Monday, December 18, 2006

Computer woes

My laptop worked fine last night (as evidenced by the blog posts), yet this morning it seems to be missing its system config file and won't boot to windows. Where do those files go overnight? I'm so tired of dealing with laptop crap. If it's not one thing it's another. For example, when I got to my office I turned on the backup laptop that we have, in part, for dealing with situations like these. The power comes on but the screen stays dark. I had to reboot about 10 times before I got the screen to display. So as soon as the first laptop is fixed, now the second one has to go in for repair. I don't think I'm physically hard on laptops (although both of these have endured plenty of field work in the past), so why do they insist on being hard on me? Does anyone else have these routine hardware and software problems? If I end having to buy a new laptop (out-of-pocket) to work at home with, does anyone have any brand recommendations? Macs are out.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I had the problem last week and the solution outlined here works (as long as the software is not OEM installed)

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307545

brother said...

Recommendation: don't buy a cheap machine. If you want trouble free service, buy a higher end business laptop. Dell's Inspiron and Precision series. Or if you are going to have it out in the field, get a computer that is designed for it: Panasonic ToughBook. These class of machines are more expensive than others, but they are designed to work well. The toughbooks are what you see riding shotgun in the police cruisers. Also, if you are buying a personal computer, buy a good on site warranty. It will cost hundreds of dollars more, but it means that they will come out the same day or next day and replace whatever hardware is giving you problems. And you don't need to deal with stupid university support people. Also keep all of the crap off of it. Just put the software that you need to do your job. Don't install games, random screensavers from the internet, or anything that you don't need. Don't install anti-virus software -- it will just slow down your computer. Keep your computer behind your firewall / router, turn on Window's firewall, and run an anti-virus and anti-spyware scan every few months. It's worked for me.

Note: I think blogger is a bit excessive with its CAPTCHAs or whatever they are called. Mine is 8 characters long. lyjmjfmo.

JF, scientist said...

We just got a Toshiba Satellite; you can customize them somewhat, and as long as you don't want Vista (and who would?) they're relatively less-expensive (than Dell, eg). My last one lived four or five years before giving up completely. They come in an assortment of weights/sizes, though the smaller the more expensive, of course.

Sympathies on the computer woes!

JF, scientist said...

I should add we got ours for data analysis.

Writer Chica said...

I have a Dell XPS M140 which I like. DH found a good deal on it. It doesn't like sitting 'on' all the time and sometimes needs a restart, but it has been doing its job. Also, it helps that I have live-in tech support for my computer probs. I would probably go buggy if DH weren't around to fix our technology stuff. I really hate when technology doesn't do what it is supposed to do.

Good luck. Sounds like brother has lots of good advice.

Lab Lemming said...

I don't think that physical abuse correlates with laptop problems. My old laptop I dropped off the back of a motorcycle once and a bicycle several times. Aside from a broken latch, no problem.

My new one has hardly been outside, and it has had all sorts of problems.

Meg said...

Love my Fujitsu Lifebook (T Series). Wouldn't trade it for the world. It wasn't cheap, but I agree with what others have said: cost does make a difference in terms of quality.

Amelie said...

I'd get something with a long guarantee -- that standard one year thing is just not enough. Dell comes to your place for service, so you don't have to send the laptop away, which I find pretty convenient. However, if you go abroad it is not always that easy: although it's called "international next business day service", it took me nearly two months to make the US service guys fix the machine I bought in Germany... Once back home, getting service was no problem at all.

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