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23 January 2009 @ 11:34 am
My Dell Computer Still Sucks  
I'm just whining. Feel free to ignore.

All of the USB devices I have connected to my Dell computer save the mouse and keyboard have stopped functioning. My external drives and printer work for about, oh, 30 seconds, and then disconnect themselves. Same with my iPod and my Palm. The Palm, at least, gives me the error that the USB connection has been lost. I've tried switching around ports, restarting my computer, reinstalling the drivers and software, but I still have the same problem.

And that problem I had when I first bought the computer (the one where it wouldn't start up if anything was connected to the computer)? It's still going on. Every time I restart my computer I have to disconnect everything except the monitor (keyboard and mouse also have to be disconnected).

My guess is that I need a new motherboard. Which I can't afford.

ancient scriptsancientscripts on January 23rd, 2009 06:56 pm (UTC)
Which Dell model is it?

I've had some luck googling for Dell suckness. Having said that, though, my old laptop stopped working with the docking station after a while. I was never able to figure out why.
Caroline: Buffy Knifemusesrealm on January 23rd, 2009 08:08 pm (UTC)
I have a Dimension E521 Desktop PC

I've been to their "help" desk, but can't get very far: after I enter my serial number it asks me which laptop I have, and then tells me that there could be a problem with the docking station. There is not a desktop problem option, and I don't use a docking station, so...

I'm Googled the problem, and besides resetting the BIOS battery (which I've tried, along with disconnecting and reconnecting every single connection to the motherboard), the only other option I've come up with is getting a new motherboard.

I have a computer geek friend who comes up this way every few weeks to visit his mom whom I think will be getting an offer for dinner from me if he'll help me with my computer.
ancient scriptsancientscripts on January 23rd, 2009 11:24 pm (UTC)
Dell's website sucks even worse. The only reason I keep buying Dell is that by now I can fix them myself.

It does sound like a hardware problem. It might not necessarily be your motherboard but the connection between the USB port and the motherboard. I have an external drive (with years of pictures that I can't get to now) that has died me on. It still turns on just fine (you can hear the drive spin up) but its USB port doesn't connect to my computer. I wanted to pry the thing open but it's hermetically sealed. My theory is that the USB connection to the controller got shot.

If you still have free PCI slots in your computer, perhaps you can get a USB PCI card and see if that works.
Chrysta: b&tb- rawr!myras_girls on January 23rd, 2009 06:58 pm (UTC)
That sucks balls!

My desktop is about 3 or 4 years old. Still hanging in there, but I'm starting to think about backing everything up in case components start to go bad.
Caroline: Buffy & Gilesmusesrealm on January 23rd, 2009 08:11 pm (UTC)
Dells just suck.

Everything important is already saved on one of my external drives. But since I can't access the external drives, it's been a bit tough to get to them. Thank goodness for my laptop! It may be slow, but it's reliable (other than the CD drive, but that's a whole 'nother story).
patesdenpatesden on January 23rd, 2009 07:31 pm (UTC)
My Dell laptop's motherboard died while under warrantee. Dell replaced the motherboard, but didn't provide the downloads to get it up and running again--and didn't return my emails. Fortunately, I live in Vermont and my state has a law suit going against Dell because so many Vermonters complained about their service and warrantees. As a Vermonter I can go to the state's website and become a part of the lawsuit--at no cost to me.

What makes me really angry is that when it was working, I loved my Dell.
Caroline: Agamemnonmusesrealm on January 23rd, 2009 08:14 pm (UTC)
My first issue happened about a month after I bought the computer. I bitched about it here, and a Dell service guy came to my house and fixed it a few days later. I think that since emails are private, they don't really get answered. Blogs are much more public, and they can't afford any more bad publicity. I don't wish them ill, but I do want a computer that works.
steamgauge on January 23rd, 2009 08:26 pm (UTC)
Get a powered USB HUB. They're only cheap. Then see if they work better. USB is supposed to be simple, but it can be complicated, what with different versions (1.x and 2.x), 2.x will run 1.x USB devices, but not the other way around. But much of the time it's due to the amount of power required by the devices and how much your PC can provide.

With a powered HUB, put things like printers, scanners, drives, webcam etc. on that. Then for the internal USB connections, leave those for things like keyboard and mouse and basic devices such as temporarily connected camera's for downloading photo's.

Worth a try, and a powered USB HUB can never hurt to have.
Caroline: Babylonian Lionmusesrealm on January 23rd, 2009 08:40 pm (UTC)
That's a good suggestion! I'll be going past Best Buy on my way to Longmont this afternoon, and I might stop in and see what they've got. Thanks! :D
steamgauge on January 23rd, 2009 09:11 pm (UTC)
You're welcome :) You can generally pick a decent one up for around $10, powered and with enough room for seven or so devices. You don't have to worry then about how much power a device needs as a decent HUB will always provide the correct amount.

There are sites out there, though I don't know any off hand. Which let you calculate how much you can safely run on a particular setup without it becoming too much for the PSU. I think MP3 players are known for needing more power because they like to recharge whenever they're connected to a USB port (mine does that), and gives a warning if I try connect it to a regular port as opposed a powered one.