Ranthead: Computer Hell

compaq presario c350ea I would like to say that I have never fetishised my computer and that I don’t feel a strange emotional attachment to it but that just isn’t true – it has traveled with me, it helped me meet my wife, and we have created things together. So, when my electronic pal decides to go and betray me by not working I don’t think that it is unreasonable that I feel resentful and wish to cause it damage. I never have damaged it intentionally because even if it is an albatross it is an expensive one and I am as attached to mine as The Ancient Mariner was to his. So, I soldier on and I try and fix it and try to pretend that I feel the same way about the little machine, but you see I just don’t trust it anymore – it overheats, it shuts down, and at this moment it says that there isn’t a hard drive on there when I know that there is. So, they say that you can choose your friends but not your family – well, for me that is kind of analogous with you can choose your computer but not your technical support. Okay, so it’s not strictly anything alike, okay not at all – but how many people when they are buying a computer think about the people they are going to be dealing with when something goes wrong with the machine? And I am sure there will be a lot of people declaring loudly that this is a very important thing that they always take into consideration – well, my friend, not me. I may have written elsewhere about what a badly designed piece of machinery the computer I own is, but for the sake of clarity I will recap here. There appears to be one fan to cool the whole computer with vents that lead to the compartments holding the hard-drive and the one holding the processor – that is a lot of work for one fan to do – hence the overheating problems. The overheating problems are also tied to the fact that the software which regulates the sensors which tell the fan what to do is developed by Microsoft and not Compaq (a subsidiary of Hewlett Packard). Said singular fan has a single vent as well and the overheating leads to the plastic around that vent becoming brittle — this might not have been such a bad problem if they hadn’t decided to bolt one of the hinges for the screens on there leading to an eventual breakage. The word ‘bolted’ suggests something robust but the hinges aren’t strictly attached, they are slotted together and held in place by the plastic hinge covers which become brittle in the same way as the plastic around the vent. My hinge cover cracked, my hinge had too much stress placed on it by this and snapped leaving one hinge to bear the weight – guess what happened to the other hinge. All this served to make it a very hard computer to use – the whole trick being in the positioning whilst using it. Anyone who says here that I should just go and buy a new computer is thinking like Marie Antoinette when she said “Let them eat cake” – ah, if only I could buy a new machine every time I needed one. So, to the present problem – my computer says there is a disk read error and displays the message NT Detect  Failed. I tried several options which everyone knows to do when your computer doesn’t start up properly – pressing the function keys to access parts of the system that you never normally need to worry about and when that failed I decided to call Hewlett Packard. You see the thing is my computer is a partitioned drive and sells itself on the fact that you don’t need extra discs to perform a recovery – this fails when the disc the partition is on is inaccessible, so I decided that I needed a set of recovery discs or a boot disc. After bouncing around in voice-jail for a while trying to get the right department – the voice recognition software signally failing to recognise what I am saying. I have all the information about my computer to hand because I have had to do this before and, once I have outlined what my problem is, I reel it off to the guy on the other end — there is a pause while he checks his database and then he comes back to ask me if I am aware that my computer is out of warranty. I listen to his spiel about buying a new warranty, tell him I am not interested and that i would just like to know how much a set of recovery discs or a boot disc might be. He carries on harping on about the warranty and how he can’t transfer me through to technical support without my purchasing a warranty – it becomes apparent that our goals are incommensurate: I want information and he doesn’t want to provide it … I tell him I’ll think about it and after fighting to remain polite in the face of someone not getting the message I hang up. I have to admit that the fact  that I had lost so much stuff on my computer and that this had been such a negative experience tired me out – I felt beat up. So, I waited well into the next day before attempting to call again. Spin through voicejail and get to a lady on the phone – someone whose ability to understand me doesn’t even approach that of the crappy voice recognition software. After five attempts to convey my email address using the phonetic alphabet she gave up, pretending that she had got it when I new she hadn’t. So, I told her what I wanted. She replied to me with three prices in rapid fire broken English that I was hard pushed to understand – I asked her to reiterate for me so I could make a decision and she told me that it was available for download from the website. I asked her now where to download it from — if she had the web address, and she responded ‘So you have decided?’. I asked her for the web address again and got no response so I said thank you, she told me to have a nice day, and I hung up. Going on google I have managed to find more out about my problem than I ever would have trying to get data from Hewlett Packard – in the future I will avoid them like the plague. So, my computer is out of warranty, did I not still pay you a lot of money for it? Bad service + bad product = bad feeling on the part of the customers.

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