Last week (or so), I got two calls from friends to help with their computers. A friend of my wife called to tell me that her computer was now saying, basically, "Re-install windows." She realizes that this is code for "Buy a new computer," which she is willing to do. I ask her if there are any files on that computer that she absolutely positively can't lose, and she says yes. I'm figuring that I will boot the thing up with some sort of Linux live cd and get her files for her. She tells me that she'll come over the house, the kids can have a play date, and I can do the thing.
Couple days go by and I ask my wife when her friend is coming over. "She's all set," my wife tells me. "She took it in some place and paid somebody a hundred bucks or something to do it."
Case #2, my father in law. Calls me up to tell me that his hard drive is full and he doesn't know why, because this is a man who pretty much uses only Word and AOL. I show him how to look at his disk usage by doing a search for large files and see if anything leaps out at him. I'm hoping that this will cause him to say "Oh, yeah, there's that DVD I copied" or something else like that.
Again, I don't hear anything. I offer to come over and fix it, several days in a row. He says no worries, he's not in a hurry.
Today I get a call. I quote, "I did what you told me, and I got the list of files. I didn't really recognize what I was looking at, so I started deleting things. Now Windows doesn't work anymore." Well, no kidding! "Now I'm just going to buy a new computer. What should I buy?"
I figure there is one last hope. "Wait," I say, "If all you did is delete the files, then we can fish them out of the Recycle Bin."
"Nope, they're gone," he says. "I emptied that."
Oh, sure, that he knows how to do.