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My computer died... :(

Old 01-01-02, 01:59 AM
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My computer died... :(

I'm back on my old PC. My new Alienware died. I installed a critical update pack for XP Pro and I installed the latest official Detonator drivers and on a reboot, Windows came up and then gave me a BSOD. When I tried to restart it said my \windows\system32\setup\system (I think that's it) file was missing and windows couldn't start. I tried using the Repair Console to fix it, but it didn't work... Alienware says that because I've had the computer for 35 days they won't take it back. Their policy is to only take it if it's been 30 days or less. Bastards. Serves me right for going with RAID. Stupid me. Happy New Year.
Old 01-01-02, 02:02 AM
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Sorry to hear that. Sounds like Murphy's Law strikes again. Can't you just do a clean install?
Old 01-01-02, 04:17 AM
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I don't want to lose all my data... I'm just trying to figure out how to copy my data and info to another disc - I think I got that covered. The problem is that Alienware doesn't want to take it back. I have had nothing but problems since I got it and I did 3Dmark and my score came up around 3000 and when I looked at similar configured computers online, their scores were all between 5000 and 8000. I changed the settings and my score was 7000, but everyone else was 8000 to 10500. I'm unimpressed and want them to take it back and give me one that works. grr... 12 hours on the phone and no results.
Old 01-01-02, 04:35 AM
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that definitely is SUCK! But knowin you, you'll have it up again in a day or so restored/repaired or something. Bet you'll get something to work. And if not, I bet your backup pc is probably some rockin' beast anyway But still does suck about alienware. How's their reputation? others have troubles too?
Old 01-01-02, 04:41 AM
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Hey, you're a computer consultant, right? Chalk this up to some forced continuing education.
Old 01-01-02, 06:35 AM
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Man, Trigger, that sucks.
Old 01-01-02, 09:10 AM
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Trigger,can you please post specs. of the Alienware. Thanks..
Old 01-02-02, 04:24 AM
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Originally posted by dta316
Trigger,can you please post specs. of the Alienware. Thanks..
AMD Athlon XP 1900+
512MB DDR Ram
Gigabyte Mobo
GeForce3 Ti500 64MB DDR
Promise Raid Controller
Dual 60GB Seagates in Raid-0
Plextor 24/10/40
Samsung 16X DVD
Soundblaster Audigy Platinum
USRobotics Modem
10/100 NIC
Hollywood+ Plus DVD Decoder Card
NEC Multisync Flat 22"
Klipsch 5.1 Speakers

Problems I'm having...

Soundblaster won't play 5.1, the center channel won't make a sound during games or movie playback. During the Soundblaster sound check, it'll say "Center Channel" and the sound will come out of the center speaker, but that's the only time. Apart from that, there is always a scratchy sound coming from all speakers when there is sound from a game or movie or mp3. The center channel makes no sound during anything except for the scratchy hiss and pops. Hours spent on the phone with Alienware tech support over this and they had no solution - they were supposed to call me back but never did. I've been on the phone with Creative for hours and they were stumped because the way I had it set up was correct and it should've worked... They were also supposed to call me back and never did. I tried using the Hollywood card as well as the latest version of PowerDVD and nothing worked. Games were a hopeless cause.

The Hollywood card looks like crap. Blurry and soft with the color saturation being very washed out. Terrible image quality basically... so I want to remove that thing. I had an older one in another system and it was about the same but maybe a little better - I thought they would've improved on the image quality. Alienware tech support couldn't fix the problem and were very rude.

The day I opened it, I noticed several things wrong - the case wasn't painted very well... the front cover was colored plastic instead of a painted front faceplate. I don't mind it being plastic, but it was just a colored plastic instead of painted. The metal case was painted, but the paint was a matte finish and on the website the cases look glossy. Mild disappointment there, but the thing is the front bezel and the metal body aren't the same color of blue. It looks bad. In addition - the front door that swings open on the case had a piece broken off so it wouldn't snap shut. It still shut and opened, but it didn't have the mechanism to kinda click shut. I asked for a replacement and they said I had to send that one to them and wait for a replacement or they could charge me for one, send it and refund me when I sent the broken one to them. Weak.

Also - I was supposed to get a Pioneer DVD drive and they sent a Samsung. I was also supposed to get dual Maxtor Hard Drives, but they sent Seagates. Seagates aren't reliable enough to put into a raid config IMHO and I now have proof of that. Seagates are sturdy drives and very reliable, but they also develop bad sectors and such which in normal operating conditions won't be much of a problem but in Raid, it causes big problems. I wanted Maxtor 60GB drives because I know how reliable they are for this application. I also like IBM drives, but I think they are a bit noisy and they take a bit longer to spin up I think. I called them about these issues also the day I got it and their response was basically blowing me off.

And the main problem I'm having now is of course the hard drives crapping out and causing me to lose everything I've done since I got the machine (which is alot). I was able to dismantle another PC and use the hard drives to recover data (and I'm having problems with this if anyone wants to help out) from the Alienware. I feel that this system is a lemon and I want them to replace it with one that works. They say their policy is that they can only replace a defective system within the first 30 days of ownership - I've had it for 35 days, so I'm SOL according to them. That's totally weak. I'm going to try to escalate this matter until I get to the CEO if I have to. If they continue to give me a hassle about this - and we're only talking about 5 stupid days plus the fact that I've been calling with problems unresolved since day one - I'm just going to send it back to them and get the charge to my card reversed. They wanted to send me replacement hard drives as a solution, but that wouldn't solve the other problems. What I want is a new machine - I'm even willing to have them keep the Promise controller out of it and keep the Hollywood card too. I guess as a last resort I'll accept no less than replacement of all parts I think are faulty and the list is: Sound card, Motherboard, Hard Drives, and Case. They can also take back the Promise controller and the Hollywood card and issue me a refund. I didn't want to build a system dammit. Now it looks like I'm going to have to. If you can't understand why I don't want to build it, then just think of it like going to a restaurant... it's nice to do that cuz sometimes food cooked by someone else just tasted better than food you cook yourself... I don't know.

Finally, the thing never was a speed demon. For the specs I have, you would think it would at least keep pace with a similarly configured system... I never run anything in the background and I don't have any TSRs loading up. I don't run a virus scanner or any of that. I ran 3Dmark and it gave me a weak score... much weaker than others with similar systems. I was very disappointed. Perhaps I should've opted for no video card and gotten an ATI Radeon 8500 on my own. My thing with this computer was to not have to build one... it's what I do for a living and I've built a bunch for myself and I just wanted to buy one already made and have all the parts supported by one place and so on - but this experience (not my first either) has been less than pleasant.

I'd say Alienware's ratings from me have been damaged... I'd score their sales department a 10 out of 10 - they are superb people who are a pleasure to deal with and talk to. I score their customer support a 4 out of 10 because they are less than helpful and sometimes rude in that they treat you like you're a 5 year old, but at least you can get on the phone with someone without too much wait. They outsource their tech support and it really sucks. I score their tech support a 1/10 because they are ignorant morons who don't know their ass from a PS2 port. They are also very rude and snippy. I hate them. When I call, I'm pleasant and friendly, but then they start getting all insulting and rude and so I get that way back. I don't deserve to be belittled when I call for help. As for their systems - I still feel they make excellent systems and have good policies on building them and testing them etc... They're a good company - perhaps too small for their own good because they certainly act like a huge corporation like Dell. I've had less frustrations dealing with Dell. Micron for a long time had stellar tech and customer support... too bad they're fading away.

Anyway - long post, but I am really upset and maybe I'll consult this when I call them again to go back into battle.
Old 01-02-02, 11:17 AM
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I guessing the option in XP to"go back to the last stable configuration"(or something like that) didn't work for you?

If it is your hard drives that probably won't help, but if it is something you installed it may! I installed a EZ CD Creator yesterday which killed my computer. A screen offering me 3 options(basically the "safe mode" screen) popped up whith the option to "go back" so I did. Once back I unistalled EZ CD Creator and it is working fine again.

Never buy from Alienware again, I have been hearing alot of stories like this recently
Old 01-02-02, 11:39 AM
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Normal method for reinstalling NT / XP may work for you.

pop in the installation cd, go thru the installation method, choose install new copy, and install it into a bogus directroy like winty.
Then you should be able to load XP.NT and it won't overwrite your data.

Then you can use the burner or any other method, to offload datafiles, new cheap HD etc...

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