Like most PC users my age I actually know very little about computers. I use mine for word-processing, email, research/web browsing and playing computer games on those rare occasions when I have some spare time.
So you can imagine my reaction when, after nearly three years with no more than the usual problems, it suddenly started claiming that I am running a pirated copy of Windows XP.
So I phoned Microsoft's customer support number only to be told by some egotistical twat based god-only-knows where, that this is because the 'Volume License Key' originally used to install the operating system has been blocked. Whatever the hell THAT means.
However if I can provide proof that this is a legitimate copy he will issue me with a new product key and guide me through the procedure to change it.
Ok. So how do I do that?
He needs the serial number from the windows installation CD.
After checking the material which came with the machine I inform him that I don't have a windows installation CD.
"Oh of course not!" He says. "It's got a Recovery Partition instead."
Erm... Ok. So what do I do now?
He then starts wittering on about something called a 'Genuine Advantage Kit' and what it's going to cost me.
Which is the point where I start to lose patience with him and try to point out, politely of course, that this was their mistake and I shouldn't have to pay for it.
He then informed me that he couldn't help any further and put the phone down on me !!!
Fortunately I have a friend who is a REAL computer technician - not some undereducated call-centre clown - who has agreed to come round this evening and fix it for me. I paid a lot of money for this PC and I'll be buggered if I'll pay Microsoft to fix a problem they caused.
This led me to wonder how many other honest PC owners are getting caught in the same trap and having to pay someone to rectify the problem for them?