Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Horrible Turn of Events

My computer has broken.

Yesterday I was sitting on my porch in the sun, (as I like to do) browsing the web, and ripping some cds when my laptop froze. Ok fine, no panic - perhaps it's just had a bit too much sun - I just shut it down and gave it a break. Later that afternoon I open up and turn on my faithful companion and am greeted by a blue screen with a bunch of numbers the words 'UNSURMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME' and a message telling me an error has occured in Windows, due likely to recently installed hardware or software.

First thought: Karma. That's what I get for downloading cds I haven't paid for. Then I realized music files are not hardware or software so this must be a temporary glitch in need of a simple rebooting, as the lovely white font tells me. So...


Blue screen re-appears. Damn. Notice instructions for starting Windows in 'Safe Mode' so

>>REBOOT (Safe Mode Please)

Blue screen re-appears! Aargh! As frustration kicks in I attempt to restart my computer several more times....all in vain. Blue screen is not cooperating and seems to be here to stay. So I give up. You want to be stubborn Mr. Blue Screen? Well that's fine; I am a patient lady and I will outsmart you.

Time passes and last night (after a few more unsuccessful start-up attempts) something occurred to me: Technical Support! Eureka! The computer-savvy folks at Dell will tell me exactly what needs to be done to banish this evil Blue Screen. So to the household desktop I go. - enter!
Technical Support - click!

As the page loads, I cannot believe I have never thought of this before! How easy this will be - just a simple click on the "What to do if your laptop has a blue screen and refuses to start-up" link and voila: simple answers to all of my problems!

However does not work that way, oh no. Simplicity is not a word or mantra they employ. Words they are fond of include HAL.DLL, NTDLR, PBR Descriptor and debugger. ?????

Apparently technical salvation is not that easy to achieve. (Not unlike personal or religious salvation I suppose...) No matter, I shall persevere! My darling laptop is counting on me! So this morning I resort to the dreaded last resort: the 1-800 number. (dun dun dun...)

Tea in hand, frustration in check, I dialed 1-800-WWW-DELL. (Not because I believe this is the correct number to call, but because it is the only phone number I could find on the Dell website.) Five minutes and several menu selections later a perky woman named Danielle informs me that I have indeed called the wrong number and kindly points me in the right direction.

"Thank you for choosing Dell, have a great day!"

The second phone number puts me in touch with an overly soft-spoken man whose name I believe was Raif but I cannot be sure. He asks me for my Service Code, my phone number, my laptop edition, my name, my postal code, my email address and then tells me that he thinks that my hard drive is the problem. Unimpressed, I ask him to quantify "think" and am told that yes, blue screens usually signify a faulty hard drive, and if I would like to run some tests to be sure that is the issue he can give me (yet another) phone number where - for a nominal fee (?!!) - I can get further customer support.

"Thank you for choosing Dell, have a great day!"


I asked if this means I will lose all of the information on my hard drive (a Bachelor's degree worth of papers and essays, 4 years worth of photos from trips to half a dozen countries, etc.) and Raif says "maybe, it depends". That and "your warranty expired September 2008 so you will have to pay for your new hard drive."


Mr Blue Screen appears to be winning this battle. He is a far more worthy adversary than previously thought. I cannot describe how upset I will be if all of my items are irretrievable. If this has ever happened to you, I am dreadfully sorry because it truly is a horrific ordeal.

Hang in there, my little laptop! Hang in there! We can get through this!

No comments:

Post a Comment