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Question I have a PC user that has used four PCs in the last three months. He has had numerous Microsoft and other mysterious problems; from locking up to Illegal Errors to the appearance of a DOS “Blue screen of Death” explaining that it is OK to shutdown his PC (while the PC was idle). I and other MIS techs have rebuilt two of the PCs, changed memory, motherboards, NICs and other components all to have the problem again occur on the fourth PC this morning. It’s a longshot, but some techs think that we may have a highly charged user that needs grounding. Don’t laugh - it fixed a problem with another user a year ago. What do you recommend to safely ground this individual? He works in a Herman Miller cubicle on carpet. All PC equipment is connected to a surge protector. –Robert Greene, Sacramento County Waste Mgmt, Sacramento, CA
Answer It does sound like the PC is experiencing heavy ESD trauma. There is an uncommon phenomena with electric people {http://www.amasci.com/freenrg/iontest.html#thteen}, but this sounds like pure triboelectric charging (feet to rug - http://www.amasci.com/emotor/tribo.html) and discharging (hand to PC). One solution is to place dissipative floor mats on the floor around the PC or spray carpet spray and use foot grounders. They could also wear a grounded wrist strap (same ground as the PC power ground). Some more suggestions are listed below. How to prevent unwanted ESD from cruising through your PC? 1) Remove all unnecessary objects, especially non conductors from around your PC; 2) Make sure you have a proper power ground for your PC and peripherals; 3) Ground all conductive objects that come in contact with your PC; 4) Ground all conductive objects that are within the near vicinity of your PC; 5) Keep your monitor screen clean with an antistatic spray or wiping cloth; 6) Ground yourself and anyone else working near or on your PC when repairing or adding components. o NOTE: Make sure there is no exposed high voltage (>250VAC) within your reach when grounded. 7) For repairs or add-ons, keep your PC components in their shielded bags during transportation; 8) Before removing PC components from shielded bags, place them on a grounded work surface; 9) Remove the PC components only when you are grounded via your wrist strap.

Also check with microsoft for update to WIN95 and WIN98 operating systems where the WIN Sock DLL can cause this problem too.

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