Thank you, Alex, at Canada Computers

by Jan Yuill

My daughter’s computer had stopped working… well, the monitor said it was something about the “VGA input” not functioning properly. She told me she had reconnected one of the cords at the back of the computer… “but, that was all.” So I did some wiggling and fiddling of my own with various connections at the back and front of the monitor and hard drive. Nothing made any difference. Would I call my tech guys and pay for a house call? That would cost $75, just to get started.

I decided to go to the Customer Service counter at Staples. I was told that a diagnosis of the problem would cost $49, and that it might be my VGA card, the motherboard (“a huge expense”), or something else, that I don’t remember. Actual repairs would probably start at $100, I was told. Was this old computer worth it?

Best Buy told me the same thing, except that the price for a diagnosis was $59. They said I might get a second hand motherboard (if that was the problem) at Canada Computers, which was just down the road. They would install it for $29 (after the diagnosis). So that was going to be $59+motherboard+$29+tax. Still over $100.

I hummed and hawed. Was it time to bite the bullet and buy a new laptop or iPad?

I decided to check out Canada Computers first.

Alex was at the Customer Service counter. Energetic. Happy. Friendly. Without even looking at it, he said it was definitely not the VGA card. (How did he know that? He explained, but I don’t remember.) He invited me to bring the hard drive into the store, saying he would take a quick look at it. Taking off the side panel, he said, “If you hear a beep when I press this “on” button, it’s not the motherboard.” We heard a beep. (Did the guys at Staples and Best Buy not know that?)

OK. So that was two possibilities off the list. It wasn’t the VGA card and it wasn’t the motherboard.

Then he removed two thingamajigs, breathed some magic dust on them (he supplied the magic and the breath; I supplied the dust), and it worked!

I took it home… one happy camper.

But of course, the magic dust didn’t “take” at my home. (My computer was obviously infatuated with Alex.) Same problem… “no VGA input.” As I wiggled and waggled things again, I noticed some chewed portions of the cord for the monitor. That would be doing of the bunny in our house. Dang! Was that the problem all along?

I went back to see Alex. Again he saw me after only a short wait at the counter. He said, “Yes, a chewed cord could do it. I’ll get you another one.”

As he checked the computer again, he said, “Is this where you had the cord attached? It doesn’t go there, it goes here [pointing to a different spot].”

Grrr. Chewed cord. Wrong slot.

The VGA input is now working. All is well. And I have one happy daughter too.

Thank you, Alex. I think you are terrific.

In summary…

  1. Shop around for advice, pricing, know-how, etc.
  2. … and then go to Canada Computers!
  3. Remember that if your monitor says “no VGA input” there is nothing wrong with the monitor. It’s working!
  4. Remember that if you hear a beep when you turn your computer on, the motherboard is OK.
  5. Put the monitor cord in the right slot.
  6. Don’t let your bunny chew the cord to the monitor.