Monday, April 12, 2010
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:
HARD-DISK DRIVE FAILURE
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.