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Jeff Stubbers (Technology Consultant Lead)

Consultant's Corner - Keeping One More Computer Out of the Landfill

Written on March 21, 2021 by Jeff Stubbers
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The Customer

As a consultant, you never know what type of questions will come your way once you answer the phone. Recently, Jeff Stubbers, our Technology Consultant Lead at Puget Systems, took a call from a customer having computer problems. The customer upgraded his RAM, but afterward, his computer wouldn't boot into Windows.

The customer reached out to Jeff because he believed he'd bricked his system and that it was beyond the point of repair. The simple solution at this point would have been for Jeff to sell the customer a new computer. After all, BIOS and CMOS issues are notoriously finicky. And it is quite possible to brick a system if the BIOS gets corrupted during an update.

The Consultation

This customer upgraded the RAM in his system that he purchased from another vendor. When he did this, his system would no longer boot. In an effort to remedy this situation, the customer reset his BIOS, and removed the CMOS battery, and put it back in. This resulted in the system booting a little further, but still getting stuck during the boot sequence. At this point he just wanted to go back to how the system was originally set, so he could have a working system again. So he took out his new RAM he had installed, and replaced it with the original RAM, then powered up. However, the system still gave errors and would not boot past the BIOS initialization. At this point the customer figured he broke his existing system, and was looking for a new system.

This is when the customer picked up the phone and called Puget Systems. What Jeff knew for certain was the computer stopped booting after the customer performed the RAM upgrade on his own. He recognized that these changes the customer made could make it so the RAM timings and voltages were reset which would result the old RAM no longer working when reinstalled. Jeff didn't have access to these critical settings which might have helped solve the customer's issues.

Jeff suggested contacting the company that sold him the PC and ask them for BIOS settings and RAM timings.

Working on a support issue on a system built by someone else isn't an ideal situation. At Puget Systems, we keep a record of any changes we make to the BIOS, RAM, or Windows setting so that our customers can refer to them in case of a system failure. Jeff has been around long enough to recognize that when the customer removed his CMOS battery to reset the BIOS, it likely reset the RAM timings resulting in a system that would not boot.

Whenever you can help someone fix their existing system instead of selling a new system, that is the better route for all involved. It saves time, money, and resources.

The Solution

Not every solution is cut and dry. In this case, while Jeff could have easily offered to sell the customer a new system, he instead suggested that the customer might be able to get up and running again by contacting the company that built his computer.

Any reputable company should keep the most critical computer settings on file for the customer to reference when needed. So Jeff suggested this to the customer, yet feel free to call us back if that didn't work. He hasn't heard back. We hope that means he was able to get the help needed.

Making an honest effort to assist the customer instead of focusing solely on selling new systems is at the core of how our consultants approach their job. When this man needs a new computer, whether it's next month or next year, we are hopeful he will consider Puget Systems.

Tags: BIOS, CMOS, Microsoft Windows, bootup