Thursday, June 28, 2007

Progress, Lack Of

This is what the last couple of weeks have been like for me:

  • Programs and/or computer keeps crashing for random different reasons. I start to think something is wrong.
  • I spend several days running anti-virus programs, deleting suspicious files, and doing maintenance activities like error-checking, defragmentation, and disk-cleanup.
  • I spend several days coming to terms with the fact that none of that seemed to help.
  • I get department computer person to help me. She spends a long time running anti-virus programs and convincing herself that it is a software problem, not a hardware problem. She says I should re-install the operating system.
  • I spend several days coming to terms with the idea of wiping out my hard drive and starting over. I really don't want to do this. I spend a lot of time on the internet researching the problem, and eventually decide to do it.
  • I then spend several days making copies of all my files, folders, programs, etc. and convincing myself that I have in fact made all of these copies and that it is okay (really) to do this.
  • I then spend several days trying to re-install my system. This is surprisingly difficult to do. I cannot get my computer to boot from the CD. I spend a lot of time on the internet researching how I am supposed to do this. I download a bunch of drivers which are supposed to help, but don't. Nothing I do seems to work. I call department computer person for help, but she is not there. I then decide to try the re-installation disk from our lab computer, which is a different model but pretty close, and this seems to work.
  • I then spend several days trying to get my computer back up to speed -- downloading updates (80 critically urgent security updates from Windows!), installing anti-virus programs, and re-connecting to the internet.
  • My computer continues to crash periodically for no discernible reason.
  • I call department computer person for help, and she says I should call Dell.
  • I call Dell, and am told I need to re-install the system (again!) because I probably downloaded the drivers in the wrong order (there's an order?!).
  • I start to re-install the system, and the computer crashes, and won't do anything.
  • Nice Dell guy tells me to open up my computer and take out the memory card and put it into another slot. I do this, and everything is still crappy, so this seems to indicate there is something wrong with my memory. He says he will send me a new one in the mail next day air. In the meantime, I run a diagnostic thingy on my system, which also tells me something is wrong with my memory.
  • Right now I am sitting in my office, using the lab computer, periodically checking the mailroom for a delivery, and mostly being completely useless.
So there you have it. I'm sure there are things I could be doing without my computer, but it really doesn't feel like it. So here I sit. I think I'll go check the mailroom again.


  1. Bummer, computer problems suck. Find a computer geek/nerd who can help you for a low price. Do not go to Best Buy's GeekSquad or anything. You're at a school. Go to a computer science department if you have one. Look for help from those CS people. Pay them or something. :)

    If I was close to your place, I'd check out your system for free or a trade (look at your ants :)).

  2. Ouch... I know how it feels to be lagged like that. My sympathy about the problem, keep the spirit and I hope all goes well soon.

    Regards from Indo-Australia

  3. Hi,

    My name is Todd and I'm with Dell's online outreach program, which is designed to try to help our customers on blogs and forums. I saw your post and wanted to see if I can help.

    Did you ever receive that memory replacement for the system and did it help? If not, it's possible it was the memory on the processor itself that was causing the errors.

    If you've received the memory and it didn't help please email me at and I'll be glad to see what I can do to help. Please include my first name, Todd, in the subject line of the message so it can quickly be routed through to me. If you could please send me the dispatch reference number for the memory replacement so I can read the notes from that technician to see what he did to troubleshoot the system.

    Thank you,


    Customer Advocate
    Dell, Inc.