if you are the only tech person in your family, you are likely as i am the defacto nick burns of the group. that’s okay most of the time, but can get tough at times. you may be like me as well, that when actually posed with a question, you feel completely obligated regardless of how feasible it may be.
i found myself in the predicament recently. my brother-in-law called me about 3 weeks ago and said ‘um, i’m using kristie’s [my sister-in-law] computer at home and it just installed something and now has a blue screen…is that bad?’ — after explaining the BSOD to him for a minute, we tried some quick things. they didn’t work.
his wife called me about 10 minutes later in tears (all music/photos/finances on the drive). she told me what the BSOD said and it was a drive failure. i asked if it was clicking…no clicks — that’s good. anyhow, long story somewhat shorter, it was one of those problems that couldn’t be handled over the phone (they are in Indiana). now my bro-in-law is a big hot-shot exec at his company so i suggested that he recruit an IT person from his company to help. they did that. net result: IT guy said drive is hosed. i called BS on that and told her to take her drive out and bring it to me (she was coming this past weekend).
after putting it in a computer as the master and booting to the windows xp startup disk in restore mode, and ten minutes later — we were able to login to the machine again. nick burns success!
the good thing is we were able to get the data off the drive (it is about to fail bad), the bad thing is that it reinforced my position as family computer guy — and now the IT guy at the company is in for a serious lecture by an exec :-)