I pushed the power button, and the same problem arose: The cooling fan turned and stopped, and the computer didn't power on. I'm not sure how the tech got the computer to actually turn on in his shop or if he even tested it before giving it back. Feeling slightly relieved, I asked the owner to take a look.
Very irritated, he called the tech right away. I left for the evening, and when I came back the next day he informed me what happened. The tech and the owner were both there for a few hours before the tech discovered that the small plastic piece behind the bezel assembly that connected the power button to the motherboard was cracked. They pasted the plastic piece back together with some superglue the owner had on hand, and the computer turned on.
There was no long-term damage to the computer as a result of my wiring mishap, except to my ego. My boss grumbled about having to spend extra time catching up on his paperwork, but that was about it.
I think the biggest takeaway for me is to remember the first step in computer troubleshooting: observation. If I had taken the time to actually observe the inside of the computer I would have a) seen that the wiring was nonstandard and b) hopefully noticed the broken plastic piece. Observing either one of those things would have saved much time and money.
That computer is still in my life. After my boss upgraded all of the computers in the shop about a year ago, he gave it to me. Its current function in my home is for watching SpongeBob videos online, much to the delight of my five-year old. The superglued plastic piece still works just fine.
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This story, "The power of observation -- and superglue," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more crazy-but-true stories in the anonymous Off the Record blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.