Sunday, August 27, 2006

My Sister's Computer Trouble

Earlier this month, my family got my sister a new computer. She needed to get one because her school, Northern Illinois University, made it a requirement to have at least Windows XP on a computer on their network. We got her a pretty nice HP computer with Windows XP Media Center edition on it (apparently, it's hard to find Win XP Home nowadays). She had been using and enjoying her computer at home since she got it.

She went back to school on Saturday. I couldn't go with her and the family because I had to work. My sister had gotten used to her new computer and knew how to hook it up. I assumed (and hoped) that things would go well without me. Unfortunately, they didn't.

NIU's network uses a program called Clean Access Agent in order for students to go online. This program conflicts with Norton security software. Like my computer, my sister's computer came preinstalled with some Norton software. She decided to uninstall the software from her computer before trying to get online at school. When she did, some type of error happened and her computer shut down. When she restarted it, she found out that her Windows was suddenly messed up. It wouldn't load at all. The PC recovery function on her hard drive didn't work. To make matters worse, her computer did not come with recovery CDs. HP, like other manufacturers, makes you burn your own recovery CDs, which she didn't realize she had to do. [Note: I feel really guilty about not making sure that she did this since my computer was the same way.]

I found out about all of this when I got home from work. I called her up and we decided to call the tech support at HP and Circuit City (we bought a protection plan on the computer). HP told her that it was the hard drive and said that Circuit City should fix it. When I talked to Circuit City to get them to come out, they told me that because the computer was still under the manufacturer's warranty that HP had to deal with the repair. I ended up leaving home to go to a movie but my sister told me that she would call HP and tell me what happens.

All of this reminds me of the crap I went through when I bought my first computer. Within my first quarter at NU, my hard drive, motherboard, memory, and floppy disk drive were replaced due to a startup issue with my computer that never went away. It got to the point where I got so many repairs that Best Buy had to give me a new PC. That PC is the one I recently replaced and it's still working today.

It's really sad that my sister has to go through this type of drama. Her classes start on Monday and as any college student knows, it's hard as all hell to do anything there without a computer. I really hope that this can get resolved as soon as possible. My sister suffered through a spyware-infested Windows ME computer with only 64 MB of memory for years and she deserves a computer that will actually work for her. I'll let you know what happens.

: HP is going to send my sister a box so that she can send back her computer and get a replacement.

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