Rubber Chicken Tech Support

Late yesterday I got the call I’ve come to dread:

“Dad, my laptop is dead.”

Being the inhouse Geek Squad, I’ve long ago given up any hope of providing viable tech support over the phone. I can upgrade RAM, even replace a cracked LCD, but trying to recover a PC from the state of rowboat anchor over the phone, over a cell phone at that, is hopeless in my experience. I ask my son the usual — did you try another AC adapter, did you try taking out the battery and plugging in the adapter — but he was a step ahead of me and it looked as if his two year old Z61 was slated for a motherboard replacement.

I know he has screenplays on the thing, and all sorts of school stuff, so tossing the machine was not an option. It will probably be a few weeks before I return to NYC, so hands on transfer of the old hard drive to a new system would have to wait.

Ugh. Off I went to the Lenovo Employee Purchase site to find a deal on an R61, I really don’t want to eat $750 for a new PC.

This morning I idly Googled “dead ThinkPad” and found one of the wackiest solutions ever seen proposed for reviving the dead. This was on Masnick.com, Mike Masnick of TechDirt’s personal blog.

“So I called up IBM support and explained the situation. The guy on the other end then let me in on the secret power button code to revive your dead Thinkpad. After assessing the situation (totally dead laptop) he warned me: “Okay, this is going to sound totally bizarre, but I want you to give this a try…” He then had me unplug the AC adapter and take out the battery. Then, you push the power button 10 times in a row at one second intervals. Next, you push and hold the power button for 30 seconds. Then you put the battery back in and push the power button… and she lives. The computer came back, good as ever.”

I called my son this morning and walked him through the process. He was skeptical, but went through the motions.

There was silence. Then those wonderful words: “Oh my god …..thank you thank you thank you.”

I don’t know what happened, I don’t want to know what happened, but all I know is a single Google search saved me nearly a thousand bucks.