Troubleshooting at Home

Somehow, even though I’m horrible at returning email and phone calls, I still have a customer who comes to me regularly for consulting advice and doesn’t get the “family/close friend discount”.  She called me up last week because her kitchen computer and her laptop were dying – they wouldn’t boot up, and were constantly getting errors while booted up.  She lives just far enough away that I don’t like to go pick up the computers and take them back to my garage.  Also, I just got a new set of computer parts and it was time to rebuild my system.  Oh, and the MDT 2012 beta came out recently.  Well, that sounds like the perfect storm for setting up my own deployment server at home!

Within an hour (not counting the time that was just watching progress bars) I was able to automate the Windows install for myself, and create a hardcore USB WinPE recovery boot drive, kick off a new OS install on my SSD and drive out to recover files and run chkdsk on the broken kitchen computer. I also brought along my iPad and used it to take notes instead of my leather notebook that I’ve had for the past 15 years.  Although the stuff I was doing was rather simple compared to my official salaried job, I felt like a technopimp all weekend long and loved strutting my stuff.

I’d post more, but a system with a Windows Experience Index of 7.6 needs to play some games.  By tomorrow my machine will be obsolete I’m sure.

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