Am I responsible for ruining my friend's computer?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by applebar, Dec 22, 2007.

  1. applebar macrumors newbie

    Dec 22, 2007
    I need an informed and objective opinion.

    Here are the facts of the case.

    1) My friend has a mac laptop that is three to four years old.

    2) Two years ago, I was using the laptop. The chord was wrapped around the base of the desk chair, and I accidentally pulled the computer off of the desk. It went crashing to the floor and was dented externally, but fortunately, still worked.

    3) The computer worked fine for the following two years.

    4) Last week, I was at my friend's house and downloaded a .pdf file for a job application. (my exact actions were to go to craigslist, find a posting, and download the pdf)

    5) 5 minutes after I left the computer, my friend went to use it, and it was frozen.

    6) The computer was taken to a repair shop, where they said that the hard drive was shot. The cost of replacing the drive was $300, and the cost of recovering lost data is $300.

    Were my actions responsible for the failure of the hard drive?
    I have been told that if the hard drive worked for two years after the fall that the fall did not ruin it. I have also been told that if the pdf file that I downloaded contained a virus, it would have ruined the motherboard, and not the hard drive.

    Any objective and informed information would really helpful.

    Thank you.
  2. decksnap macrumors 68040


    Apr 11, 2003
    Even if the PDF was the straw that broke the camel's back, there's no way it's your fault. If he had a problem with the dent he should have asked you to rectify it two years ago.
  3. Queso Suspended

    Mar 4, 2006
    A four year old hard disk is quite capable of failing without anybody else's help. This is exactly why I carry out twice weekly backups of my nearly five year old PowerBook. You never know when it's going to give up the ghost.

    So in summary, no. Not your fault.
  4. Brianstorm91 macrumors 65816


    Sep 30, 2007
    Cambridge, UK
    I don't think it's your fault, a lot of Hard Drives go, and if you had broken it, it would have been immediately afterwards IMO.
  5. valdore macrumors 65816


    Jan 9, 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri. USA
    It doesn't sound to me like you are responsible for the demise of the hard drive. The fall two years ago shouldn't have had anything to do with it, and as for the buggy PDF, it sounds coincidental that you just happened to be the last person using the computer. Kind of like when I was in high school, I borrowed one of my uncle's old cars. The car kicked the bucket for the final time when I just happened to be driving it, though it wasn't my fault- it was an old car. Same thing with you and the hard drive.
  6. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    You might offer to put something in given the history.
  7. acearchie macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    From what youve said I cant see how he could have even have thought that it was your fault! Although he was/is allowed to get mental at you for dropping it 2 years ago!

    I think this is simply a case of wrong place at the wrong time!

    It was just time for the hard drive to crash and burn! Ha
  8. BigPrince macrumors 68020

    Dec 27, 2006
    I hope your friend didn't say that and if they did I hope they were joking.
  9. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    I'm amazed he let you use it again after dropping to the floor first time round :rolleyes:

    I don't think this is your fault but an unfortunate coincidence. But see if from your friend's point of view. He let you use it once and he ended up with a dent and potential internal damage. He lets you use it again and the hard drive goes. I can understand that he's pissed off.

    Did you offer or give him anything two years ago to make up for the dent? Even a bottle of booze as an apology?

    This is just a HD going... but since your friendship is hopefully more important, I'd try to do some token gesture.
  10. pianodude123 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 1, 2005
    in the internet
    im not just going to tell you what you want to hear... but yes, it is technically your fault. If it was m friend who did that i would understand, but it seems like this person does not understand.
  11. teleromeo macrumors 65816


    Dec 2, 2006
    kidnapped by aliens
    Downloading a pdf can't harm a mac in any way so the answer is no.
  12. applebar thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 22, 2007
    RE: pianodude123

    regarding response from pianodude123

    You were the only person, so far, that says that you think that the hard drive failure was my fault. Can you please elaborate? You said, you're not going to "tell me what I want to hear." What I want to hear, is the truth, no matter which way it turns out. So if you could explain why you think it's my fault, and if you have any technical information to support this, it would be very helpful. I'm not looking to blame either person. I just want info about the technical aspects of the situation. Thank you.

    Thanks to everyone for replying.

  13. skunk macrumors G4


    Jun 29, 2002
    Republic of Ukistan
    It is in no way your fault, technically or otherwise. The data should have been backed up, and the HD packed up entirely independently of anything you might have done.
  14. pianodude123 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 1, 2005
    in the internet
    Technically, denting a computer means that it's been dropped/abused, which is why applecare voids warranties whenever they see a computer that has any sort of cosmetic damage to it. While it may have caused no damage initially, your action did affect the outcome of the situation. Not to mention, you were using the computer at the time it was broken. Thats like borrowing someone's tractor, for example, and then breaking it, and saying it isn't your fault. While the tractor may have been old, it is still (legally... i i think) your responsibility. By borrowing/using it, you were taking the risk.

    Again... this is from a purely stranger-to-stranger relationship... I hope you and your friend can work something out that is relatively good for both of you.
  15. BigPrince macrumors 68020

    Dec 27, 2006
    Even the government has statue of limitations on things...

    You can't get into a fender bender and 5 years later when your car has 250,000 miles on it say that that fender bender contributed/caused to your car breaking...
  16. jeremy.king macrumors 603


    Jul 23, 2002
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    What are the symptoms of the "dead" hard drive powerbook/iBook?

    It's well known that the lifespan of a hard drive is 3-5 years. They die from usage, and if this friend's computer is one that you use often - well, then I'd say just pay half of the repair, since you did contribute to the demise of the poor little storage device...

    Not having a backup is entirely his fault. Who is doing this data recovery? $300 seems way to low for a DEAD hard drive.
  17. lamina macrumors 68000


    Mar 9, 2006
    As others have said...

    1) The fall itself did not harm the drive (obviously, since it was working for a few years after the fall)

    2) There is no way a Mac can get a virus from a PDF file (let alone kill the motherboard)

    3) Given the history of the computer (you causing it to fall, you being the last user of it before the drive finally died), I would offer to replace the hard drive, depending on the price.

    Honestly if it were my friend using my computer when this stuff happened, I wouldn't hold him/her responsible. I would have been LIVID when it was dropped/dented, but if it was working fine after the drop, I would have forgiven.

    If the same friend was using the computer when the drive died, I would have laughed, because of the coincidence of it all. I would have joked 'jeez man... you probably should stay away from technology for a while, eh?'. And if my friend did offer to help me replace the drive, I would probably not allow it.

    But that's the kind of person I am.

    Come to think of it, if your denting it did void AppleCare, I would definitely want to put some money into the repair.

    Anyway, just my $0.02.
  18. pianoman macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2006
    i agree with the majority here. it's not your fault because there's no way to prove that the hard drive's failure was a result of the drop from 2 years ago. for all we know, the hard drive could have survived that fall with no damage and it's failure now could just be because it's old or something the friend did and is not revealing to you.

    re: the tractor example from pianodude a few posts up fails to mention something called contributory negligence. contributory negligence is when both parties are responsible for the damage and the end result is almost always that there is no legal award to either side. the friend may have been using the computer when it broke but the other friend assumed a certain level of risk when he allowed the first friend to use it.

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