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You guys worry, considering my health problems I don't blame you, so I'm giving you a heads up.

My brand new computer (which replaced my prior 7 year old tower of misery) has been giving me grief, didn't work properly since day 1 which I blamed on PEBCAK (Problem Exists Between Chair and Keyboard) errors, but have steadily increased.  I've been in frequent contact with Dell and, it seems, every "fix" seems to create its own new set of problems or make the other ones worse.

The biggest ones are with Internet Explorer repeatedly becoming unresponsive or just plain crashing or failing to open, losing sound, freezing, and then yesterday, after a Dell Tech guided me to "reset" Internet Explorer, the whole thing just crashed.  I was told I had to reset the puter to Day 1 which I will not do myself (I'm an old person who is not tech saavy and I've played enough "follow the technicians directions" in the past several weeks that I cry just thinking about it).  So I'm again going to pay the computer guy to come by and ues some kind of Set Back To Day 1 thing Dell is going to send.

That was yesterday.  

Today I was greeted not only by the Blue Screen of Death indicating hardware problems, but the computer woudn't boot up properly (another Windows has recovered from an unexpected shutdown), but while I was writing down the technical details, the error message became unresponsive and my system froze.  The computer wouldn't let me log off as it kept hanging with the Windows 7 spinning circle to the point I had to call Dell yet again.

Long story short, another unproductive session with the Dell Tech and their blanket apologies and reassurance that the Day 1 reset would work.  Frankly, we'll see.  IMHO this one is a lemon.

Anyway, I did get an email about why I really haven't been on much and wanted to avoid worrying anyone else.  For right now, this minute, I'm online.  In 10 minutes who knows.

Just wanted to heads up everyone that it may likely be late Sunday (when the computer guy comes) or Monday when I hope to be reliably back up.

This is making me want to plug in and reassemble my 7 year old tower of misery.

UPDATE:  IE Sucks Edition:  Yes, IE sucks as some of you noted.  It's what I'm used to, but I did have the computer guy dwnload and install Firefox as a backup.  This is how I'm reaching out and touching you right now.  However, even a secondary browser doesn't help if the puter freezes, crashes, puts up error screens, etc.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Puddytat: once you have everything backed up (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Puddytat

      you do use backups, right?

      anyway, once you have a KGTB (known good total backup) stored (mine comes on a honkin' big thumb drive) ...

      wipe that old tower. Right down to the BIOS.

      Install Kubuntu Linux and Firefox ... it's all free. It's all fast. It's all damn near malware-proof.

      You will be amazed.

      LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

      by BlackSheep1 on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 03:51:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I had my puter guy install (0+ / 0-)

        Firefox as a backup in case of trouble - good thing, too, since iE (and Widows itself) are completely wonky.  He like Chrome and suggested I use it, but I don't trust Google since their ads follow me around the net and who knows what Chrome would further reveal about me to Google.

        I don't store much on the puter - I have some pictures and a few documents which are stored on a thumb drive and I have discs for my other programs, printer, and anti-malware software that I use.  

        My biggest problem is that I shouldn't be having problems.  I expected problems with my 7 year old dinosaur and though I would get a couple of years at least before my new one would give me heartburn.

        Thanks for the advice and recommendations.

        There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

        by Puddytat on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 10:29:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Just a tip? (8+ / 0-)

    I've had to give up using IE entirely, as it won't let me access DK and no one can tell me which cookies to turn off so I can access DK. Firefox seems to work fine, other than not letting me read Twitter feeds, so now I'm far behind on my Keith Olbermann news.

    •  It's not just IE (8+ / 0-)

      Microsoft Office Starter won't open and other things I bring up just fail and flail at times.

      When my puter guy came by to set the new puter up, I had him download and install a second browser just in case (Firefox) which I'm using now, but the puter itself freezes and crashes so even though I can use Firefox in an emergency (I can't get used to it really), it's only helpful if the computer cooperates.

      It's frustrating because this puter is blazing fast when it works and should have me totally smiling after putting up with the old one for so long.  It's also no picnic to call Tech Support in a Third World Country and try to understand them or re-explain the problems with a longer and longer narrative each time.

      There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

      by Puddytat on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 11:07:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I know your problems are different than mine. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Puddytat, StateofEuphoria

        I just don't think using IE works, as even the computer people here can't tell me why it suddenly started malfunctioning on me or what cookies to turn off to make it work.

        And I'd really love it if they did.

        •  I stayed with Dell because you (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          badscience, ladybug53, skohayes

          can always call them for help (yes, you sometimes have to take a per-indicent warranty, but it's better than floating in the ether all by yourself with a problem you can't solve).

          Getting help for anything Microsoft is a big pain in the ass.  That's because they're a monopoly and get away with it because they can.

          There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

          by Puddytat on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 11:20:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  IE (7+ / 0-)

    Better not to use it anyhow.  Firefox, Safari, or some newer options I've not kept up on - any of those would be a better choice.

    Grab all the joy you can. (exmearden 8/10/09)

    by Land of Enchantment on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 11:01:56 AM PDT

  •  I wonder if you might not have a bad hard drive. (6+ / 0-)
    •  I'm not sure (6+ / 0-)

      I'm just a puter stoooopid old woman, but they did have me run some hardware test (the press in the Power button and then start hitting the F12 key thing) yesterday and again today so they say my hardware s "good".  Not sure if that's false reassurance or truth.

      Frankly, with so many calls, you'd think they'd exchange this one for a new one considering it's just over a month old.

      There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

      by Puddytat on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 11:15:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They should replace it. (8+ / 0-)

        Unless you've got a virus on it, twice in a row somehow... you've already wiped it back to starting condition and it's still flaky.  

        The odds are strong that the memory or motherboard has issues or that there is something heat-related going on.  My next test would be to run a memory checker like Memtest86+.  It boots from CD or USB drive and basically allows you to stress test your memory/CPU/motherboard independently of Windows.  It will consistently show errors in the same region of memory if one of the memory sticks is bad, or in different regions every time you run it if there's a heat issue or something weirder like a leaky capacitor on the motherboard.  If you've got another tech coming over to look at your computer, maybe request this type of test.

        But it's seriously shameful that you have to deal with any of this on brand new equipment, and Dell should make this right.

      •  I've been buying Dell computers for years. I like (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BlackSheep1, Puddytat

        them.

        I recommended that my friend buy one, too.  After a couple years her video card went bad, but she had bought the extra warranty.  Dell told her, after running the "diagnostics," that the video card was good.

        It wasn't.  I don't do this for a living but I know a thing or two about computers.  So I brought her desktop to my house, installed a spare video card I had, and guess what?  It worked perfectly.

        So Dell FINALLY agreed to send her a new video card, which I installed, and everything was fine.

        After that experience, I don't trust Dell's "diagnostics."

  •  Dell used to make good computers... (5+ / 0-)

    ...probably around the GX-270. I had a GX-270 tower for my work computer at the City of Chicago. MB and CPU replaced, upgraded to 4 GB, has a dual monitor card. Visited the office yesterday to go out to lunch with my old colleagues, and noticed everyone had a new all-in-one HP, even in my old cubicle, BUT, my old GX-270 was still there, and still turned on.

    Are these guys superstitious?

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 11:15:02 AM PDT

    •  My new one is a Dell All in One (4+ / 0-)

      Previous puter was a Dell and it hung in there 7 years, but became slow, grouchy, and riddled with errors.  I was happy to have my tax refunds not have to go to some bill or another so I could get a new one.  

      Today, the 7 year old Tower is Misery is looking pretty good.

      There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

      by Puddytat on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 11:17:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Puddytat, I don't know what model you (5+ / 0-)

        have, but I found these reviews at the Dell website. Some are effusive praise, but some sound like your complaints.

        After buying a new computer, the least you should expect is that it run without crashing. It's not like you're video gaming, chatting and downloading huge files all the the same time! I wonder if Best Buy's Geek Squad would have been any better? Any Kossacks know the best source for a computer for those of us who are less than computer savvy?

        "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

        by Lily O Lady on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 11:44:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, you never know! (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Puddytat, Lily O Lady, ladybug53

          Puddytat may be a hard-core gamer! ;-)

          Hey, Puddytat, we missed you the other night. I hope you're feeling okay. Pneumonia kicked you in the butt, didn't it?

        •  Local computer shop (5+ / 0-)

          A competent outfit that can build or customize machines and support them directly is the best way to go.  This can cost a few hundred dollars more than buying an equivalent machine online or off the shelf of a chain store.  You might be able to be more modest about the features in the system to bring the cost down a bit.  Point is, instead of putting you through the phone tech support rigmarole, local shops will often have things like motherboards on hand (especially for computers they sell) and can get a fix done in a day or two.  Their warranties still mean something.

          Finding a decent local shop can be tricky.  Smaller businesses often use local tech support and it might be worth chatting up a few to see who they buy from and how happy they are.  Some computer places are pure scum and it's worth the effort to avoid them even if the only other option is to buy online.

          Computer components themselves aren't all that reliable so it's tough to recommend a particular brand of computer unless their tech support and customer service is stellar.  All I know of in that regard are "used to be"s, but maybe Consumer Reports can help.

          I do try to steer people away from laptops and all-in-ones unless they really need them.  A tower looks clunky but it's easier to maintain and expand and is less likely to have heating issues if built properly.  Try to get a system with an Intel motherboard and CPU (Macs use these now, too) -- my experience with computers based on AMD has been checkered with compatibility issues between CPU/motherboard/memory combinations, each of which typically come from a different manufacturer, none of whom will be eager to take responsibility for said incompatibility.

          •  We had a computer built for us (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ladybug53, ferment, Puddytat

            once, but since our area was the end of the earth at the time, we had to travel 50 miles for repairs. You give lots of good information. My husband has a laptop, but I think they're an extravagance, and they aren't as easy to maintain as a tower.

            "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

            by Lily O Lady on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 12:50:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I always used regular desktops (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lily O Lady, ferment

            but got convinced by goodies and a cleaner looking puter area that the All in One that Dell offered on QVC was the one to try.   And I make sure the system has Intel because I've heard bad things about AMD.  Time will tell if I rever back to a regular desktop for my next puter.

            I agree that desktop is the way to go since they last longer and are easier to maintain, but the push now is toward laptops (maybe because they only last a few years at best) so the puter manufacturers make more $$$$.  

            My last desktop was a Dell and is still functioning (but slow and error ridden) after 7 years of hard usage - a testament to the durability of desktops.

            There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

            by Puddytat on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 10:38:28 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I use our old puter. I forget how old it is, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ferment

              but my daughter helped me get it so it has to be about 7 or so years old. We dust it out from time to time, and it usually runs faster after that, but this last time I might have been too rough because one of the disk drives became possessed and went in and out on its own until my son unplugged it for me. Also, it's been crashing a lot. At least one blue screen of death, as well as a bunch of white screens (although some have lovely striped patterns). I have to keep restarting it to get it to run right, especially if I want to stream something.

              I understand wanting a nice new puter that works, as well as your frustration that that isn't what happened. Is there a local TV station that does consumer complaints? A small number of people get relief from that kind of operation. If they haven't had a complaint like yours in a while, they might be interested.

              "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

              by Lily O Lady on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 06:14:23 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Is it over 30 days? Doesn't Dell have (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Puddytat

        a return policy of 30 days?  Sorry, I can't remember, but I seem to think they do.

        •  Tell them it's defective. Tell them to replace it (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BlackSheep1, Puddytat

          or you're returning it.

          Restocking Fees: Unless the product is defective or the return is a direct result of a Dell error, Dell may charge a restocking fee of up to 15% of the purchase price paid, plus any applicable sales tax.
          Play hardball with them.

          http://content.dell.com/...

          •  It's been over 30 days. (0+ / 0-)

            They've made damn well sure with their reassurances and platitudes that it's over 30 days.  I didn't purchase it directly from them, but from QVC, so I know where to complain there, too.

            Hopefully, it won't come to that, but I'm an experienced griper.  

            There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

            by Puddytat on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 10:40:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I hate to say this, but... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Puddytat, ferment, ladybug53, BlackSheep1

    Oooops, scratch that...

    I'm pleased to take this oppportunity to warn the good folks at DK that Dell products are no longer worth the extra cost to buy them. I say this after spending 2 full weeks working with Dell technicians to remove a "check disk" virus/malware from my husband's fully tricked-out-for-video-editing XPS still under warranty PLUS paying more than $150 for some upgraded level of service plus $100 more for a virus checking program I could have bought for half that at Target.

    Note this carefully: the Dell warranty says plainly (if you read that kind of small print) that it does NOT cover software. This includes the Windows operating system and means their warranty is virtually worthless.

    Actually, I spent one week with them on removing the virus using tools I later found available for free on the Internet, and another week as they tried without success to up download to me some virus checking program they really wanted to sell me (System Mechanic) but couldn't since they could never get it to work. They'd spend a day doing their thing on his computer and then, when they didn't finish, promise to call again the next day at a specified time, but THEY never kept their word on that.

    In the end, we had to completely reinstall Windows -- twice -- and yes, my husband did lose some work that was not backed up to a thumb drive. Okay, that part was his fault as was inadvertently clicking on the Check Disk window in the first place. ("But, it looks like it came from Microsoft.")

    If we hadn't had another Dell in the house (my laptop) so they could download some things to me which I could then burn to a CD and load onto his computer, I really think we'd have been up shit creek.

    Okay, I can't go on and on about this, it's getting me upset alll over again. Just one final warning: Don't ever speak to a Dell tech without getting his/her full name plus employee number and, if you possibly can, get his/her supervisor's email addy. It was only when I got that final thing that I started to make some progress.

    The time when Dell was head and shoulders better than any other computer is long gone.

    Eliminate tax breaks that stimulate the offshoring of jobs.

    by RJDixon74135 on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 11:51:50 AM PDT

    •  Yesterday, I got the supervisors 7 digit extention (5+ / 0-)

      and name.  They guy that told me he "was taking ownership" of the problem that his tech made a thousand times worse.  I got no call back after leaving messages yesterday and today so I now relalize how much "ownership" he's taking.

      The tech I talked to today (random grab bag of techs) had me speak to his supervisor and promised me a call back in a couple of days once the USB key to Take Me to Day 1 arrived (happily it arrived this afternoon, but my tech guy can't come until Sunday).  I wonder if he'll bother or we'll need to call the random grab bag of tech support folks again.

      It seems like the promises of problem resolution are much like their every more phony apologies for our problems.

      Dell has, however, gotten me out of a few scrapes (usually by the purchase of a 3 incidents per year warranty) including a very nasty virus.  It depends on who you get - some of the techs are incredible and others are just dumber than me.

      What makes me even more insane - outside of the frustration and stuff I can't do - is that I have to once again pay my tech to come and do this plus set up my puter, transfer my files, install my printer, antivirus, and System Mechanic (this one stops corrupted files and other stuff according to what I know), a secondary browser (probably Firefox because I have no trust in Google) and my beloved Spy Sweeper which I will not be without.

      There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

      by Puddytat on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 12:04:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have no confidence in System Mechanic (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ladybug53, gooderservice, Puddytat

        Don't let them off the phone without making sure it's woorking exactly as it should. It NEVER worked on my husband's computer. Also, if you want to keep Spy Sweeper, make sure it's compatible with System Mechanic. If the little icon is always spinning, it's NOT working right.

        We USED TO get great service from Dell and that was  without buying their 3-incident service package. No  more.

        Eliminate tax breaks that stimulate the offshoring of jobs.

        by RJDixon74135 on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 12:59:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Bad hardware (8+ / 0-)

    It sounds like a hardware issue, not a software one. I might suggest running the built-in diagnostic, which should tell you that you've got either a hard drive problem; or more likely, a bad stick of RAM.

    As a working PC Tech for some years I've seen stuff like this fairly frequently and I'm surprised that the tech support guy didn't troubleshoot that first.

    Sorry to hear you're having problems but stay with it this place isn't the same without you.

    The only difference between (Mitt) Romney and George W. Bush is that Romney hasn't destroyed the American economy, yet - MoT

    by Herodotus Prime on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 12:28:05 PM PDT

    •  You're very kind (0+ / 0-)

      They had me run a hardward diagnostic program on start up of the computer - I had to keep pressing the F 12 button and select it off a list.  It said my hardware was fine, but at the top of the program it indicated that it was a Dell hardware program.

      I'm hopeful in a cup half full kind of way that completely redoing the software will work.  I'm having my puter guy come in and do it and then do all the stuff he needed to do to set up my puter and install my stuff again.  

      Time will tell.

      There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

      by Puddytat on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 10:45:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A Clark Howard moment. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferment, ladybug53, BlackSheep1, Puddytat

    Clark has been on radio for 20 years or so, originally from WSB (Atlanta), then in syndication, and now even on HLN (cable). His schtick is to deal with customer issues, from billing errors to shoddy service and just about everything. His finest contribution, however, has not been the times he's shamed even the largest and most arrogant firms into doing better, but in a single phrase that perfectly describes this sort of thing. You call for help, it's clearly a warranty issue, you get stalled and lied to and run around and hung up on and insulted... you're talking to

    CUSTOMER NO-SERVICE

    As Clark says, the goal is to get rid of you. "Service" is a cost that must be eliminated. Success is on their terms. Damned disgusting that you know it's accurate.

    Technically, two points.

    First: You really should get Firefox up and running. If you just can't stand to live without IE, there's an 'add-on' for it that shifts the 'rendering engine' to work like IE; it's made to make it possible to run pages that have IE-dependent features and will not work ('render') in FF, but when you're using it you'll be right at home. Not that there's so much different any more. Note that you may still need IE for the MS support pages, but that's minor.

    Second: You're clearly having mechanical issues, one would suppose something to do with the mainboard (including the various connected parts). A hard-drive issue is possible, but fairly unlikely.

    One ongoing problem with the 'all-in-one' world is that things are much compressed (physically) to fit, and a lot of the engineering is new stuff to make that happen. Cram more stuff on the single board or very integrated assembly, and the interactions can be strange. And the heat issue, given the proximity of the screen and the other electronics, is very real; if any component is physically marginal to begin with, it's easy to push things past some limits. Toss in techs reading from a screen of canned answers some PR flack worked over and the outcomes can only be dubious. Stir in a workrule that disallows the "tech" getting "off script"... well, downhill.

    Luck with the outcome. Outside help is probably good to gain some focus, although the imperative to sell stuff comes with that option too. Hope it works out soon.

    The furnace of Affliction produces Refinement, in States as well as Individuals. John Adams, 1776.

    by semiAdult on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 12:33:32 PM PDT

    •  Thanks for your insight (0+ / 0-)

      What I've been experiencing isn't Customer NoService, but Customer PretendService.  The apologies and platitudes have worn out their welcome and I'll puke the next time I hear one of them tell me they're sorry I'm having problems.

      There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

      by Puddytat on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 10:52:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't think there's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Puddytat

    anything more aggravating than dealing with tech support over the phone when you're having computer problems.
    That said, I would just tell Dell to stop screwing around and just send you a replacement computer. Be polite, tell them you're a longtime customer, and this just isn't worth the hassle for a brand new computer.
    I've been buying Dell computers since 2001, and I simply wouldn't put up with this kind of crap for more than a week. I have a desktop about 6 years old that I  upgraded to Windows 7, after upgrading some of the hardware and it's like having a new computer.
    Once you get things fixed, though, start using another browser. IE is incredibly clunky compared to other browsers out there (I use Google chrome, which I love), and it won't take that long to get used to if you use it every day. I got my 85 year old father switched over to it with hardly a complaint.

    “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

    by skohayes on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 04:08:10 PM PDT

    •  My puter guy loves Chrome (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skohayes

      and recommended it to me, but considering all the ads Google follows me around with, I'm a bit unsure of using their browser.  Have you had privacy issues or ads following you around the net with Chrome?

      If the software restore doesn't work, I will again insist that they send a new computer.  They told me this week that all I need is the software restore, but if that doesn't work, then clearly there's another problem.

      I'm more irritated at the lack of call back from the technicians supervisor in response to 2 messages.  This is not the promised "ownership" of this problem that he said he was taking.

      There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

      by Puddytat on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 10:50:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've never had privacy issues (0+ / 0-)

        but those ads can be annoying, and you can opt-out of that very easily. I won't bore you with the details now, but you can search for "How to stop targeted ads" on Google and it gives you several different options on how to do it.
        Don't give up- my stepmom fought with Dell for two months after they screwed up her laptop and they finally  gave her a full refund (she ended up writing the CEO of the company, but hey, whatever it takes!).

        “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

        by skohayes on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 12:05:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for the information (0+ / 0-)

          I'm just hoping that it gets back to what should be normal with a new computer.

          I expect problems with an old puter - which is why I couldn't wait to get the $$ together for a new one.  It's sad to have had to put up with the Tower of Misery for 7 years only to find the new one has even more problems.

          There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

          by Puddytat on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 12:08:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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