Tech Support Morning

My laptop is a Dell from 2006.  I know, it’s a travesty that I’m still using it.  Well, it was doing good for a while.  Then, I put new virus and spyware checkers on it that killed the speed.  After that, I decided to go for full-time author and my laptop became a constant companion instead of sleeping all day.  To date, the following issues are going on with my laptop:

  1. It can’t charge beyond 50%.
  2. Buttons occasionally refuse to work.
  3. It doesn’t always acknowledge that it’s plugged in.
  4. It doesn’t have the memory to work its own screensaver.
  5. Updates make it cry.
  6. NEW ONE!  It doesn’t always turn on.

Guess I know where my royalties are going, but there seems to be a new wrinkle in the whole epic mess.  If I get a new computer now, I’m stuck with Windows 8.  This seems to be a big problem because they’re ‘fixing’ it in the fall, which I might not get if I buy a new computer now.  When did it become mandatory to curse the name of Microsoft when computer shopping?  I don’t have a choice in Windows 8 and I don’t understand the whole tile thing.

So, today is going to be a low computer day while I hunt for a replacement.  All I need is a laptop with storage, Microsoft Word, and internet.  Tempted to stick with the Firefox virus and spyware protection instead of the lumbering beasts I have now.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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100 Responses to Tech Support Morning

  1. MishaBurnett says:

    What I have seen of Windows 8 has made me seriously consider Linux for my next computer. I’m still using a Dell about I think I got in 06 or 07.

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    • I’m not sure what happened to mine. It’s been such a quick decline. I’m looking up stuff about Windows 8 and I simply don’t get it. Is this tile thing supposed to make stuff easier? Why change what isn’t broken?

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  2. Dell store on line has a number of units that would fit. I think you are right about a new one. Also I would take a vacuum to the cooling fan. You may have dust that is causing overheating as well. Good idea is to place the computer on a (no joke) cookie cooling rack if you leave it on for an extended time. Hope this helps (won’t cure)

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  3. Computers are both the bane and blessing of our existence. I think you can still find one that is Windows 7 based. I hear good things about 8, but it takes a lot of getting used to. My next laptop will be a MacBook but they are seriously more money than a PC. The good news is that the new laptops come standard with tons more hard drive than they did in 2006. Good luck. And definitely keep your cooling fan dust free.

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  4. Pawn shop.

    The Compaq beauty I’m working on now CAME with Windows 7 and only cost me $160, bag included.

    And because Windows 8 is out, most pawn shops will be trying to offload anything with 7 or below for cheap, 😉

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  5. Throw Windows in the trash. Linux is your friend. 😀

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  6. tjtherien says:

    I went about six months without a computer when my last one fried, I bought this one when windows 8 was first released so I could get a laptop with windows 7 cheap, it was a bit of a strategic buy as I held off to do it, but in the end I got a $800 model for $400 including taxes. best of luck finding a replacement Charles.

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    • Thanks. My dad used to work tech support for a computer company, so he’s going to help me. He’s saying we need days of research, so my natural impatience is kicking in. I’m not a complicated person on the computer, so I don’t see why this is going to be such a headache.

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  7. Green Embers says:

    Hahaha, Windows 8 is awesome, lol. You can ignore the tiles and just go straight to the desktop. The tiles are pretty easy to use though. The full desktop that you know and (maybe) love is there. It’s actually more streamlined than 7 and works better for the most part. Although instead of Word have you tried using Scrivener? (I think that’s it) I have heard a lot of good things about that.

    (I admit I am biased as I actually made a Windows 8 App… so….. yeah, lol).

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    • My laptop hasn’t been able to use Scrivener. Keeps crashing if I try. So, what is everyone complaining about with Windows 8?

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      • Green Embers says:

        Change. Anytime something changes people complain. The tiles are built around Touch First, so you can have things like Tablet PCs that are full PCs and can switch to a Tablet. It was something that Microsoft really “needed” to do to stay relevant. But all people see is wah my Start Menu changed… wah!

        Windows 8 boots faster, is more responsive and works better on less capable machines. It really is a better OS. The 8.1 update coming out in the Fall is only going to make it better.

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      • I’ve just been told that I can switch to the original desktop version too. So, I don’t see what the big problem is. The only thing I have to figure out is if I get the 8.1 update for free.

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      • Green Embers says:

        I believe it is free. I didn’t look into it too much. In fact, I think you can get the beta for it right now ( but it’s beta so.. that might have some issues).

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      • Beta wouldn’t be a good thing for me. I get frustrated and God of War on technology already.

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      • Green Embers says:

        Yeah, I understand completely, lol. I didn’t want to have to deal with it either which is why I haven’t touched it, lol.

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      • It’s funny though that the issues are on the physical component side and not the software. I could handle the slowness, but now that the power button is dying, I really feel the urge to get a new one.

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  8. Really can’t help you here. After numerous PCs that primarily excelled at error messages and crashes between 1995 and 2008 I turned my back on Microsoft and never looked back. I’d share my Mac repair stories with you from over the past 5.5 years, but I don’t have any. This desktop runs as well today as the day I got it and runs Scrivener beautifully. My delight led to my adding a Macbook last year. I never have to configure anything. If I buy something new the computer recognizes it. Anti-virus software purchased thus far: $0.00. I hope you find something to get you by.

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    • The anti-virus stuff is going to change. I know some free, simple programs and I don’t wander very far on the internet. I’ve used Macs before and something about them doesn’t fit with me. Not sure what it is, but I always have trouble and get lost. Though, it’s been years since I tried to use one.

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      • The computer is a tool and first and foremost it’s important that you’re comfortable with what you use. I’ve known people who’ve had to continually fiddle with their PC to keep it running, yet love the machine. So be it. It seems as though the machines are evolving towards a similar end point (thus, Windows 8) anyway. In the end it’s what you do with the computer that counts. Good luck!

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      • Thanks. I’ve been cleaning and fiddling with this one because of money. I was hoping to hold off until Christmas, but that doesn’t look like a possibility.

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  9. Windows 8 really isn’t that bad ^^ I’ve had it for a while now. Yes, it has Tiles, BUT what they don’t tell you is you can just ignore them and go back to your usual desktop full time. The only thing missing from it is the start menu, and that is now on the right hand side if I mouse over it and hit a few buttons. It’s not that bad ^^ I was used to it in a week.

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  10. Bastet says:

    Personally I’d take off the fancy anti-virus anti-spy ware stuff, if it lets you do so, I use Clam Sentinel and Clamwin antivirus…free on the internet…and of course Firefox. Then I’d clean her out…bet since 2006 she’s never been cleaned…I’m talking about physically vacuuming and/or spraying it out…there is probably a bunch of dust there and that makes everything slow way down. Sekhmet is a 2006 Packard Bell – desktop so she’s easy to clean – Bastet my netbook is a little more difficult, but clean them I do at least every 3 months…oh and the heat doesn’t help…so I have a cooling thingy I put Bastet on when I’m using her to keep her cooler.

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    • I couldn’t open this laptop even after I undid every screw. Though, the big issue is that physical parts are going. The adapter connection inside the laptop might be slightly corroded, the power button doesn’t always recognized that it’s been hit, and buttons are dying. The program stuff is annoying, but I think there are barely functional parts inside causing some issues too. Better to get a new one than spend a lot of money trying to fix this one and it’ll still break in a year or two.

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      • Bastet says:

        Yeah…probably right there…the power button etc not working is not good. I have hubby who dismantles computers and fixes them, so for the mo’ these things get fixed, but I shiver at the thought of the day I’ll have to give up on my xp…but it will happen sooner or later (sigh). I’m thinking that when the moment comes, I’ll probably go Linux, and I do want a desktop for my normal computing…for traveling something small again like Bastet. I’d really like to try a Mac…but man are they expensive! Well, good luck my friend on your search! 🙂

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      • Thanks. It’s a day of research and groaning about the heat. That might have been another factor.

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  11. All I use for protection is the Free AVG program. It works fine. Good luck with the computer hunt! 😉

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  12. AR Neal says:

    So sorry to hear about your computer issue! Be sure to back up all your files when you get it powered up next. Oh! and as you power up, try starting it in safe mode (F5, i think), which should allow only the required start-up files to load and thus speeds the start-up process. Ideally if you have an external drive, plug it in, wait until the laptop finds it, and copy everything important off the laptop. Otherwise, start grabbing every free cloud app you can log into and save everything. You can do pretty well with Google Drive as a start, and there’s Sugarsync and Dropbox. As far as anti-virus and free, we swear by both Avast (which also offers an upgraded paid version but I’ve never used it) and Spybot S&D (which finds buried spyware and adware). And you might want to wander to a Best Buy or something or check online to find out if you can revert W8 to W7 settings (no tiles). Just a thought!

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  13. Ellespeth says:

    Just be sure you have everything backed up 😦 I know, from experience, that computers can take it with em when they die and then it costs to have it retrieved. Hoping all works out…
    Ellespeth

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  14. TamrahJo says:

    Try techforless.com for rebuilds/refurbished ones or the local pawn shop to get a lower cost computer with a previous version of windows…
    😀
    And I use AVG Internet Security – $47 a year for protection against spyware/malware, anti-virus and identity security and doesn’t make things run slow….

    Like

  15. Jack Flacco says:

    Can you perform a format on the drive? You can save the data on a removable, format the laptop, reinstalling the drivers, and dumping the data back on. It would take a day or two but you’d have a speedier computer. As for the battery, unfortunately, that sounds terminal. Dell batteries have a certain amount of chargers it takes before they’re bricks. My wife has the one I purchased in 2006. It still works pretty good, but the battery’s a brick. I’d reformatted the drive several times, always keeping the data intact. Anyway, food for thought.

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  16. Windows 8 is not as bad as people make it out to be. You don’t really need to use the tiles at all, you can will probably do most all of your work in the desktop. Yes, the start menu is gone, but you can download an app like “Classic Shell” which gives you a very good start menu in a number of styles (Windows XP, Windows 7, etc.) that makes it much more comfortable to work with. You will have back all of your programs and windows tools on a familiar menu. I really haven’t found any programs that I ran in previous versions of Windows that don’t run as good or better in Windows 8. I won’t say that there is no learning curve, but it certainly isn’t insurmountable. As far as the 8.1 update that will be released, as near as I can tell it will be free and yes it is supposed to include the start menu again, but that shouldn’t be the primary reason to wait since there are very good workarounds available now.

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  17. I bought a computer once and wasn’t able to get on the internet when I connected it. Tech support told me I had to uninstall some of the factory programs to free up memory. Whose brilliant idea was it to load the computers with more memory than they could handle when connecting to the internet?

    I love that picture. I’ve been tempted to do that many a time. 🙂

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  18. Tuan Ho says:

    I actually picked up a new laptop about 3 weeks ago. Searched far and wide for a good bargain and I hit the jackpot.

    This store was having a huge sale and they had this one laptop that was heavily discounted. I asked the salesman why it was so cheap. He said, “It’s an older model. It runs on Windows 7”. My face lit up and I said, “I’ll take it.”

    WIN-WIN! Can’t believe I found a good deal and it was Windows 7. Microsoft should be prosecuted for war crimes or something for the atrocity that is Windows 8. 🙂

    Though they’re bringing back the Start menu, so it shouldn’t be too bad.

    Good luck with everything and let us all know what happens with the old laptop.

    Like

  19. keladelaide says:

    I hope you don’t end up computerless for any great length of time.

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  20. C.N. Faust says:

    I am in a similar pickle, and so after my birthday I will (hopefully) have enough money to get a Google Chromebook. It is a bit smaller than a standard laptop but it has really good reviews, is light and portable, and there is virtually no difference in the keyboard (so it won’t be cramped and hard to type on). I also do not want to put up with Windows 8 and Macs are ridiculously expensive.

    Like

  21. mrsgillies says:

    I’m a Mac person 🙂

    Like

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