Oh Woe!

Two weeks until Diwali, three weeks left in London, five weeks left in the UK, a little over four months until I get home and the speakers on my laptop have finally upped and died 😦

The problem began about a month ago – the sound started dropping out whenever I opened the screen to anything beyond 90º, now they won’t even go at 20º … thankfully the headphone jack still works so if anyone coming to the Diwali dinner has some speakers that have a mini stereo jack (that’s the end bit like your headphones and it’s got two little black rings around the metal bit that you plug in), could you bring them with you please?

My ‘puter (a Dell Inspiron 700m) has started the slow decline towards laptop senility. The battery has died (it’s now always plugged in) and I’ve got about 8GB of memory left …

So it looks like I’m in the market for a new laptop. I need something small and lightweight with lots of memory as I’ll be doing a lot of sound editing on it (did I mention I’ll be podcasting next year?) … of course I could import a new battery from the US, buy decent headphones and perhaps sort out something about the memory … but while I’m dreaming about these things, do you have any recommendations?

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7 Responses to “Oh Woe!”

  1. Seriously? Import a battery? Just buy a new one. 😉

    Mine is dying too. While I don’t need to do fancy things on it, I like one that doesn’t spontaneously shut down on me.

    Sigh. I’ve been thinking of a Mac. But… I dunno.

  2. Huh, spontaneously shutting down? Handy! My laptop before this one used to display the blue screen of death every couple of days …

    Have been thinking about a Mac too – will have a play on Sophia’s one in Singapore and let you know how it goes.

  3. My laptop just kicked it, too – and I’m looking at MacBooks for the next time ’round. If you can run Windows XP on them, there’s really no downside left to having a Mac…plus, they’re pretty, and lightweight, and if you actually compare the specs, hardly any more expensive than a similar PC type thing.

    By 8GB of memory left, I take it you mean on the hard drive? If you’ve got 8GB of MEMORY in that thing, it should scream along!

  4. You’d thing it would be, but no, I’ve slowed down considerably and in the last couple of days the ‘t’ key is being a bit temperamental … sometimes it goes sometime it doesn’ …

  5. I am a technical analyst here at Dell headquarters in Texas. I wanted to see if there was anything I could do to help.

    If audio is still working through the headphone jack, then it sounds like the speakers (or the wires from the motherboard to the speakers) are the cause of the problems. If the system is still in warranty it should be a simple matter to get them replaced.

    For the keyboard, either something is under the key-cap for the T key, keeping it from pressing down properly, or it is failing and the keyboard needs to be replaced (a relatively simple thing to fix if you have experience working on computers).

    As for the remaining hard drive space (like Catto, I assume you are referring to the available space on the C drive), there are a few things you can do to try and clean that up.

    1) Empty the Recycle Bin, Temporary Internet Files, and the Deleted Items portion of your email client.
    2) Uninstall any programs you have installed that you no longer use.
    3) Delete or copy to CD/DVD any files you have created that you either don’t use anymore, or do not make changes to. When you need to use one of those files, just put the disk back in the system, so you can use the files but they don’t take up hard drive space.

    Those three steps (especially the first two) should free up a decent amount of space on the drive. The absolute worst case scenario is that you could back up your data, wipe the hard drive clean, and then reinstall Windows using the Windows XP and Dell Drivers & Utilities CDs the computer shipped with. This is a bit drastic, but can sometimes be the best course in the long term.

    Unfortunately, since you are not in the US I am not able to do more than provide information. However, if needed I will be more than happy to have someone (assuming you are still in the UK) from our UK support group get in contact with you.

    Larry
    Dell Customer Advocate

  6. Larry – you rock! Really, thanks for taking the time to help …

    Sadly my dear little engine is almost four years old so well out of warranty and I’m afraid you’re right about the drastic solution (I have already tried your other suggestions a while back and that hasn’t worked) – but all of my software is sitting back in New Zealand and I won’t be there for a little while yet. It may well be time for an upgrade …

    But dude, gold star, triple points and good karma to you for caring!

  7. Yeah, if you have already tried the usual deleted-stuff-to-make-space then a format-reinstall is probably what it will take to get things working properly again. This I can say from personal experience with my notebook I bought in ’99. When you do the reinstall make sure to get the latest drivers from the Dell support website (support.dell.com). If you have any questions on which drivers you need just let me know, or call/email/chat into regular tech support and they can give you the drivers and their installation order as well.

    And thank you for the thank you. While our goal is to go out and help people, my team and I always appreciate getting responses like this. It really makes the job worth doing. 😉

    Larry
    Dell Customer Advocate

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