March 24, 2008

Excuse me while I bang my head on the wall

Due to the fact that my computer has once again decided to become a very expensive paperweight, I've not been able to get online and tend to the blog for the last few days. Activity here may be a bit sparse in the near future as well.

I've finally gotten so frustrated, and in light of the fact that it may be some time before I get it into the hands of some geeks, they figure out what died, order parts, etc. that I hauled out my old system and plugged it in and to my relief, it's working like a charm and enabling me to get online again.

That's the story. If you are interested in hearing my tale of woe, read on. Otherwise it's just boring crap.

The computer was running like a top Friday evening when in an instant, it just froze solid and NOTHING would work. One second I was watching a video on a website and then when I went to close the browser, my cursor had disappeared.

When I couldn't get it to appear, I tried the old Ctrl+Alt+Del to bring up the window that allows you to shut down apps and reboot if you have to.

I knew something was serious when even THAT did nothing.

So I was forced to resort to turning it off and rebooting manually a few times, unplugging various peripherals each time to see if that would have any effect. After I'd finally unplugged everything and rebooted yet again only to find that it would still only crank up the cooling fans full blast and do nothing else, not even so much as a flicker on the monitor, I finally gave up and pushed the power button to shut it down for the last time.

But having the entire computer crash and die just wasn't enough frustration, apparently. When I pushed the power button for the last time, it broke off and fell into the computer case. Gone. No button, no nothing. Just a hole where it used to be.

Now I had a computer whirring out of control and the power button had disappeared.

Nice touch. I had to unplug the damn thing to shut it down.

This (Dell) computer had melted down on me once before, requiring the motherboard be replaced, but thankfully it was still under warranty at that time, and they sent out a geek who replaced it at no cost. I'm next to certain that this is what's happened again, but now I get to pay for it myself. Woohoo!

I've had at least four Dell systems and never had any serious problems. But with this last one (an XPS 700) I've had the motherboard melt down what looks like twice now and the chincey plastic power button break off from simply pushing it.

Not good.

**UPDATE** Now that I'm back online I did a bit of looking around online about this problem. Found on the Dell site that they had a motherboard upgrade/exchange program for my model of computer manufactured between certain dates, which mine fit comfortably within.

But further investigation revealed that this program expired in October of last year. Called Dell to try to argue that if they were handing out replacements (and paying to have them installed at your home) because these motherboards were faulty and incompatible, then why shouldn't they give me mine?

Of course, talking to Sanjib or whatever broken English tech guy I had was no use. If I'd have called before October, he said, they would have replaced the motherboard "at once". But once the warranty is expired, they want you to pony up more dough before they'll help you.

I find it rather curious that Dell in effect had a recall yet didn't inform those who had bought the affected product. The only way you could have known about it is if you frequented the Dell tech blog, for which you have to be registered.

I'm not happy.

Looks like I'm off to Geek Squad and bringing my banker along.

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