Crash! There Goes Another Hard Drive

It seems inevitable that after 14 years of owning a variety of computers a lemon surfaces and I must suffer the consequences of another hard drive crash. This is one of the reasons why there has been an interuption in my blog posts. It has been so upsetting that I don’t remember the date of these screens.

Two weeks before leaving Cleveland to make Aliyah, my Dell Latitude 620 crashed and Dell was very quick in repairing and sending it back to me – within 48 hours! They replaced the motherboard and something else, I can’t recall what. I was impressed. I thought I was good to go for a long time. Needless to say, I am not happy that I had to contact them again so soon – and especially for a drive I purchased from them last December. I waited until Michael had an opportunity to run diagnostics before contacting Dell because I hate getting on a chat with someone reading from a script telling me to do something when all I have is a black screen with a blinking cursor!

When all failed, he installed the original 80 GB hard drive that came with the laptop and the system came up (after he installed Windows on it – we had removed it to use the drive as an external storage device). That’s when I got on a chat with them and told them the hard drive was bad. Since we’re now in Israel this was not a simple overnight replacement. They agreed to ship it to my NY mailing address and expected me to return the defective one in the same packaging within 10 days of receipt in NY. Not happening this time of year!

I explained the Jewish national holiday dates to the customer service rep who then sent me an e-mail address for the warranty returns department… bottom line, they extended the deadline and asked that I notify them when it has shipped. However, they won’t let me ship it to them from here! I have to ship it to someone in the U.S. who will then take it to a UPS service center and ship it using the prepaid special label that is the only one they can accept because that’s how their system is set up. You might be wondering why I couldn’t just settle this up with Dell in Israel? Unless you have an International Warranty they won’t deal with you – how does one purchase such a warranty? No response.

The drive arrived at USAMail in NY yesterday and is on it’s way here – hopefully I’ll have it by the end of next week. Then I can start the process of installing EVERY software application from scratch because my Western Digital MyBook backup also failed. It seems that when they replaced it with a new one – it died right after restoring the image to my laptop in June – I didn’t realize it was formatted in FAT32 instead of NTFS (I packed it brand new in it’s original packaging in my luggage and didn’t open it until a few weeks after arriving here – it was a stressful time and I should have been more careful clicking through the setup screens). Windows Vista won’t do a restore type backup in FAT32, so all of my backups are in a format that requires copy and paste – we’re talking tens of thousands of files! I copied them all to our Buffalo LinkStation external drive and plan to reformat the MyBook after I get everything back on the laptop.

I’ve been bouncing back and forth between Yisrael’s and Michael’s laptops when the opportunity presents itself. I set up a user account for myself and thought I could easily install my Microsoft Outlook backup. Ironically, September 11th turned out to be my last valid Outlook back up but when I open it, it attempts to download over 5000 messages and gets locked up. I hate Office 2007! What was Microsoft thinking when they created a new user interface that doesn’t provide us with the same functionality we had in previous versions? You can no longer go into each e-mail account and check/uncheck the box to stop popping mail for that account. If I could do this, I might be able to bring down each account separately and export it to use in multiple accounts thus cutting down the size of my Outlook.pst file. It won’t even let me stop the process of bringing down mail at all. If I disconnect from the Internet, it still locks up because it’s trying to connect. And it no longer has an Outlook file repair function that I’m able to locate. If anyone out there has a fix for this, please let me know – Microsoft’s website was not helpful.

In the meantime, my webmail isn’t functioning! I should be able to access it from anywhere in the world, however, I keep getting that obnoxious Internet Explorer error indicating the page cannot be displayed. I contacted HostGator Support (my Internet Presence/E-mail Provider) last week and they were suffering from the hurricane… I gave them a few days to correct the situation but never heard back. When I contacted them on Monday, I was told that it was a packet issue and they finally corrected it. I logged on to one of my 30 e-mail accounts and it worked – I was happy. Then I tried the next and it didn’t work 🙁 I opened another ticket and am still waiting.

:crazy: :crazy: :crazy: :crazy: :crazy: :crazy: :crazy: :crazy: :crazy: :crazy: :crazy: :crazy: :crazy: :crazy:

But wait – that’s not all! Jessica’s Dell Vostro 1500 laptop that was purchased in April has gone back for repair FOUR times! It started out with intermittent sound failure, a problem that seemed simple enough to repair… make sure the sound card is installed correctly, the speakers are functional, and if not, replace them. The laptop was returned to her with a note that claimed it had been repaired. Now the sound system didn’t work at all. So she shipped it back again. And again!

The 4th time they returned it to her, the CD drive was jammed. When she managed to pry it open, it had a CD in it labeled “NHAT”. She put it in another computer to see what it was and it’s some sort of Dell instructional CD teaching how to attach a monitor. Additionally, the CD drive is missing when she opens My Computer.

Fed up, she renewed her chat sessions with them and they agreed to send her a new laptop. Success finally – or so she thought. To her dismay, Dell didn’t send her a new Vostro 1500, they sent her the new (but not improved) 1510 model. The 1500 is no longer available. The 1500 has:

  1. an S-video port, the 1510 doesn’t.
  2. an eject button on the DVD player, the 1510 doesn’t and we’re concerned that if the system fails software CDs would be trapped.
  3. external DVD sound, play and fast forward/rewind controls, the 1510 doesn’t.
  4. a 9-cell battery and the 1510 arrived with a 6-cell (which cost $100 upgrade when the 1500 was purchased).
  5. a comfortable touch pad, the 1510’s are smaller.

When she complained, here’s the response she received:

Hi Jessica,

Thank you for taking the time to let us know of your concern as well as your feedback regarding our service.

I understand your concern with regard to the replacement made to your VOSTRO 1500 with a VOSTRO 1510. Unfortunately, this is the only system currently in production and shipping that is most alike with your old system.

As much as I wish to request one that is that same as your original VOSTRO 1500, we are no longer manufacturing this model in this line of system.

I understand that this new system is inconvenient to use along with your other peripherals and I again apologize for this.

I would like to ask for your patience and tolerance with the resolution we think is best to resolve your concern.

As per your second question, on why you are being referred to call our Customer care department, you have actually reached the DELL Email Hardware Warranty Support and we provide general troubleshooting steps and technical assistance to all our customers. Our Customer care department, however, handles issues that is mostly about customer service concerns or feedback such as yours.

Thank you for taking the time to read our email.

If you need immediate assistance, you may chat with our online technicians or call us. By chat, please go to To call Dell, dial 1-877-671-3355, select option 3 when prompted. The case number for this interaction is: 611438197.


Dell ID 190049
Technical Sup port Supervisor
Dell Hardware Warranty Support

Our company has purchased 5 Dell laptops in the past year and a half (three of them Vostros) and assumed that the problems with her Vostro 1500 were just a fluke since Dell had always provided us with reliable systems. Now we’re concerned that they have discontinued the model and are providing such poor customer service!


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