The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

My own version of Dell Hell

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 4:19 pm on Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I cannot take credit for the term Dell Hell, but I love its catchy rhyme and truthfullness.  Who hasn’t had this box of wires and solder and wonder “how the hell does all this stuff work?” 

I am one of those people whose fuse is unfalthomably short when it comes to the computer.  You can actually thank Gateway for that.  Umpteen years ago I bought my first PC.  (yes you MAC users, no comment..had I known, I’d probably have bought a MAC).   It was truly a piece of junk and I was truly the greenest computer user on the planet.  I probably should have known something was up when I set everything up, hit the power button and…..nothing happened….

 I knew NO terminology.  I knew nothing about anything.   All  wanted it to do was work, connect to the internet so I could play, and do my email.  In  my best wisdom I bought the best warranty they had…..DAMN….GOOD…THING.   I used that warranty more than any gateway customer probably ever had and after the end of 24 months (on and off) of fussing with it I demanded (and got) a new computer.  After I decided to ditch the Gateway I decided to purchase Dell.  Their quality was legendary (so it was claimed).  By this time my personal hell with Gateway had eroded my patience level to NIL, but I was a much more educated user.  I knew computer terminology, and while I would never consider myself an expert, I had learned an awful lot about computers and how they worked.

Since that time I have purchased 1 desktop and 3 laptops from Dell.  I am hesitant to say that my desktop has been flawless because as soon as I do, something will go wrong so I wont tell you that !  LOL.   One of the laptops belongs to Mr Chick.  Just slightly larger than a netbook, he loves it, and it too has worked pretty well.  Mine on the other hand…………Notebook #1 went thru 2 motherboards and a cracked case.  When I gave it away, it had a bad slot for RAM (thank God it had 2), and since it was out of warranty I opted to swap out the memory for more RAM, leave the second slot empty and from what I hear its still running…although it overheats some I hear…and the video gets rummy when it does…so maybe the video card was bad too…

Notebook #2 is the one I write on now.  Bear in mind Pharmacy Chick is not a gamer.  I dont stress my computer with HD games with major graphics.  I write my blog, I play Farmville on facebook, I mess around on the internet, check my email…stuff like that.  So on new years eve (about 1 year after purchase) when the computer began to freeze every 10-15 minutes and fail to come out of standby, I was perturbed to say the least.   Being the wise PC, I too had purchased the best warrany in the biz and got on the phone with “larry” not his real name.  (an aside:  every tech wants you to believe your computer problems are software related…software issues dont cost THEM money..hardware DOES).  I believed that the mother board was bad or the RAM was bad becasue notebook #1 did the same thing when the memory slot on IT went out, so naturally I was thinking “hardware”.  Larry ran me thru a gamut of tests and despite his admonitions that he believed it was software and my just-as-intense admonitions that it was HARDWARE, he agreed to replace the motherboard.

I believed it was either RAM,  memory slot or overheating issue that fried something.  Either way,  it was hardware.  One week later the appointed Dell technician came to my house to replace the motherboard.  Delightfully sweet and funky, it was weird when she said “Ive never worked on a Vostro”.  Thats like a pharmacist saying, “Ive never dispensed Cipro”.  What?!? 

Three hours later she had my computer assembled again with a new mother board and was ready to leave when I decided it would be best to check it myself.  Knowing that one of my games would predictably freeze it up in the shortest amount of time I launched it….and to my dismay the computer froze after less than 3 minutes.  PC was not pleased with her PC!  The technician called support who basically said “see I told you, it wasn’t hardware”…and told me to reinstall Windows.  My gut feeling said NO.

I decided to try a different tack.  Taking out my checkbook I ponied up my own cash to have a computer repair place look at it.  I went thru the whole sorrid story.  He didn’t think it was software either.  $102 later he said ” I hate to tell you this but the motherboard is bad..the top memory slot is bad, take one RAM out and it works fine (slower but fine), put the second one in and it will freeze everytime.”

Armed with that information, I was back on the phone with Larry, who by this time I had his direct email and phone number…Larry is great, I’ll give him that. He is a good technician, but trusting my own gut was the right thing to do.  They are sending me another motherboard (this one better work).  Had I reinstalled my OS at his (and other Dell techs) advice, I’d have wasted hours of time, money and effort. 

Hopefully I’ll be moving on quickly!  Once the new MB is in, we will see if it comes out of standby again.  If not the paid technician said he’d look at it again, he felt that the registry might have been changed during this mess.  And, as brilliant as I can be sometimes, I know when to do-it-yourself..and when to WAC (write a check)  LOL

Wheres my xanax??

8 Comments »

Comment by Dr. Grumpy

January 13, 2010 @ 5:19 am

Xanax PRN computer problems.

So get a Mac next time.

Humungous Neurology had a Windows system that never worked the way it was supposed to . When I went out on my own 10 years ago I switched to Mac, and haven’t regretted it yet.

Comment by Phat

January 13, 2010 @ 5:01 pm

Macs are quite good, but they still have their problems. Everyone hails them as the greatest thing since the invention of beer, but the truth of the matter is they are a rather small subset of the computing population so their problems are not as widespread.

I’m lucky in that I know my way around computers quite well. Part of the reason people bitch about PCs so much is that Dell, Gateway, etc sell people computers with components that do not match up. They’ll sell you 8 gigs of Ram, but with a 32bit version of windows (you can only use about 3.7 gigs of Ram with 32-bit Windows).

If you ever have a properly built and designed PC without multiple bottle necks, they work just fine. That’s why I’ll never buy a pre-built computer from someone like Dell.

great idea for those who can do that. maybe its time for me to ditch pharmacy and go into computer repair via some online university. LOL

**Nerdy computer rant off**

Comment by Beloved Parrot

January 14, 2010 @ 6:13 pm

One word: Macintosh.

I have used Macintosh since its birth and I have NEVER EVER had a problem with one. Ever. Had problems with software, had problems with hardware attached to the Mac (zip drives, anyone?); never had a problem with the Mac.

Take it out of the box, plug it in, go.

Comment by Beloved Parrot

January 14, 2010 @ 6:15 pm

By the way, I work at a university hospital (pushing paper, nothing clinical) and we all use Dells. Guess what — dozens of Dells still under warranty are having to have their motherboards and/or video cards replaced. Including mine.

You ain’t alone, Pharmacy Chick!

Comment by IAPharmer

January 14, 2010 @ 7:14 pm

I have had gateways, dells, and I have even built 2 of my own computers. I can rip em apart and put them back together, reinstall and rebuild anything inside them. I got tired of it 4 years ago, my high end do anything computer fried itself after only 1.5 years.

I drove to the new Apple store picked up a 24″ iMac and it is still running like a top. Last year I went out and picked up a MacBook Pro…

Love them both and will never own another type of computer, I hate to say it chick but come to the dark side, you will love it!

Comment by Pharmintern

January 14, 2010 @ 7:18 pm

I’ve had gateways and dells for years. I have one or two issues with dell regarding hardware, one was a bad hard drive that needed to be replaced; other one was when my mother messed up installing a video card probably 12 years ago. I have more problems with the 2 gateway laptops I’ve gotten through my school than anything else. I’ve had 2 hard drives, probably 3 video cards, half a dozen mother boards, 3 CD drives, and a couple a digitizers for the tablet section replaced in the 6 years I’ve own the two laptops. Alot of the problems happened shortly after I got them and then every couple of months there after it seemed.

Comment by Mike

January 14, 2010 @ 10:05 pm

I’ve owned 4 Dell desktops over the last 10 years and never had a single problem with any of them (hardware- wise, anyways). Never had one of their laptops, so I can’t speak to that. And contrary to what the evangelists will tell you, Apple is not the second coming. They have their problems like any other piece of technology

Comment by 6th yr pharmacy student

January 20, 2010 @ 11:29 pm

I’m partial to the HP line myself regarding desktops. My current desktop may not be able to play newer higher graphic games now, but it is holding up pretty well after 6 years or so of heavy use.

Regarding laptops, I heard Toshibas are the best PC laptop to get. Acers and HPs may or may not have problems. It really depends on who you talk to. A loved one recently purchased an HP laptop, so we’ll see how that goes. At least it has Windows 7 and not Windows Vista on it.

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