It is called
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Documentation, Sometimes It Is Hard To Find ...

Don't rely on the web to provide documentation for your parts, sometimes it isn't there...

What happens to computer hardware documentation after the new hardware is installed?

When you buy a new car, washing machine, house, etc, you always read the owners manual and keep them safe. Don't you?

Why then can't we (including myself here)  do the same for a computer, or any parts, and peripherals we buy?

Well, grasshopper why not?

It may have something to do with the "Tech knows everything" myth or mentality.

Back in the day when you bought an IBM, Compaq, Kaypro, or non clone computer you had a small library of books (not a cd or DVD with a bunch of pdf's or a separate partition on you hard drive that you couldn't access with out the manufactures boot cd) but real to life paper BOOKS some came in a nice box you could put on the shelf and it wouldn't have looked out of place.

With the clone revolution computers came down in price (IBM and Compaq desktop computers cost around $3000 for a low end model) and so did the support that came with the computer.

At first the clone manufactures would give away a copy of DOS manuals and maybe a couple of hardware manuals for the motherboard and the video card but not much else.

As time went on and the BIG Computers Inc. (Built In Garage) became more diverse and spread out over the world the documentation became more and more scarce.

Then Al Gore invented ... well - you know the story.

For most products you can find just about anything you need to know on the internet.

Where the problem comes in is some manufactures do not release tech data on current products, only when the product has been out of production for a year or more when most warranties have ran out.

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They do the same for the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacture) parts. Technical manuals stay locked away for a longer time, manuals such as an "IPB" (Illustrated Parts Breakdown) or Component Repair, these usually are given in paper form to techs in the field, some have moved to PDF and on cd/dvd's.

Another problem is some manufactures require you to sign up for access to their web sites either with your email address (which in a way is ok) or with the serial number or equipment tag (Dell is like this) to gain access to documentation or drivers.

It is enough to drive a tech insane trying to find out how to do a simple task to replace a part (And not destroy the computer or the old part) or find one for that matter.

Acre is as bad and they spam you with email on "new" products, and getting off their list is a nightmare (spammed me for two years, luckily my ISP sold out to another company...)

So back to the question: Why can't we keep the documentation (if there is any) that comes with a new computer or device?

Because the clone manufactures of yesteryear have gotten us out of the habit, it is easier to call or ask someone else how to do what ever the task at hand is.

Even though I have two "self help" type (make if four three with the RV site) web sites it does get to be a little tiring to have the same question asked at least four times a week, RTFM ... Read The Fine Manual that came with your computer or part! I know a lot about computers (cars and RV's of a certain make) but I don't know everything!

Or go to my Q and A (The forum is closed for now) and see if there has been a question asked at least once, if you don't want to scroll through over 300 headlines then use the search function (Edit -> Find on page) and let the browser do the work...

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Keeping your documentation up to date is important, because not all techs will have the answer you need.

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