AUSTIN, TEXAS -- This is just a fair warning to anyone considering buying a Dell product. Last year I purchased a laptop from Dell and within a few months had problems with it - spontaneously shutting off, not shutting down, but off like a light bulb, with no warning. Dell support, a whole issue in itself, walked me through a seemingly endless diagnostics routine. Everything checked out fine. We ended up just doing a system restore. They theorized that it was because the computer lid was closed prior to the shut down process completing. This was ridiculous, a total BS guess.
Within a week the computer was up to its same old tricks. If I held perfectly still it might stay on but if I placed the laptop on my lap, of all places, it would shut off at the slightest movement. Back on the phone with Dell CS. They didn't keep any notes from my previous call so I had to start all over again with them. Once I refused to do the diagnostics again they conceded to send me a box to ship it back in. 2 weeks later the box returned and within a few weeks it was back to the same old story. I suffered through this for about 6 months because I just can't afford to be without a computer for weeks. But after a while I can't take it anymore and call them again.
Back on the phone with CS and again, no history. Disconnected me a couple times just to make my experience complete. They resolve to send another box for me to ship it back in but I tell them that I am nearing the end of my warranty and am concerned that I will get it back and within days my warranty will expire leaving me no time to evaluate if it is indeed fixed this time. Here is where it gets important to get it in writing from Dell. The CS tech assures me (more than once as I made him repeat it) that if the same problem persists they will fix it free of charge outside of the warranty.
I send it back and, well, you know what happens next. A few weeks after getting it back it does the same thing but now I am outside the warranty period. But that's OK, right? Because the CS tech assured me they would stand by their product.
Today they told me that they cannot offer me a free repair, not that I even believe at this point that they can repair it or ever even made an honest attempt to in the past. What they can do is refer me to the out-of-warranty repair folks who I can pay to once again fail to repair my computer. If you are thinking about buying a Dell, please, keep shopping. They don't care about you. If your computer breaks while under warranty I seriously doubt that they will make any effort to honestly repair it.
I am a consultant in corporate IT. I prefer to use my own PC on the job, when possible, because I rely on a handful of unusual legacy applications in my work. In July 2011, when a new client indicated that they wanted deliverables in Word 2010 format, I ordered my first Windows7 PC, a "business-only" Latitude E6520 from Dell, with Dell Gold Support, to replace my aging but trusty D830. Because of my lengthy experience with Dell, and in particular with Gold Support, I decided to stick with that brand - even though Dell's model with the required features cost half again as much as similar models from some other makers.
I took care to specify to the salesperson at Dell Small Business that I required a 32-bit operating system because of the legacy applications I run. After a 6-week wait, Dell delivered the PC - unfortunately, with a 64-bit OS. This should have been a minor inconvenience, but Dell managed to turn it into a debacle. I asked Customer Service if they could simply ship me a replacement drive with the correct image - it's a simple matter to swap hard drives. I even offered to pay for the extra drive. No, this was against their policy; I was instructed to ship the PC back and wait another 6 weeks for a replacement - which was out of the question.
Despite escalating the issue to the manager of Customer Service, their best offer (after intense haggling!) was to send me some install disks for the 32-bit system (also against their policy) - and, no driver disk was available. Well, I'd installed dozens of pre-Windows7 OS's on Dells and was always able to download all the necessary drivers from their support site with no problem, so I decided to take them up on the offer.
I purchased a new hard drive identical to the one in the E6520, popped it in and started the setup. But, when I attempted to obtain drivers from the Dell Support site, the drivers it provided for the 32-bit version of my model and service tag were mostly incorrect. Some were for a 64-bit system, while others didn't match the existing hardware devices at all. I blundered through the driver installation as best I could, and then went to a commercial driver site and paid to get more satisfactory drivers. When I tried using the PC at work, a problem appeared that rendered it completely useless; Windows Explorer crashed every 2 minutes.
A Google search showed that this problem was widespread, but nobody had posted a remedy. Dell Gold Support knew nothing about it and could make no sense of the error message I was receiving. I called them repeatedly and spent hours running every possible diagnostic - without success. A high-level tech at Gold Support finally offered to do a fresh remote Windows7 installation, using my disks. The PC was otherwise useless, so I agreed and asked him to let me do the install under his supervision, and then to pull the drivers for me while I watched.
He guessed it would take 1/2 hour for the whole affair... but then he encountered the same driver problems that I had experienced. With his knowledge of the drivers used in similar models, he was eventually able to find serviceable drivers and complete the installation in about 3 hours. The following day I took my PC to the office and promptly discovered that the crashing Windows Explorer problem was STILL THERE.
While experimenting in the office, I discovered that Windows Explorer only crashed when the PC was connected to the Enterprise network. Otherwise, it was rock solid. I finally learned in a tech blog that Microsoft actually had posted a hot fix for this exact problem - **. It worked. Another problem solved.
Next issue: When typing, the insertion point jumped erratically every minute or two. I couldn't type a sentence without having to mouse the cursor back to the correct insertion point. I assumed that this was because I was inadvertently brushing the touch pad during typing. The PC had no touch pad control utility, and not really satisfactory. Utility to disable the touch pad could be found online, so I covered it with a piece of cardboard. This helped somewhat, but the cursor was still not completely stable. A search of the internet found numerous commiserating complaints, but no solutions.
I decided to call Gold Support yet again to see if they knew anything about the cursor issue. This time, the tech guy knew exactly what the problem was... Dell had omitted the touch pad management app and driver from their support site: Dell Touchpad Driver R315893. While we were talking, I searched the site for this driver, and still couldn't find it, so I got the tech support guy to email me a link to it. When I installed it, not only was the problem solved, but I now have the previously missing utility to configure or disable the touch pad.
One final issue - which paled in comparison to the above - was that the audio level on the E6530 was disappointingly subdued. I'm a former orchestral musician, so this really steamed me. My old D830 was great by comparison. Again, searching the Dell support groups showed that dissatisfaction with the E6530's audio was widespread, the IDT sound card's simple on/off toggle offered no solution, and Dell Gold Support claimed to know nothing about it.
Thank heavens, some charitable soul posted the solution; there is ANOTHER audio control simply entitled "Sound", inconspicuous and not mentioned in Dell's literature, that allows you to configure the playback properties of your speakers and headphones. The sound level is still rather weak, but at least I can hear it now. After the PC was finally serviceable - more than 2 months from the time I received it - a Dell Customer Service person started calling and emailing me to try to patch things up and close my service ticket. The lady who called me repeatedly was nice enough, but couldn't begin to understood the technical issues. Sad.
I have 4 questions which I believe are reasonable and salient: Why couldn't Dell have simply swapped the hard drive for me? They surely had one with the correct image on hand. It seems their "policy" was specifically to NOT provide urgently needed service. If I and the Gold Support tech had the same driver issues on two consecutive installs - more than 6 weeks apart - this was clearly a problem that other corporate Dell users were having. Why didn't Dell (or Dell Gold Support) escalate the problem when I first reported it, and correct their site? And why couldn't they provide a driver disk, like most other manufacturers?
BTW, the Customer Support lady who kept calling me after I was up and running adamantly denied that there was ever anything wrong with the driver site, right down to our last conversation, although I'd given her the Gold Support tech's name and location. If the crashing Windows Explorer problem is sufficiently widespread on Dell corporate model laptops to have required a Microsoft hotfix, why didn't Dell even know about it? Finally, what kind of manufacturer would deliver these high-end PCs configured so unsatisfactorily? What were they thinking?
At one point in my career, I oversaw tech support for a chain of PC stores, so I had the requisite technical background to eventually get this PC working. But what are Dell purchasers supposed to do who aren't technical - or can't afford to invest the countless hours I spent? In retrospect, my allegiance to Dell was ill-advised. When I purchase my next PC, I will base my choice on price, repair record and reported customer satisfaction, without regard to brand.
HELL TOWN INDIA, KANSAS -- Two-month-old top of the line Dell Windows 8 Touch laptop started running slower than old junk laptop and locks up. Have to wait a minute or two for touch to wake up after changing pages. Called and technician piggy-backed in and cleaned temp files. Then I ran diagnostics and found 689 registry errors. Dell offers free online diagnostics, but wants 59$ to run auto fix? This is on a NEW top of the line Touch Windows 8 laptop with a YEAR of warranty remaining. What money mad inferior product pushing **!
HOUSTON, TEXAS -- I have called number after number from the web for Dell and I always get someone in Manila. I did not know when I purchased a Dell product that it was not American. When I have a problem I don't want to compound the problem by meeting head-on with someone that barely speaks English and then I have to struggle to make myself understood.
I think before a product in the United States of America a person should be told that the product is not serviced by an English speaking and understanding and thinking American, bred and born. I will never in this life purchase another DELL PRODUCT. Where is your American loyalty? Americans need jobs but you take American dollars and pay wages to foreigners and this is not okay. Companies like yours should not be allowed to do business in the United States.
WOLVERHAMPTON, WEST VIRGINIA -- I bought my DELL laptop in 2008. Since I bought it never worked properly, I have spent £180 on it and it still gives me blue screen unexpected window shutdown problem. I called customer service because had a window update problem regarding window Vista service pack1, answer was update is free but have to pay for service. On the other hand Norton antivirus helped me free for 2 days to sort Dell problem. Never Ever recommend DELL.