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Dell Computers: Repair Tech rant
Old 03-15-2010, 11:14 AM   #1
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Dell Computers: Repair Tech rant

Computer crashed again and Dell is trying to sell me a disc called PC Tune-Up now for "optimization" of my computer. They really pushed this in each conversation I had with them during this crash repair this weekend--just like they pushed me to buy Spy Sweeper during another crash, which I did. And just like another rep after a computer crash this year told me I just "HAD to purchase" Malwarebytes for the health of my computer, which I also did. (OK, you can start thinking s-u-c-k-e-r now.)

I purchased both Spy Sweeper and Malwarebytes--assuming Dell tech reps knew more than I did about Dell computers--only to be told this last crash that I definitely should NOT put them on my computer as they would interfere and actually CAUSE them to crash. Therefore, the Spy Sweeper and Malwarebytes discs are sitting around being unused = a loss approximately of $75 for these 2 discs.

Having been in sales for years, I realize Dell now is just trying to make money off me and no longer trust their judgment on anything; so, I didn't get sucked into purchasing the PC Tune-Up from them.

What bothers me is that--since I, obviously, can't trust the Dell tech reps to give me honest and true guidance--how will I know what is worth the money and what isn't?

Frankly, I am really disappointed with Dell's philosophy which appears to be just to suck so much money out of their repair contract folks (like me) so much as possible. Do they really think shooting their credibility is worth the $30+/- you spend for their repair discs is worth it? I guess so. I've lost total faith in the Dell tech reps ever telling me the truth now.

Also, they have definitely kept harping on selling me the costly hardware contract to repair my hard drive (I think it is). If I remember correctly, that little item runs around $350-500 for the life of the computer. I did side-step that sales pitch repeatedly.

**My best idea is to go to a site like PC World or similar to check and see? I'm hoping someone here has a better idea than that.
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Old 03-15-2010, 11:28 AM   #2
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I would do general googling to answer questions like that. This forum is also a good place.

I agree that companies are continually working to fit advertising and stealth sales pitches into more and more crannies of our lives. Messages while on hold, ads on the TV screen during the shows, ads on TIVO, product placement, etc. We are under siege.
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Old 03-15-2010, 11:43 AM   #3
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This is particularly hard on someone like me who doesn't have a techie mind and doesn't really know computers like a tech would, anyway. You count on Dell tech reps for their honest opinion which is supposed to be in your best interest, but no. Very frustrating, for sure.

I can say that the best piece of advice I got from a Dell rep. was when I bought the computer. He said get 4 Gigs of memory, which is more than I will ever need or ever use--but that if speed was what I was looking for (it was) then that would do it. And it does.
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Old 03-15-2010, 01:37 PM   #4
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Yeah, I can feel your pain but... In fairness to the Tech Reps, they are probably on your side. One of the problems I have found working with people with little (or no) technical skills is one of communication. A good philosophy to have is what I use on those times I contact a "Help" desk. I tell the Tech straight away that I have 2 rules:

1. I won't do anything (punch any keys, for instance) until instructed to.
2. I will not do anything until I am certain I fully understood the instructions.

Now, having said that, the problems I have found with working with people over the telephone is they always (stress that word) get ahead of me or do something without telling me. I am not accusing you of doing that but...

Now, the other thing is to be specific -- saying the "computer crashed" is a lot like saying "I feel terrible" to a doctor.

and so on and so on...

I know this isn't much help but it may explain the situation.

(The above advice will also apply when Googling for advice.)
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Old 03-15-2010, 04:54 PM   #5
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RonBoyd, I do exactly that: I refuse to touch anything unless I know what they want me to do and understand it. So, I'm doing something right there.

It's just Dell's over-selling that is costing me money and false hopes that I really resent.
I mean, I've got discs now that I bought within the last six months that are just sitting in a case.

I can give the Dell reps credit for being super-courteous and friendly, tho. On the other hand, I take every effort to be polite to them knowing how they must get alot of flack from frustrated folks...and who knows who they dealt with before I got them on the phone (too many experiences in selling where I catch someone who just got jacked around by another salesperson, the wife is giving them grief, the son crashed their only van, etc. and the person was just really upset). You really do get more flies with honey.


However, my complaint here is: over-selling by Dell. They are selling me things that I don't need. Why is Dell pushing the reps to do this greedy practice. Dell needs the money that badly? Bad business practice I say.

Moral note to Orchidflower: No more buying anything at all until I have hung up with the Dell rep. and checked it out on google first. I'm taking TAl's suggestion there.
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Old 03-15-2010, 04:59 PM   #6
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In any event... I am on your side. I am not the enemy. I meant no offense... just sayin.

BTW, the PC Tune-up software would, most likely, by on list of suggestions also. I would locate a free version, however. And, I don't believe the two Spyware programs are a problem except if they were both examing the machine at the same time... and even then I would be skeptical.
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Old 03-15-2010, 05:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orchidflower View Post
This is particularly hard on someone like me who doesn't have a techie mind and doesn't really know computers like a tech would, anyway. You count on Dell tech reps for their honest opinion which is supposed to be in your best interest, but no. Very frustrating, for sure.

I can say that the best piece of advice I got from a Dell rep. was when I bought the computer. He said get 4 Gigs of memory, which is more than I will ever need or ever use--but that if speed was what I was looking for (it was) then that would do it. And it does.
Let's diagnose the problem. Are you problem-free now? If not, describe the problem. What is the model? What is the O/S?
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Old 03-15-2010, 06:06 PM   #8
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Got it totally fixed with the help of 3 different reps from Dell. They have changed their system since the last crash (vast improvement), which was my fault as I couldn't get the computer to do anything and went crazy pushing too many buttons with my quick trigger fingers. Yes, yes, I know..really dumb move. I learned from that.

This one this weekend was due to having my computer on automatic updates we concluded and it would not update Windows.NET Service Pack 1 (look on google and you will see tons of folks also couldn't). After 2 hours, my first tech rep just gave up trying to install the Service Pack 1.
2nd tech rep had me uninstall and then install the operating system and drivers and utilities, but we still had problems, including Adobe not working and the Printer not connecting. He got very tired and quit as he was already into 3 hrs. of overtime with me, and we started at 7:30 pm and it was 1 a.m. Central time where I am. We were both tired.
I called back the next day like he told me to to finish this job and got the third tech rep. who had been there 5 years and was called a Master Technical Rep. We uninstalled and re-installed the operating system, drivers and utilities, Adobe and made sure we checked it before hanging up, installed the printer and also tested it, McAfee, Malwarebytes and, lastly, Firefox and think that's it = 7-1/2 hrs. of total time during 2 different days and 3 different reps. Wow...draining, draining, draining. Almost as fun as an enema!
(I'm giving you the shorthand version of this, of course, but you get the idea.)

I've done it so much now that I'm very fast at the unzipping and extracting files and they don't have to give me so many instructions. Guess practice really does make perfect.

I have: Dell Inspiron 1525 using Windows Vista that's 1-1/2 yr. old almost.
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Old 03-15-2010, 06:27 PM   #9
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In any event... I am on your side. I am not the enemy. I meant no offense... just sayin.

BTW, the PC Tune-up software would, most likely, by on list of suggestions also. I would locate a free version, however. And, I don't believe the two Spyware programs are a problem except if they were both examing the machine at the same time... and even then I would be skeptical.
When you say two Spyware programs, are you speaking of Spy Sweeper and one other or McAfee and Malwarebytes.

By the way, the tech rep told me to get Norton Symantec next time as it's better than McAfee. Any opinion on that?

As for the tech reps, I have no problem with them personally as they really do try their best almost always. The tech reps whether from India or the Phillipines seem like nice, good folks. It's the sales pushing that Dell, obviously, forces them to do that has me frustrated. What's with Michael Dell? Need a new yacht or something?
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Old 03-15-2010, 06:37 PM   #10
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I have: Dell Inspiron 1525 using Windows Vista that's 1-1/2 yr. old almost.
Diagnosis: Vista.
Take one upgrade to Windows 7 and call me in the morning.
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Old 03-15-2010, 07:22 PM   #11
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When you say two Spyware programs, are you speaking of Spy Sweeper and one other or McAfee and Malwarebytes.
It doesn't matter. The two should run at the same time without problem. (Notice I said "should.") I was, however, speaking of "Spy Sweeper" and "MalwareBytes" as you mentioned in the OP.

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By the way, the tech rep told me to get Norton Symantec next time as it's better than McAfee. Any opinion on that?
I have none. I have used AVG Pro for about ten years now so I am unfamiliar with any others.

I will say that I read an article today that promised 10 free Windows programs that are better than the high priced commercial product.

Oh! It was Part one of a Two Parter -- with the second act to be performed some time in the future:

10 Essential Windows Freeware Programs – Part I

Anyway, this guy (who I have complete faith in -- having followed him for years) recommends "Microsoft Security Essentials." I agree with him. This is a much underestimated product.

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As for the tech reps, I have no problem with them personally as they really do try their best almost always. The tech reps whether from India or the Phillipines seem like nice, good folks. It's the sales pushing that Dell, obviously, forces them to do that has me frustrated. What's with Michael Dell? Need a new yacht or something?
Yeah, well, as a former(?) salesperson, you should know that "No" is just a step toward saying "Yes" -- a natural progression.
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Old 03-15-2010, 09:06 PM   #12
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I had very bad times with both Norton and McAffee years ago. There's too much good free stuff out there - for instance AVG antivirus. I am also a fan of IObit's free care system: Advanced SystemCare Free | Windows 7 Registry Cleaner | Free Registry Repair for Windows 7, Vista, XP, and 2000 Much to be said for just clicking on a big blue button..
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Old 03-15-2010, 09:23 PM   #13
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Got it totally fixed with the help of 3 different reps from Dell. They have changed their system since the last crash (vast improvement), which was my fault as I couldn't get the computer to do anything and went crazy pushing too many buttons with my quick trigger fingers. Yes, yes, I know..really dumb move. I learned from that.

This one this weekend was due to having my computer on automatic updates we concluded and it would not update Windows.NET Service Pack 1 (look on google and you will see tons of folks also couldn't). After 2 hours, my first tech rep just gave up trying to install the Service Pack 1.
2nd tech rep had me uninstall and then install the operating system and drivers and utilities, but we still had problems, including Adobe not working and the Printer not connecting. He got very tired and quit as he was already into 3 hrs. of overtime with me, and we started at 7:30 pm and it was 1 a.m. Central time where I am. We were both tired.
I called back the next day like he told me to to finish this job and got the third tech rep. who had been there 5 years and was called a Master Technical Rep. We uninstalled and re-installed the operating system, drivers and utilities, Adobe and made sure we checked it before hanging up, installed the printer and also tested it, McAfee, Malwarebytes and, lastly, Firefox and think that's it = 7-1/2 hrs. of total time during 2 different days and 3 different reps. Wow...draining, draining, draining. Almost as fun as an enema!
(I'm giving you the shorthand version of this, of course, but you get the idea.)

I've done it so much now that I'm very fast at the unzipping and extracting files and they don't have to give me so many instructions. Guess practice really does make perfect.

I have: Dell Inspiron 1525 using Windows Vista that's 1-1/2 yr. old almost.

Orchidflower,

I'm glad that you finally got your computer fixed. Not piling on Dell, but some computer repair shops aren't known for great technical service.

My sister in law has a computer that was shutting off by itself. She brought it in to a computer repair shop (I'm not sure where) but the tech support person said, it's the motherboard, a common problem with that computer. Well, I take the computer home and look at what's going on. Ends up the motherboard is fine. The problem was the cpu was overheating. I just needed to add some thermal paste and reseat the cpu fan /heat sink. Problem solved.
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Old 03-15-2010, 09:24 PM   #14
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I'm taking notes on what you folks say.

Yes, one of the tech reps did suggest that I upgrade to Windows 7. It costs $100, but I would have to go thru the entire uninstallation and reinstallation again...please not another 7-1/2 hours, please. But, anyway, at this time I just don't have the energy. Maybe in a few months.
My son had some roomies getting their Masters in computer science. One of them sent him a disc for Windows 7 saying it was best, but his is 64 bit and I can't use that particular disc; however, its been explained to me already how much this would help...I'm just trying to build up the emotional strength to go thru that cr@p all over again.
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Old 03-15-2010, 09:42 PM   #15
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Orchidflower, as someone who is more than familiar with Dell (I have several close friends who have worked there for years) I have to say that they honestly are good people and try their best to help customers out.

As a techie myself I can attest that it's very easy to encounter problems on computers that are purely software related and nothing to do with the original manufacturer's hardware. This is a big dilemma for computer companies like Dell, HP, and Acer who are essentially constantly in price/cost wars with each other in the consumer market. With a more limited default tech support contract each manufacturer can advertise lower price points, maintain razor thin margins, and then try to upsell customers at the time of the system purchase or when issues like yours come up.

So it's certainly not that Michael Dell or any of the shareholders of any of these companies are making much profit in the consumer space...they are simply trying to hold on to market share and hope to be able to upsell customers on higher margin add-ons. It's quite a challenge unless your core systems and brand can demand a premium (like Apple), which gives you more wiggle room to run your business profitably and over-deliver on experience. Most of the consumer computer market just doesn't work this way unfortunately.....the vast majority of customers simply care about price of the system and don't put much value on the technical help until it's needed.

...which probably puts you in the same boat as me when it comes to cars & repairs
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Old 03-16-2010, 07:26 AM   #16
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Yes, one of the tech reps did suggest that I upgrade to Windows 7.
There are a host of reason why you should upgrade to Windows 7 -- if only to keep up with technology. (See Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed... for what happens if you fall behind.) However, blaming your current software for stability problems is not a good reason. I have one machine with Windows XP, one with Vista, and two with Windows 7. All four machine are equally stable. Of course, the Windows 7 machines are the more desirable but only because they include the things that were developed more recently. Nevertheless, all four are "stable" -- in fact, I have never had a problem with any of these operating systems.

Now, having said that... I am a great believer in not "customizing" unless there is a very good reason. An example (a minor one) would be that I use Internet Explorer because it was built into the system and it does what it is supposed to do. I would never think of using something like Fire Fox (or equivalents). In other words, I adapt myself to the system and never try to make the system "do it my way." I have enough challenges without having an argument with my computer.

If you blame Microsoft for publishing "lousy" software, no amount of upgrading will be sufficient -- "No matter where you go... there you are."

(FWIW, I am as happy with my Vista machine (actually my main machine) as with the Windows 7 ones. I didn't see this upgrade (from Vista to Win 7) as anything to "write home to mom" about.)
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:11 AM   #17
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Got it totally fixed with the help of 3 different reps from Dell. They have changed their system since the last crash (vast improvement), which was my fault as I couldn't get the computer to do anything and went crazy pushing too many buttons with my quick trigger fingers. Yes, yes, I know..really dumb move. I learned from that.
Your quick pushing buttons comment reminded me of a pleasant lady that I used to support when I was doing computer support in the nineties. I was training a couple of St Barnards at home at the time and was devoting a couple hours a day to doggie commands. One day she had a problem and had as usual hit about ten keys that I did not want her to and i needed her to slow down. Without thinking I summoned my deepest commanding voice and firmly said SIT. After we both stopped laughing (she knew about the dogs) we got her computer back on the straight and narrow. The funny thing is she never ran off at the keyboard again.
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:45 AM   #18
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Firefox might be causing some of these hardware problems? RonBoyd gave his opinion, but wondering if that is the consensus opinion of the rest of the computer tech pros here

(As I keep saying, I have no argument with the Dell tech reps themselves as all do really seem as if they want to do their very best. It is with the up-selling that irritates me when they are up-selling cd's that are really bad for my computer. What gives with that?)
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:01 AM   #19
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Firefox might be causing some of these hardware problems? RonBoyd gave his opinion, but wondering if that is the consensus opinion of the rest of the computer tech pros here...
I'm far from a 'computer tech pro' but have been using Firefox for years on three PC's using XP, Vista, etc., and rarely experience any problems - never any hardware related.

However, I will admit that after switching from Internet Explorer I have become much less skilled at crash recovery techniques....
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:34 AM   #20
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Oh! Another of my (usual) failures to communicate. I have no issue with Firefox, per se. Nor do I have an opinion on/of it. What I meant was that I treat my computer like I do my telephone -- it is only a tool. I would not think to try to "improve" either one if they do what I expect. Of course, my life is much too busy full to spend it making something (at the most) marginally "better." Let "sleeping dogs lie" says I.

As an aside, I question how installing a 3rd party application would make an operating system more (or less) stable. Probably because I am unsure what the term "crash" means exactly. Have I had my machines lock up because I had too many memory intensive applications running? Yes, many times. I suppose that is a "crash" but a reboot is the cure I apply. Have I had "strange" things happen during those times? Yes, of course. Nothing that couldn't be fixed quickly, however.

And just to make the point that I am not a gentle computer user, here is a screen shot of the machine I am on now (the others are much more cluttered):

Screen Shot.jpg
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