I frequently work on others' personal computers. This means I am also frequently the bearer of bad news. This never goes over well, and those I'm helping never have backups, either. So, in an effort to soften the blow, here is what I sent a friend regarding the latest fatality.
Computer Death Certificate
Name: John's IBM ThinkCentre
Date of Death: 1/28/2011
Cause of Death: Unknown hard drive issues
Attempts Taken To Revive: Hardware diagnostic tools, boot disks, Windows repair install, rain dance
Attending Doctor: Dr. Pepper
Administrative Items for Surviving Family Members: Would you like to claim the body already? He's starting to smell!
Eulogy: Alas, poor ThinkCentre! He served us well.
Obituary: John's IBM ThinkCentre was a hard-working Pentium 4. He was loved by all, even the young and small. While he will be missed, those in mourning should be reminded he was old and sick anyway. In lieu of flowers, those wishing to pay their last respects may donate to the family's charity of choice, the Dude, We're Getting a Dell fund.