[Note: This recollection of events is part 3 of a series, so to get the complete story, you'll probably want to read part 1 and part 2 first.]
Finally, the technician was here! We recognized the technician from before, when he had come to replace a dead hard drive in the same computer.
Right away, he asked me what the problem was. After I told him, he said he was sure it was the power supply. It just couldn’t be the motherboard. When I told him about how the fans were still running, he said the fans could run even with a bad power supply. I was half amused, half upset, that the problem was the power supply.
After I completed my normal routine of unplugging everything from the back of the computer for the technician, the technician opened the computer and began to rip the parts out of the motherboard at amazing speed. I was in shock, considering how I had spent nearly half an hour about a week ago trying to delicately take a RAM module out of the socket.
As he was replacing the motherboard, my mom asked him whether he advised buying a warranty extension, since the expiration date for this computer’s warranty was days away. Much to our surprise, the technician answered that even he bought extended Dell warranties.
This seemed rather strange. If something went wrong with the technician’s computers, he would be the one repairing them anyway! It turns out he gets a warranty for the parts, not the service. Dell has some proprietary parts in their computers (I, personally, wouldn’t be surprised if they do that on purpose) that are almost impossible to get from anyone but Dell.
I also mentioned that the service representative with whom I had chatted previously had said that the lack of POST beeps must be caused by a loose connection. But the technician disputed that hypothesis by pointing out that the internal speaker was built directly into the motherboard.
After the technician finished installing the new motherboard, he closed the computer and turned it upright. Clang! We heard something fall. The technician put the computer on its side again, opened it up, found the fallen screw, and rescrewed that screw.
He turned on the computer, and the orange light was gone! The computer booted up! (Oh, so it wasn’t the power supply…) Still no POST beeps. Oh well.
The technician entered BIOS setup, set the time, and changed other settings based on my computer’s hardware configuration. He then inserted a CD into the drive and restarted the computer. The CD gave him access to a command prompt, which he used to access a program on the CD. Using the program he then typed in the Service Tag for my Dell computer. And then the program actually changed the stored Service Tag in the motherboard’s memory. Oooohhh…
Then… it was all done! Or so we thought. After a restart, instead of the computer booting into Windows, we were met with a “Blue Screen of Death.” Of course, in the Windows XP-era, a blue screen either means a bad driver, or it means something is seriously wrong… unlike older Windows version where blue screens happen quite frequently.
And then something else surprising happened: the technician had to call Dell technical support to find the answer to the problem.
It turned out that the blue screen was caused by an incorrect hard drive setting in the BIOS. The technician changed that and — whala! — Windows XP booted up just fine. The mystery of the orange light was solved!
Or, again, so we thought. The technician packed up his things and went out the door. I sat down at my computer, clicked on my user account, and began to type in my password. Nothing happened.
I ran out the door after the technician. He came back in and tried to use the keyboard. Nothing. The technician then restarted the computer. And tada! it worked. And this time the technician was able to actually leave.
A few days later…
Okay, I was panicking. I had a BIOS error that said there had been a fan failure! I quickly turned off the computer. I went online and all Dell Chat representatives were busy. Okay, so I called instead. This time I was determined that I would not let them call me “ma’am.” When the representative asked for my name, I said very slowly and with diction, “John Lamansky.”
The representative stammered something like, “Is it… alright if I call you by that name?” I was taken aback by this question, and stammered in return something similar to, “Yes… it’s fine… I mean, please do… call me… that.”
While we continued our conversation, the representative actually seemed to be soothing me by repeatedly saying, “Don’t worry, I’ll send a technician to take a look at it.” And he actually said, much to my amusement, and with much soothingness, “Don’t think about it anymore.” (“Now remember you Dell technicians in India, those Americans are really attached to their computers”)
The last part of our conversation seemed to take forever, because the representative would not stop repeating how everything was going to turn out okay. I was growing very impatient. (“I’ll be okay if you let me hang up!!”)
The same technician came back again. He just couldn’t believe that he had to come back to service the same computer. He guessed that the fan wasn’t spinning up quickly enough at boot-up, which is why I received the error. He did a few tweaks and left. That must’ve done it, because thankfully I haven’t received the fan error again.
The Mystery of the Orange Light:
Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3