We're a little crazy, about science!

New computer issues…

I took this photo right when I got the new laptop.

Well if I’m not a magnet for computer issues I don’t know who is. If it’s not one computer it’s the other. In this case, I had problems a while back with my desktop (here) where the watercooler went bad and my CPU decided it wanted to scream at me anytime I ran the computer, like just turned it on, not doing anything with it. This time it’s my laptop that I’m having trouble with and unlike my desktop, the laptop is my daily use computer so I’m not too happy.

My old laptop was an HP and the thing was a tank. I take good care of my things and it was well loved, but over eight years old. Yep, a dinosaur in laptop years, ironically it still works well! Unfortunately I have been needing something with a little more power than what I had, it was state of the art… eight years ago. Now I’m sure there are cellphones that have more power. The point being I needed a new computer and I got one, being a poor college student, that’s not easy. However, there was a reason I was able to afford it!

Almost two years ago now my fellowship was awarded to me. It was only for two years so I’ve been struggling now to find more funding to finish out my degree, but it came with some benefits! One was some money to cover some travel expenses (ha!) the other was money for a new laptop. I was super excited about this and I spent pretty much a whole year diving into the latest, greatest, and cheapest. I had a budget so I wanted to get the most for my money (or rather my fellowship money).

I settled on a somewhat flashy, but still surprisingly practical Alienware m17 r3. As with my previous laptop I made sure to max out my ram (hint for anyone looking for a laptop with some staying power), but other than that it was pretty much a midgrade version of the laptops they produce. It has a fancy light up keyboard and for like $30 more I could’ve been able to control each key individually. I mean maybe I’m old, but I didn’t see a need for that, so yeah a bit flashy and they have some flashy add-ons, but I’m more of a practical person when it comes to technology.

Any who the problems started almost immediately after I got this nice fancy new laptop. I’ve had it for roughly five months now and every two weeks or so it gives me a bluescreen error. The issue is I cannot for the life of me pinpoint the issue. I’ve reinstalled windows, ran every diagnostic test known, checked the logs, basically did everything I could to figure out what the heck was going on. Nothing I did, and I mean nothing, fixed the issue and it’s such an intermittent issue that I can never tell if I’ve fixed it or if I’ve just been lucky that day.

Friday was the last straw so to speak. I was in my late night zoom class (which I absolutely hate) and my computer decided to freeze and restart. I’ve given up trying to fix it myself so this morning I’ve spent the entire day working with tech support to figure out the issue. Luckily the computer is under warrantee, the bad news is it’s my daily computer so I cannot for the life of me be without it for long. My desktop is NOT a travel size computer!

The tech support people couldn’t figure out much about what was going on too. They had me run the same tests I’ve been running, they installed a bunch of software, reinstalled drivers, etc. Of course, because the problem is so intermittent there doesn’t seem to be a way to trigger it despite my best efforts to do just that while I was speaking to the tech. They think it may be my hard drive, so they are supposedly going to replace it by having someone come out to do the swap. I’m more than a little anxious about this, but I need the computer working and not throwing a fit every few weeks/month.

I don’t know how this will turn out, but I spent good money on this thing so I’m hopeful that it can be fixed and the issues can be resolved. I kind of miss my old computer now, it was slow and I’ve had to take it apart and put it back together several times (like this case!), but it was basically a rock to the end of its life. Okay it’s still alive so to speak, but it’s no longer my daily computer and is living a good life somewhere else now. Fingers crossed I guess that this gets resolved in a good way. I hate dealing with tech support!


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