Monday, April 12, 2010

Computer Crashes

My computer crashed this afternoon. It crashed while my Computer Guy was working on installing my Palm Pilot software on my Dell computer with a Vista operating system.

I purchased a Dell Inspiron 518 computer in December of 2008. I quickly discovered that I could not transfer some of my software programs from my Gateway computer with Windows XP to the Vista operating system of my new Dell computer.

Several times throughout the past year and a half I have had my Computer Guy working on the problem. He thought the problem was finally solved and all I needed was a Bluetooth adaptor. That I got and that is why he stopped over today. But, as it turned out my Palm Pilot is apparently not equipped with Bluetooth. He said he thought it had an infra red system (whatever that is.)

He was trying different approaches to making the Palm software working on my Dell computer when we noticed the computer got hung up. We rebooted the computer. We got the Black Screen of Death and this message in white text:

“Notice – Hard Drive Self Monitoring System has reported that a parameter has exceeded it normal operating range. Dell recommends that you back up your data regularly (which I do with a Maxtor hard drive.) A parameter out of range may or may not indicate a potential hard drive problem."

Press F1 to continue, F2 to enter SETUP.

He didn’t know what this message meant and I certainly didn’t either. This was the first time I’ve seen this message.

After several more exercises in turning off the computer to get it to boot up again, we received the message every computer user dreads:


My Computer Guy tried to get the computer into a safe mode but even that wouldn’t work.

He suggested that I call Dell. Here we go. I knew I was in for a torturous afternoon of frustration and I wasn’t disappointed.

After going through all the menu options on the phone I finally get a life person. Her name is “Monica”. Uh huh. Sure. “Monica” had an Indian accent and sounded like she was talking from the bottom of a well. As I said before, here we go.

“Monica” directed me through a series of tests. I kept coming back to the same error message. After an hour and a half of tests “Monica” asked if she could put me on hold.

“Monica” comes back on the phone and tells me that since my warranty is still effective (thank God I got that warranty) that they will replace my hard drive. First she tells me that they will send me a whole new tower with all the software installed just the way it was when I purchased the computer a year and a half ago. Then she calls me back and tells me that they will only be sending me a hard drive replacement but they will send a technician to install it for me. That is a blessing because I’m not the technical type.

So here I am now on my 9 year old Gateway computer. Now here is what is interesting. I purchased this Gateway computer in February of 2001 after my brand new Dell computer failed. That’s right. I had just purchased a $2,500 Dell computer and I couldn’t turn it off. Every time I turned it off it came back on itself. I called Dell and I was told I had “too much on the start up function.”  Say what? It’s a brand new computer. I didn’t put anything on the startup.

I wrestled with Dell and their Help line for about a week with that computer. While I was trying to resolve that problem I purchased a “cheap” Gateway computer for $1,000. I began using that Gateway computer. That is the computer I’m on now. In fact I became so comfortable with that Gateway computer that I gave my Dell computer to a good friend and he had the drive reformatted and purchased operating system software from Staples.

In December of 2008 I thought I should get a new computer because I didn’t know how long my Gateway computer would last. It was already seven years old. Most computers only last about three years. My previous computer was also a Dell. I purchased that one back in 1994 for $4,000. That one only lasted three year before it crashed.

So the obvious question is “Why did I buy another Dell when I already had two that crashed?” The answer is: I’M STUPID. Or, I’m a GLUTTON FOR PUNISHMENT. I AM A CLOWN.

What is even more frustrating was the Dell computer that I purchased in 2001 had the Windows Me operating system. That’s right, I was fortunate enough to buy new Dell computers both with the worst Microsoft operating systems in the history of Microsoft. Yes, I purchased Dell computer with Windows Me and Vista. Man oh man, if I only knew.

So now I wait “three to five business days” for my replacement hard drive to be delivered to my front door. Now why is it that I have this queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach? Could it be that I have lost all faith in Dell? Long ago I lost faith in Microsoft.

I should have done what my friend of lo these many years did and bought an iMac. That’s what he did when his computer crashed with a virus that the Microsoft system was unable to stop. Yes, I should’ve listened to him.

Guess what my next computer is going to be? That’s right Virginia, an iMac.


  1. I was a stubborn PC guy until my wife finally talked me into the Mac Book Pro. Big difference. I am sold on Apple.

  2. Liberty and Independence,

    Several friends of mine have been urging me to go with Apple for sometime now. My regret is that I didn't go with Apple when I made my last purchase. I could kick myself for my intransigence. I won't make that mistake again. Now the only question is do I get an iMac or a MacBook Pro.

  3. Ron,

    I was sold on Apple when I bought my Apple IIc back in 1982. I loved that machine. It was so easy to learn and use. I only switched to PCs because I wanted my home computer compatible with my work computer since I could do a lot of work at home.

    I'm glad I went to the IMac two years ago.


  4. Lar,

    I made my decision, it is a iMac. Thanks for all your help.


  5. Glenn believes Hewlett Packards are the best. The office has over 40 and they are on all the time with no trouble. Also he hates Vista, but has been very impressed with Windows7. If you ever get stumped feel free to ask him a question, however he doen not know very much about Vista crap. He knows a lot about micrsoft. We're here for you. LOL

  6. Mike,
    I've heard good things about HP from a lot of my friends. However, I've decided to go with an iMac. I'm tired of the constant threat of viruses and all the upgrade with Microsoft.

    Dell is sending me a new hard drive for the Dell and I'll give the repaired computer to Bill. He has an old Toshiba laptop that used to belong to my Mother. It is 99% full and slow a molasses. He'll like the new computer.

    Always good to hear from you Mike.


  7. Anonymous11:24 AM

    Hi Ron,

    Sorry to hear about your computer crashing. What do you think caused it? I'd like to know just in case it's something I can avoid.
    Mine have been Compaq Presario's and have been great. The first one lasted 10 years. Of course I may use mine less than most people. The first one was still working when I got rid of it but was having errors all the time so it was so frustrating I just ditched it.

    I hope you're having a good day otherwise. I'm off to Lowes to take advantage of the big sales their having on their flowers.

    Happy Spring,

  8. Your story of incompatibility with software and VISTA is no surprise. I had many nightmares when i bought the HP I have now. The best thing I ever did was upgrade to Win 7.

    Folks always talk about how expensive MAC's are, but it you add up all the aggravation, time, and money spent on tech services I think they're worth every penny.

    That's the way I will go when I need a new computer.

  9. Ron,

    I had several Hewlett Packards (including Compaqs) and I never had any trouble with them, until the one that crashed two years ago. It was only a year old.

    I think HPs make good products. My main complaint is with MicroSoft. Windows 7 might solve a lot of their past problems, but it looks an awful lot like an IMac in their ads. Windows has a history of instability, Apple seems a proven product. There are pros and cons to any product, however, and you need to find one that meets your needs.

    I am running both right now, an IMac and an HP, but the main one I rely on is the IMac.


  10. Cajun,

    I bought a new 27 inch iMac this morning at Best Buy in Dover. You're right, by the time you add up all the extras you have to buy with a new computer and the aggravation not to mention the constant threat of maleware and/or a virus with a Windows based operating system, the Macs aren't that expensive after all.

    The Dell technician came this morning and place a new hard drive in my Dell. I'm going to give that computer to Bill. I'll have my work cut out for me this weekend retrieving old files from my Maxtor external hard drive and loading new software to the iMac. I also have to find a comfortable spot for Bill in his basement living area to use his new Dell. I'm glad I'm away from Microsoft and Dell forever. No more!


  11. Lar,

    The instability of both the Windows operating system (Microsoft) and Dell computers has left me with very little faith in either of these companies. I need a computer and an operating system that is more dependable and not under the constant threat of viruses and maleware. That's why I decided to put out the big bucks for an iMac. I should have done it a long time ago. I would have saved myself a lot of frustration.

    Like you I will continue to use my old Gateway (which is on Windows XP0 and Bill with use my Dell computer with the replaced hard drive. That system will continue to run on the notorious Vista system. When my Gateway crashes I won’t get it fixed. Right now its primary purpose is my Palm data information (addresses and passwords) and the old version of Family Tree Maker (I don't like the new version - of course Vista won't accept the old version of FTM, surprise, surprise.)

    I'm really looking forward to using my new iMac computer and having fun using a computer again. Lately using a computer has been like flying in commercial airplanes; it is torture and you never know when they're going to crash. Sounds like a subject for new blog posting doesn't it?


  12. Fran,

    I don't know what caused my computer to crash. I had my PC Guy working on installing my Palm Pilot software on the new computer from my old computer. The new computer has Vista which isn't compatible with a lot of the software programs I had on my old Gateway computer which has an Windows XP operating system.

    We've been working on this problem off and on for about a year and a half. Maybe he put some command in the computer that caused it to crash. I don't know. Maybe it just happened to crash on its own. Whatever the reason, this is the third Dell computer I've had to crash. I'm not going to give them another chance.

    This morning I purchased an iMac. Dell sent out a technician to replace the hard drive on my Dell computer (it was still on warranty thank goodness.) However I won't use the computer any more. I don't have faith in Microsoft or Dell. They have both lost my confidence.

    I'm looking forward to using my new iMac and having fun using a computer again. It's been too long since I've had fun using a computer.

    I hope you have a great day too!


  13. Ron,

    I hope you do find it fun. Don't get frustrated when you begin. I had a little trouble at first because I was so use to the PCs it took me a bit to find things in the IMac. But when I started to catch on, boy, it was fun. I kept discovering more and more things that were so much easier than the PC.

    When people talk about the expense, it really evens out because just about anything you need comes standard on the IMac.

    If you have any problem finding how to do something, let me know and I may be able to help.

    You might also find somethings are a little different on the Internet, too. You'll get use to it.

    You should really like the IPhoto.


  14. Lar,

    I know I will more fun with my iMac. Just the little bit I saw at Best Buy made me feel a lot better. I've always found Microsoft difficult and not user friendly. It's almost like nerdy geeks like Mr. Softee himself wrote the programs and just assumed you know half the logic already. Logic, that is the problem with a lot of MS programs, they're not logical. You almost have to be a programmer to figure them out.

    I'm really looking forward to using the iMac to manage my photos and videos. The only concern I have and it is slight, is the sound. I'm used to having a sub woofer speaker for that "boom-boom" sound. The sales guy at Best Buy told me I could buy Bose speakers at Best Buy. I'll see how I do with the imbedded speakers.
    Another thing I really like about the iMac is the "cleanness" of it. The lack of wires and big, bulky towers is especially appealing.
    I have a real good feeling about this Lar. I'm really looking forward to playing with my new toy. First I have to get both computers set up. I hope that's not too much of a pain. I'm going to try and do as much as I can myself without asking my Computer Guy. I should have got a Mac years ago!


  15. Ron,

    I think it is just a matter of preference. Either that or your have fat fingers. Lois can type on this keyboard very fast and she was once a "professional" typist.

    It's no big deal since you can have a big keyboard. That's the nice thing, made to your order and choice. That is how it should be. Who cares which size keyboard you like, as long as you can get the one you do.

    Anyway, yes high schools have changed.

    My daughters both had shop and my son had Home Ec. He also took an neat elective (I forget the exact name),but you learned cooking and meal preparation as well as how to operate a restaurant. it was open to boys or girls. it;s silly to be restrictive on these things. Guys should know how to cook or sew. Girls ought to know how to fix things about the house or on the car.

    My wife loves doing home improvements, laying floor or carpet, tiling, making things and she also loves cooking.

    Noelle use to repair and maintain Humvees in the Army and she knows how to do home repairs, too.

    Darryl knows how to cook.

    Of course I guess our family is weird. Laurel was once in the Boy scouts, Darryl was in the Girl's Clubs, Noelle was in Special Services and can kill you fifty different ways, I was a Cookie Mother and Lo was a Road Runner, Dancing-Skating Christmas Tree and a Holly Dolly! :)


  16. Lar,

    The wireless keyboard that comes with the iMac is a laptop keyboard and thus smaller than the standard keyboard. I'm not used to that keyboard. I don't have fat fingers. To the contrary, I have long, slender and very attractive fingers thank you.

    I'm used to keyboarding on on a standard sized keyboard, not the scrunched up version for a laptop. I envy Lois that she can adapt to the smaller keyboard. I can't because I'm an old fart.

    I'm glad schools are more intelligent now and offer both homemaking courses and maintenance type of courses to ALL STUDENTS. Back in the Retarded Fifties, when we were supposed to hide under our desks in the event of an H bomb attack, such nonsense of separating tasks according to sex was accepted as "normal." Of course now we now that everybody is different and have different interests and talents and shouldn't be restricted because of the gender. We are becoming a more enlightened society Lar but we still have a long way to go.

    I will agree with you that your family is weird. Guess what? All families are weird. There is no "Father Knows Best" family. That's only in TV Land. Even the actors who portrayed those characters were weird in their real life as opposed to their reel life.

    Of course you have known from an early age that you were the King of Weirdos but I think you have always been proud of that title, haven't you? :)

    Hey Lar! There aren't many people weirder than me. Now think about it. Can you honestly say you know anyone weirder than me who isn't already in prison or a serial murderer? There, I thought so!


  17. "Hey Lar! There aren't many people weirder than me. Now think about it. Can you honestly say you know anyone weirder than me who isn't already in prison or a serial murderer? There, I thought so!"

    Well, I wasn't going to say it. :)


  18. Lar,

    Well, you DON"T have to agree with me. :)


  19. Anonymous8:14 PM


  20. I had a power cut while using my computer,now when I put a blank disc in to burn something it crashes computer?


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