I’m stuck with a Dell laptop that now fails to boot after just two weeks of normal use. I can accept the fact that I will probably fight with Dell technical support for six months before they do anything to help. What I can’t accept is that I can’t figure out what is wrong with this box.
Quite simply, using the laptop for an extended period results in incredibly slow performance, which leads to a lockup or blue screen, which leads to Windows no longer booting on the next cold restart. The ensuing error messages are varied and too numerous to list. After a clean install of Windows, every single diagnostic from the Dell CD comes back perfect. Memtest86 returns no errors.
I’ve swapped out hard drives and CD drives. But after two weeks, the result is exactly the same: no boot. I’ve tried other “unsupported operating systems” (read: Ubuntu), but they crash and burn just the same. If a Dell technician tells me to reinstall XP Home one more time, I may go postal!
This sounds like a classic case of overheating. Perhaps an errant factory worker didn’t put enough thermal paste on the heat pipe and CPU. You should also see if anything is obstructing the laptop’s exhaust port. Regardless of the reason for the overheating, you should continue to work with Dell to replace the notebook since it is still under warranty and there is no reason this problem should be occurring.
You definitely shouldn’t attempt to repair the computer yourself. While a thermal paste issue is relatively easy to fix on a desktop machine, trying to pop the bits and pieces out of your laptop to access the processor area is quite a task—and it would void your warranty. If you don’t feel like talking to Dell’s customer service, try going to www.support.dell.com and using the online chat service—you might get better results.
SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION Are flames shooting out of the back of your rig? First, grab a fire extinguisher and douse the flames. Once the pyrotechnic display has fizzled, email the doctor at firstname.lastname@example.org for advice on how to solve your technological woes.