When The Easiest Fix Is To Buy A New One

Working from home has its highs and lows, but a universal point of pain is when your computer decides to freeze and die. Let’s listen in on a real-world scenario from this past weekend involving a Dell laptop, a Microsoft update and freelance writer/editor Carol Kopp. 

When Kopp’s laptop refused to reboot after a forced routine update was pushed on her that she’d been warned will “take awhile,” she set out to find support. Luckily for her, she had an old computer lying around or she’d be forced to travel to the nearest Microsoft store, an hour or more away, where she might or might not receive help. 

Kopp laid it out in an email to the customer service address she found when Googling for Microsoft tech support. Her next option was to ask her question in a Windows 10 forum, for which she was forced to register with a username and password. 

Using the dilapidated old HP, she hit the wrong key and got bounced out of the forum. All her information was erased, forcing her to enter it all over again. When she failed to check the box saying she’d read the Terms & Conditions, she was ejected yet again. 



That’s when she noticed the page did not include Microsoft in the URL and she prayed it was not some malfeasant doing something malicious. While in the forum, she found some other postings with headlines like “Windows 10 broke my computer …” but no remedy for her immediate problem. 

So she turned to the toll-free 24/7 hotline. 

Kopp retold her story, calmly, to a customer support rep in New Delhi who started asking about the condition of her computer and the last time she took it in for servicing. 

“It’s about two years old. I don’t take it in for service like a car. It’s never been to a computer repair shop for any reason. I am not trying to update the computer. Microsoft is trying to update the computer.” 

Kopp was then directed to try to remove the computer’s battery, but that is not an option. Then the rep suggested the update could still be going on, although the screen was not acting that way. 

That’s when the sell began. Kopp was asked to buy a service for $249. When she politely declined the maintenance contract, she was offered a one-time fix for $109. 

It’s not so easy to find the official Microsoft support system but so many scam artists are out In the market there’s actually a link on the Microsoft site to report them. 

On the Microsoft site was a virtual support “person” who returned Kopp to the main screen when she told her that a Windows 10 update just broke her computer. 

Katrina F. then started chatting with Kopp and recommended buying a flash drive and downloading Microsoft 10 to the drive, then reloading it. The next day, Kopp went out for the drive, came back and the computer did not recognize it. 

Her next option is visiting a store or finding some other means of in-person support. Meanwhile, she’s researching new PCs and found a Chrome book for less than $250. Since she now works in Google docs, it might be enough.

“The fact is, computers are so cheap now, if I can’t get it fixed with the free support, I’m better off buying a new one.”

3 comments about "When The Easiest Fix Is To Buy A New One".
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  1. Greg Alvarez from iMeil, September 26, 2016 at 8:07 p.m.

    I can't understand companies (no matter if they are from a century ago or just two months old) insisting with the "intrusive updates". I mean, they should expect the customer to ***do updates*** whenever s/he feels correct.

    I mostly detests the mobile (smartphone) ones, since they seems to be a couple days back-to-back.

    What happened with Quality Assurance activities on these companies? Can't understan why they laucnh a product/service with a lot of bugs or one that have to be updated almost everyday.

    Who is whatching/controlling the activities of soft dev/tech companies, that seems they are free to do as they would like?

    Can't imagine a drug company (like Pfizer) launching a vacine that could kill people by the millions because they didn't apply a good research and development for this product.

  2. carol kopp from self-employed, September 27, 2016 at 8:49 p.m.

    Just an update to Laurie Petersen's story, from the source:

    I spent two days banging away at the Microsoft customer support infrastructure, and this is what I found:

    1) A Virtual Assistant that is comically bad if you're in the mood for it, which you won't be after your laptop crashes. (The company should call it SEARCH, which would make more sense and make fewer promises.)
    2) Phone support, well hidden behind the above Virtual Assistant. These folks seem well-intentioned if you can get to them.
    3) The truly spectacular Microsoft Forums, which are teeming with extremely knowledgeable people who seem to like nothing better than to help people with PC problems. I'm not even sure the company pays them. I think they just love this stuff.

    However, after all of the above my laptop is still inoperable. I'm just not the type of user who has another late-model laptop, or up-to-date backup disks or flash drives ready to go, or who loves tinkering with this stuff for hours. I would argue that I'm in the majority here. Ain't my hobby.

    That means that I have to schlep off to the nearest Microsoft Store an hour away to get my laptop repaired, and probably pay for it. 

    Some of the real-world problems here, for Microsoft users:
    -There are a vast number of businesses and websites offering Microsoft support, for free or for a fee, and it's safe to assume their quality varies greatly. I don't care to test any of them out.
    -Many of the above claim or imply a Microsoft company connection. Be careful when clicking to go to a Microsoft url, or a site that you know to be reliable.

  3. Patricia Friedlander from Word-Up!, October 1, 2016 at 1:36 p.m.

    I had a similar problem. I went on Yelp and found a guy who fixes computers out of his home. For $50, my computer was up and running. Just sayin'.

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