Cratchit Hall of Fame: MPC tech support

The Gripe Line salutes those who stepped in to help customers stranded by MPC’s demise

"My 2007 Gateway laptop crashed on Friday night," writes Matt. "I need the recovery disks but I can't find them. I have been hunting for them for a couple of days with no luck. I asked Gateway but was told to go to MPC. I cannot find a number or email address for MPC. Is this a lost cause?"

That question -- and others I still get from former MPC customers -- inspired me to nominate the folks at MPC tech support for the Bob Cratchit Hall of Fame, Gripe Line’s year-end salute to those who delievered when it counted most.

[ Send in your nominations for the Bob Cratchit Hall of Fame to | Frustrated by tech support? Get answers in InfoWorld's Gripe Line newsletter. ]

In 2008, MPC went bankrupt, stranding all of its customers without technical support, drivers, or parts. I hated telling people there was nothing I could do for them. There was no company to contact. Even the Web site that once offered driver downloads went down when the company liquidated.

Then a few noble people stepped in to help.

Steve Stewart, an MPC customer who was simply in the same boat as everyone else who'd bought computers from this company (which bought Gateway's business, education, and government division in 2007), decided that the buck would stop with him. He formed in April 2009 so that ex-MPC customers could find and download drivers for their systems. And Web designer Douglas Case started a support forum for power users of MPC systems to help each other out. (See an earlier Gripe Line post, "MPC: Going, going, gone," if you need parts for an MPC system.)

Now, when I get a letter -- like this one from Matt -- I don't have to say, "Yep. This is a lost cause. Sorry." I can send him a link to an explanation at that details his options, complete with instructions on how to replace his operating system and get the drivers he needs to get his computer working again.

No one pays these guys to do this. They do it because people like Matt needed them to. Why don't we all buy them a cup of coffee for the holidays?

Got a nomination for the Bob Cratchit Hall of Fame? Or a gripe? Send them to

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