The Hell that is Dell

7 Oct

Me and Dell go back a bit in terms of home computing, over 10 years. One desktop and a couple of laptops worth. The only reason I switched to HP for my current desktop was that Dell couldn’t spec anything high enough for me, nothing that would last 4-5 years anyway. I felt a bit disloyal shopping in PC World to be honest. I was, back then, a pretty commited Dell customer. Up until a couple of weeks ago I’d have struggled to say a bad word against Dell, even after they moved their tech support from Ireland to India I continued to sing their praises.

Not any more.

First my sisters 14 month old Studio 17 laptop failed, spectacularly. What we initally thought was a HD problem turned out to be a complete motherboard failure. A motherboard that can only be supplied by Dell at a ridiculous price over half again what she paid for the laptop. I immediately upgraded the warranty on my daughter’s Studio 17 which was due to expire in less than a month.

My son’s Inspiron Mini 9 then suffered a HD failure with 8 days left on its warranty. The first indication of ropey service was when Dell failed to respond within 24 hours of me submitting my ticket. So  with only 6 days left on the warranty I phoned. I was passed about a bit and talked to 3 people in all but eventually it was arranged that the machine would be returned to Dell and fixed under my warranty. All good.

It was returned promptly and I had no reason to think it wasn’t fixed. Until I checked the HD. If you’re familiar with the Mini 9 series you’ll  know they’re not big. wee-dellThey are dead cute with 9″ screens and a keyboard only really fit for a slim fingered child. When I bought it for my son I wasn’t intending the HD to be up to much for storage so I bought him an external drive to accompany it. It came with a 16GB internal drive which I figured would be just about enough for a few of his favourite programmes and still leave some space for data. And it was just about enough. So as you can imagine I was mightily pissed off when it was returned “fixed” with an 8Gb drive rather than the 16Gb I bought. Mightily pissed off. After installing Open Office, Firefox and Thunderbird the drive is over half full, and that’s before he’s received a single email. Not fit for purpose if you as me (incidentally it wasn’t bought for that son – it belongs to my 12yo – Paul has an old Toshiba).

Yesterday morning, just when I thought I’d pop a blood vessel or two my daughters Studio 17 decides to stop playing Sims 2. Every single expansion pack. So after spending all morning trying to root out and patch the problem I eventually uninstalled the lot, reinstalled with new patches and it’s working fine. I suspect some Windows update rendered the Sims unusable.

pdell1So what right do Dell have to steal HD space from me? I may never know. MrW spent 25 minutes on hold to Dell Support yesterday evening only to be redirected at 8:10 to a recorded message informing him that the tech support call centre closed at 8:00 – as if 25 minutes on hold to a premium number wasn’t bad enough they were closed for nearly half the time. He’s Twittering mad about it.

So.

Today I came to a decision.

No more PCs.

I will never let another Windows machine through my door.

I’m too old and I drink far too much wine to absorb the stress that Windows PCs bring to my life.

We have spent the best part of 7 hours watching the HP slowly rebuild with recovery disks sent from Germany after the recovery disks we created…. failed. Yeah, that HD failed too. I’m DONE with OEM and I’m DONE with Windows.

If we hadn’t booked a holiday next year me and my Visa would be off to the Apple store in Glasgow tomorrow. But I’m sure a month in the Florida sun will go some way to repairing my ragged nerves. I just have to last til then… through a long dark winter with these miserable machines that collapse if someone slams a door too hard.

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