PC Support, how may I help you?

I must remember next time I move into a new house not to tell anyone that I work in IT. When someone asks me what I do I'll have to say Business Analyst or something - nobody knows what they do!

Already I've had knocks on the door from 2 different neighbours to help them out with their PC.
Our next door neighbour has just bought a new laptop installed with Windows Vista, and while he was running through setup he somehow managed to set the system language to French. While my French is not that great I at least was able to guess the translation for Control Panel and go in and change the System Locale settings. I changed everything to English (Australian) and rebooted but it still came back up in French. I messed around with different settings and the best I could do was get some of the applications to come up in English, but still Windows itself came up in French. Thinking the procedure might be different for Vista than it is for XP I went on the Microsoft Technet pages and followed their instructions to the letter but still it didn't work. It must be a bug in Vista I reckon. There's always problems when Microsoft release their latest and greatest OS. My advice is to wait until the first Service Pack before you even touch it!

The other problem I had to deal with was for a neighbour who had just bought a 3G USB modem so he could get online. Everytime he plugged the modem in to any USB port his computer blue screened. Again, I didn't have much luck with this (I must be losing my touch). It was obvious something was causing a conflict somewhere. I disabled the usual suspects (firewall, A/V, etc) but it didn't make much difference.

A few years ago I might have spent hours trying to figure both these problems out, as I hate being beaten. These days though I think sod it, if I can't sort it within an hour that's what technical support lines are for!

I may be a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer but that's on Windows NT4. Things have moved on a bit since then. You tell people you work in IT and they immediately think you're a PC whiz. Yet it's been years since I've had to fix a PC for a living.

If you want to know how to secure a PC I'm your man. Be warned though, I'll have to charge my standard consultancy rate!