Dell Support

I'm losing faith in Dell Technical Support. I received a new Dell Inspiron 8500 laptop at work about a month ago. It has a really nice, widescreen monitor and a very fast graphics card. Unfortunately, it didn't appear to be working properly. The laptop has a nVidia GeForce 4 4200 Go graphics card. I also use a secondary 18" LCD screen at work that I extend my desktop to. I use the DVI cable to connect it to the docking station for the laptop. I noticed that, after lunch, the second monitor would not power back on. To get the power on, I had to switch the resolution on the driver. This was really weird, so I went to the Dell site and installed the latest BIOS and Driver for the video card.

Well this was a big mistake. The new BIOS and driver combination created a horizontal bar on the laptop screen where the mouse cursor would disappear. Also, when undocked, sometimes the laptop monitor would not come back on. I had to reboot the machine to keep working. This was extremely frustrating, especially when I wasn't sure that I had all of my work saved. I had been wrestling with this for a while. Another friend of mine in the office got a laptop that was a twin to mine. He had several problems as well. If was in dual-monitor mode, and closed the lid of the laptop, the secondary monitor became the primary and he could not get them to switch back. Even after rebooting, it didn't want to use the laptop screen. He had to undock and reboot several times before it came back.

Today, I was able to get to the Dell support forums and look around. I found that there were several people experiencing the same issue. Several people reported the horizontal bar, and lots of people had trouble with multiple monitors. Some people had found that by installing a different driver, the bar was gone, but as soon as you closed the laptop lid, it would come back. In addition, 3D graphics pros were having really bad problems. After reading through nearly 100 posts on the problem, I found that a 17 year old kid in Canada had come up with a solution. Dell had not posted the previous BIOS revision for the card. Lots of people were screaming for them to put it up. So this 17 year old kid found a way to rip the old BIOS out of a machine that had not been updated. He posted the old BIOS to the forum. After installing the BIOS, problems solved!!!

Lots of people have paid Dell for enhanced support. It is really bad when this pay-for support from Dell can't keep up with the free support of a 17 year old kid. I'm very thankful to Ryan Ewen (ReWeN) for posting the fix. Thanks Ryan!


Ryan said...

Hi Jade,

I came across this post years ago when searching for my name on Google (I'm Ryan Ewen!).

I've tried to find a way to contact you in the past but was unable to. I just happened to come by here again and notice that your blog allows comments now.

Anyway I just wanted to thank you for the kind words. I've actually put the URL to this post on my resume :)

Thanks again,

Adam said...

No, thank you! Your fix saved me a lot of headaches, and allowed me to get a lot more work done. I'm glad you can use these kudos on your resume :-)

Anonymous said...

Well it's been probably a decade and I still have this on my resume. Somehow the topic of my old laptop came up and then this blog post came up, so I came back here and noticed that I called you "Jade".

Then I also realized that the name of the blog, the URL of the blog, and your actual name... you're a fan of anagrams I guess!

Adam Jones said...

Ha! Clever as always. I hope you are doing well, and thank you for checking back!

Adam Jones said...

Ha! Clever as always. I hope you are doing well, and thank you for checking back!

Jade Mason