Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Gateway Computer Misadventures Part 1

Note: part 2 might not show up right away because I’m still too close to that part and an argument could be made that part 2 is still in progress.

Upon returning from my Seattle trip my Gateway computer, which at times had sometimes blinked out but recovered due to a display kernel memory error, started giving me frequent memory dumps.  It took me a bit of time to take it to the shop because I misfiled my receipt, and a drive holder at the front slid down in a way that made it appeared to be missing (those two are errors I own up to; the rest I believed I've handled in the best way possible).  During this time I bought an external hard drive, put most of my files there, and did a full restore to factory settings.

Finally I took the computer to Future Shop, where I bought it.  They sent it to their repair people in lanmgley, who may or may not have sent the computer to Gateway themselves. Future Shop made recommendations. It took three weeks for the computer to get back, most of that apparently due to transportation. When I got it back an earlier version of Power DVD was installed than should have been pre-installed, a repair screen was still open, and I almost immediately got another memory dump.

Future Shop told me that the people who did the repairs (which I believed at the time to be Gateway and may still be) had ignored Future Shop’s recommendations (i.e. faulty hard drive), failed to find another problem, and had sent it back with the faulty hard drive and just another factory restore not unlike the one I’d done.  I’ve since learned that Future Shop sends the computer to a repair shop in Langley. If they send the computer to the manufacturer, apparently Future Shop isn’t notified.

Future Shop ordered the drive from Gateway, which was supposed to take 8-10 days, but actually to 19 days. I took the computer back to Future Shop, normally a process that takes a day but took a bit longer because they also did a stress test, which I do appreciate.

At first things worked fine. There has been no further memory dumps so in that sense the computer is working a lot better.  I do think Future Shop’s tech people did the best job they could do given that they were dealing with a computer from Gateway. However, the display kernel error still happens, sometimes movies have artifacts that appear when I play movies (particularly blu-rays) and every so often (mostly when playing blu-rays) the computer freezes. When this happens I have to not only reboot but set the computer checks the hard drive first. Otherwise it tries to find a boot disc in the DVD/blu-ray drive.

According to Future Shop I’m unlikely to be able to get a replacement computer because I don’t have the extended warranty, just the regular one.  They advised me to contact Gateway directly.

My experiences e-mailing Gateway feel like an episode of the Twilight Zone. While I really only contacted them on two different days to date, there are a lot of strange twists and turns there. Many of these are part of the reason I believe that the computer was in fact sent to Gateway during the first repair process My correspondence with Gateway will be the subject of part 2.

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