased it. "At Sheppard Ave. W." He said. "Near the driver's license place?" I enquired. "Yes." He said. "That is NOT the best place to buy a PC!" I told him. Customers beware! There are some businesses out there that knowingly sell defective equipment. When customers return it, they are charged a 30% restocking fee. And the defective equipment is put back on the shelf waiting for the next victim! The customer called me and asked, "You called the police?" "Yes. Do you blame me after the way you treated me and stole my equipment?. I told police I don't want to press charges I just want my equipment returned", I replied. "You must retract your statement now!" said the customer impatiently. "I will. However, you must retun my stuff first." I said. "No. You retract first then I will return your stuff". "OK!" I said. I called the detective assigned to the case at 12 division and left a voice mail: "Please detective. The customer, having caused all this trouble, now wants to make amends. He has promised to return my equipment when he is satisfied no charges will be laid against him. Please, I just want my equipment back and am willing to forget the whole thing. Let's resolve this thing peacefully!" The detective called me back tonight, May 29/09, and has promised to deal with the issue when he has the time! When I know more I will append the ending of this story. I hope it will end well!

5. Customers! Be Patient! I Don't Steal Your Belongings!

October 2007 Late one night, I saw two police officers in the building on my way to my apartment. The female cop asked, “Are you Christopher Charles?”. “Yes”, I replied. She continued, “Do you have a laptop that belongs to somebody?” “Yes I am fixing it and I am not finished with it.” I said. “Well the customer called us and he wants his laptop back”. I could not believe my ears! Anyhow I led the police to my apartment and surrendered the unfinished laptop. Later, I discovered the customer had come to my apartment unannounced, looked through the letterbox, saw a vacant living room where my roommate had lived, panicked and went to the super. The super told my customer that he saw me moving stuff into a truck. The super deliberately mislead my customer to believe I absconded with his laptop! I did not lift a finger to help my roommate move out. He had a few friends help him. None of them had black skin including him! The customer later apologized and returned his $2,000 laptop so I could complete the repair for which I received payment.

6. Lunatic Pinoy Lady. A Promise Is Comfort For Fools!

A Filipina woman called me to repair her PC. She had important files to be saved. She complained she has little money. However, she knows many people in the Philipino community and will referr me to many. I should have remembered one of the many wise sayings my ex common law wife used to say, "A promise is a comfort for a fool." Another I should have remembered is, "You can lead the cow to the water but you can't force it to drink". The latter I experience everyday when I distribute cards. I get responses like: I fix my own computer I work in IT (Information Technology) My husband fixes the computer My boyfriend is a computer technician My son fixes the computer My brother fixes the computer My cousin fixes my PC The guy from church fixes my computer The Tech guy at work fixes my computer My computer is still under warranty My computer is working fine. I will never need you I saved her files before the HD crashed. I replaced the HD with a 200GB IDE HD. I tried to install XP but it would NOT boot. I tried Windows 2000 which did boot but proved to be unstable. Lastly I tried Windows 98SE. This worked fine. However, I could NOT find any Win98 drivers for her printer. I called her to tell her what I did. Her response was hysterical. "Oh Win98 is too old. Put back my XP!" "I can't do that!" I replied. "I urgently need to print" she screamed. "Buy yourself a cheap Canon printer for $25 at Canada Computers. Canon printers are the best and will have Win98 drivers" "No! No! I don't have money for that!" she protested. "OK! I will lend you my printer so you can print". She paid me money which barely covered the cost of the parts I put in her computer. She essentially got my labour for free. No matter. I expected to get some customers from her. Boy was I wrong! The next day this lunatic calls me and says, "The computer is NOT working!". "Tell me what's happening." I respond. "I can't logon at the logon screen." "That's because you are using a USB keyboard. Win98 will NOT detect your USB keyboard until it boots up. And it won't boot up until you type user1 or user2 or user3 or user4. What you need is a PS/2 keyboard, the one with the round end. You can by these for $10.00." Her fury erupted again. "I don't have money. I am working only part time. Let me bring back the computer to you!" "Lady. There's nothing wrong with your PC. Bringing it back to me is unneccessary. All you need is a ps/2 keyboard." She continued to argue and fuss. I told her. "You are stupid! You will NOT listen to me. You just yelland carry on for NO valid reason! She hung up the phone! About a week later I try to follow up with her but she has blocked my phone number. So I call her from customers. "Did you get a keyboard and logon to your PC?" I asked. "No. I am taking it to Futureshop. And if I loose my files. I will call the police!" She yelled. "I saved your files. They are located in a folder in the my documents of user1. And why did you block my phone? I have to call you from customers." "I did NOT block your phone" and She hung up the phone! A couple of weeks pass and I need my printer to print out restore instructions. Again I have to call her from customers. "I need my printer back. I need to get some printing done." I said "Well I am busy now" she said. "Did Future shop fix your computer?" I asked her. "You fixed it so I have to call you back." "What are you talking about? You are SO STUPID!" I yelled. She hung up the phone. I bought myself another printer, a beautiful black Canon for $25 from Canada Computers. Again from customers I called this lunatic several times asking for my printer back. During one of these calls, I detected that Future Shop had been unable to repair her computer and that they had erased all her files. One day I called her from a customer. "I already bought another printer. This phone call is for YOUR benefit because I really don't care to get back my old printer. Here's the deal. You return my printer and I will burn your files on DVD disk and give it to you. Now I have lost my patience with you and this deal expires February 1st 2009. If I don't get my printer back by this date I will erase all your files! "I will report you to the police" she screamed! "Lady you can call the army. Doing this will NOT accomplish anything. If you want your files, you deal with me." She started to yell and complain as usual. This time I hung up the phone. On deadline day she calls me from her vehicle parked outside my building. "I am here waiting" she said. "I am coming down." I replied. I see the lunatic with a girl friend behind the wheel. I give her the DVD and she gives me back my printer.I asked her, "Did Future Shop fix your computer" Her response was hesitant and NOT genuine. "Yes!" She lied. "Which version of Windows did they install?" I pressed. I deected her stupid brain trying to contrive an answer. However, she did not answer. I could not resist telling her off. "Obviously Future Shop was unable to repair your PC and they erased all your files because if you were given proper service by Future Shop you would not be here now retrieving your files on DVD from someone you hate so much and have taken measures to avoid! SEE HOW STUPID YOU ARE!" I yelled. "You are the worst PC technician in Toronto. I will never do business with you again!" "Lady how can I be the worst when I saved your files. I am better than Future Shop! She took off in a huff. SOME PEOPLE ARE SO STUPID!

7. My Single User XP with Windows Media Player 11.