Much to my surprise, some good occasional clients recently decided to switch from PC to Mac after their business desktop crashed and would not boot beyond the Blue Screen anymore. They had two laptops and the faulty desktop. After saving all personal data on the laptops to a flash drive, they took the desktop to the Apple store to have data transferred. Apparently they were able to read the hard drive and recover everything.

Since they did not want to have a mixture of Macs and PCs, they brought their laptops to me to scrub the personal data on them while preserving the applications. They intended to give the laptops to younger relatives who are not computer-enabled.

I would probably do this simple service for free or a nominal charge since they have been clients for years (at least with the business computer and occasional tutoring). However, both laptops were behind on Windows updates and both had only 512 meg of RAM. My how times have changed! It seems like yesterday when that would have been a top of the line feature. While I was looking at one of them, a warning popped up that the anti-virus software was expired.

So now I have a marketing dilemma. Would the clients go along with a purchase of more RAM and updating the anti-virus software, or since they are planning to give both laptops to other people who I do not know, should we let it slide? That is, I did not want to come off like I was trying to pad the bill by adding tasks, but truly thought the laptops needed the additional work.

So I did what always seems to work best. I called them and we discussed the issues. We came to a pleasant compromise. I had a spare 512 meg stick that could go into the older of the laptops, but no memory of the higher speed newer laptop. The client would purchase some suitable additional memory and deliver it to me. I would download and install any updates needed for all applications. We decided to punt on the anti-virus software.

So this works out. I get some compensation and happy clients. They feel good about being able to help relatives for a rather small additional expense, and supposedly the recipients will be ecstatic.

The story would have ended there, but I got a call asking if I could recover some additional data from the failed desktop. The transfer was not complete. They had not discovered it until they started using the new computer.