Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Computer woes just got worse

A month ago I wrote a post about problems with this computer and my plan to replace it with a new one. I didn’t stick with my plan. I should have. Instead of having a desktop built here in Chiclayo I bought a laptop in Miami. It’s a Dell Inspiron 15 7000 series. One of the features that sold me is the two-way option that allows me to position it with the keyboard behind the screen, so I can use a wireless remote keyboard and mouse. I bought it at Best Buy, where the ‘geek squad’ people set it up and also installed a permanent (as opposed to subscription) version of Office. When I tried it in the store I commented that start up was slow…the Dell emblem appeared, disappeared and reappeared and a ‘please wait’ message seemed to last for minutes. The technician said “That’s Windows 10.”  

Back at the hotel everything worked fine…email, Excel, Word, the card reader, etc. That situation continued when we returned to Chiclayo – until a week ago.

The slow startup got slower. Then the wallpaper screen started flashing, and the flashing soon progressed to all the screens. Next a message appeared saying “Your PC ran into a problem and needs to be restarted. We’re collecting information and will restart the PC for you.” Then it went into a restart/shutdown/restart loop. It would not respond to the keyboard or mouse. I had to push and hold the power switch for 15 seconds to shut it off. After two or three manual shutdowns a different message appeared saying “Looks like Windows didn’t load properly”, and offered some options to correct the problem, cautioning “you may want to have someone you trust do this for you’. When I read that I knew that 1) I had a major problem, and 2) it was probably beyond my limited ability to deal with. This secession of problems all happened gradually over the course of two days.

I did some internet research and found that many people with similar problems recommend doing a reset, which as I understand it is a complete reinstallation of Windows. There is not agreement among them about whether programs such as Office will be deleted during a reset. I can’t find an English speaking computer technician in Chiclayo and the Spanish speaking technicians do not want to look at the computer because of the language issue. I sent an email to Best Buy explaining the problem four days ago but have heard nothing and don’t really expect to. Seeing no option I decided to try going the reset route, even if I lost Office in the process.

I discovered that I can’t even do that, because at one point in the reset process the system prompts for a password. When the technician was setting up the computer he asked me to enter a password. That password does not work.

As I see it I’m sitting here with no options. Returning to Miami to get it repaired would cost twice the price of the computer. Mailing it is out of the question for many reasons. So I’m typing on this quirky 8 year old machine while 10 feet from me is a brand new laptop with all the bells and whistles that I can’t use until I return to the US to get it repaired, whenever that will be. If anyone reading this has some suggestions I’d appreciate hearing them.


  1. Bring it to the "Fiera Balta" o "Fiera de Electrónica" (if you don't know where is that, got to the cathedral and ask from there). You can get this fixed for 50 soles or less. Stay there while they reinstall the software on your computer otherwise the risk is that they replace some part of the hardware.
    There you can get virtually any software with no licence requirements.
    You did well to buy your computer in Miami, but for the software I do think the best solution is the "Fiera Balta".
    Best of luck.

    1. Hi Marco…thanks for writing and the suggestion. We have found a computer technician who said the problem with my new DELL computer is the hard drive. I think repairing it will have to wait until I get back to the US. The good news is that he refurbished this old desktop by replacing two parts and installed Windows 7. So far I could not be happier with it. Had I thought to do this before going to Miami I would not have bought another computer.