Customer dropped off a computer saying that it kept locking up. We ran diagnostics and found nothing wrong. Let it run for 2 days and still no issue. We were puzzled as was the customer, but they paid the service fee and picked it up.

Three days later they came back with the same system, saying it had been locking up again and wanted it fixed as it was used by billing.

We put it back on the bench, run more tests including some more intensive stress tests used for burning in new systems. Nothing, system doesn’t miss a beat. Update the customer, wave the fee, they pick it up.

A week later we get a call that it’s happening again. My boss offers an on-site checkup to see what’s going on at the work location. Customer agrees to the fee and I head out to do the call.

I get there, it’s a little chilly in the office, and sure enough the system is locked up. No reaction from the keyboard or mouse, excel sheet still on the screen, and nothing is responding. I notice that the tower isn’t on the desk next to the monitor. Mind you there wasn’t room for it. Talk with them a bit and find that it had been behaving most of the previous week.

I have them restart the system, and noticed they reach under the desk to do it. She had to move the blanket that was on her lap.

She starts going through the routine of the day and sure enough it locks up again.

I ask her to let me take a look under the desk and find a space heater pointed at her and the tower.

I explain how that’s probably the problem and how PC cooling works in an air-cooled system like this. They insist that the tower HAS to stay under the desk and that they NEED the space heater because it’s cold in the office and there’s no place else to plug it in.

So, I “fix” it by pulling the side panel off of the tower, increasing the amount of air the system has access to, and start it up.

We monitor it for about an hour and a half while she works and I just kind of hang out. Sure enough, no lock-ups.

The manager/owner stops by and I gave him the update. Understandably he was extremely annoyed at the “fix”, and how much the space heater had cost him. He begrudgingly handed over a check for the service fee.

Went back to the shop, updated my boss and the crew, and we proceeded to have a good laugh.


So that week of working, we actually had warm winter temps where they didn’t need the space heater.

Yes the lockups did directly correlate to when the person was in the office working.

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