Fixing My Father-in-Law's Computer... Or Not

Today at 11AM, my wife arranged for my father in law to call with an Outlook Express problem. So Phil sat down in a local coffee shop with a wireless network and gave me a call. I was all set on my end, with my computer set up as much like has as I could make it and the Windows XP Remote Assistance ready to go. Unfortunately, his computer wouldn't even connect to the wireless network in the coffee shop. It should have -- it could see the network, it could attempt to get an IP address from the DHCP server, but it would just time out. I went through every setting on the box I could think of on the phone -- several of them twice. We had the coffee shop owner reboot the wireless hub/router. But it just wouldn't work. Forty-five minutes later, I had to admit defeat and give Phil the number for Microsoft support along with a special Quick Assistance number so he would get the support call for free.

I haven't been that frustrated since I tried to fix my wife's computer that wouldn't recognize that there was a hard drive installed and I spent 30 minutes trying to fix that.

I'm hoping he calls back and tells me what the heck was wrong.