Yesterday I went to the Asus support centre to pick up my laptop. They’d replaced the keyboard and the front plate, whatever that was, and at last, the S key worked again. I checked that, signed off on the form and took it home. Today, I wanted to do some writing.
I turned it on. It wouldn’t boot beyond a blank screen. I turned it off. I turned it on again. It booted up, and when I plugged the mouse in it told me it needed to download drivers. That was strange; it had been using the same drivers for a year without making any complaint.
I installed the drivers. Windows Explorer crashed without any warning or error, just fading away and not coming back, then the computer froze and finally, in a bid for late 90s nostalgia, the Blue Screen Of Death appeared.
Aghast, I stared at the laptop. Never before had it behaved like this. I’d got used to having a reliable computer that just worked, diligently and reliably, and now I was back to the horrors of 15 years ago.
I rebooted. It went into a series of configuration screens I’d never seen before, and which I couldn’t exit from. I rebooted again.
This time it worked, for a time. It told me I had to uninstall the mouse drivers. When I tried to, it told me the installer didn’t exist and so I couldn’t install them. While peering at this Catch-22 and wishing I could be writing instead, I noticed that my Internet Explorer was magically updated to version 10 (it had been 8 when I submitted it for repairs). While upgraded software is usually nice, unexpected updates and calamitous settings raise suspicions that they’d been fiddling with the computer more than they needed to.
I plugged the mouse back in. The computer crashed, just as before. At least that was reliable.
Our Asus has a year’s warranty, which expires tomorrow. Depending on where you look on Asus’s website, you can purchase an extended warranty within thirty days of buying the computer. Or within a year. Or not at all, if you fail to navigate their labyrinthine website.
My wife will ring them up tomorrow and rage down the phone. It may be as simple as a loose connection (my work Lenovo had mysterious and intermittent problems for a year which turned out to be because the ram chips hadn’t been pushed far enough into their sockets at the factory) but given the missing software and updated internet browser, it feels more like it needs a proper overhaul. This isn’t insurmountable, but with finite funds to divert away from our baby, and only limited time, I would have preferred this not to happen.
At least (touch wood) the remaining devices in our household are reliable. For now…