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  1. #1
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    What's Wrong with Windows Computers

    Or is it just a run of bad luck? I have been using PCs at work and home since 1994 and have been an avid fan of them and technology in general.

    Enjoyed using XP, Vista and really liked Win 7. Then due to an accident I had to replace my Win 7 computer with a Win 8.1 laptop in November of 2014. The first one was an Acer that had so many issues out of the box that I returned it to Best Buy within the week. The replacement was a Dell laptop which had and still has chronic issues with the touchpad. Despite driver changes and a replaced touchpad tap to click still turns itself on constantly and only a restart will fix the problem. Win 8.1 in my experience was far worse than any version of Windows I had used previously. I have since upgraded that machine to Win 10 and glad I did as the OS is a much better experience but 10 didn't fix the touchpad issue.

    In December of last year we added a Microsoft Surface 3 running Win 10 and it was a disaster. MicroSD cards would not stay mounted, it frequently required forced shutdowns and finally it simply quit functioning and would not boot in any mode. In the course of trying to resolve the issues I experienced the least customer centric service I have experienced courtesy of Microsoft. So much so, that I will never own another piece of hardware from them if I can avoid it. Luckily since I bought it from Costco I was able to get my money back and move on.

    We replaced the Surface with a Lenovo 700 Ideapad and we are very happy with the form factor, screen, keyboard and its operation. We have had it since March. It frequently has the problem of "plugged in, not charging" which Lenovo has no solution for other than sending it in to be repaired which I haven't done. It seems that plugging it into a different outlet seems to fix the problem and it seems that despite that warning the battery charge level never drops. Also the screen seems to have an issue in that when on a solid black screen there is a cloudy white area in the lower middle part of the screen. Since the only time I see that black screen is on boot up we simply live with it. It also loses most of the icons on the taskbar for no apparent reason. The only fix for that is a restart of Windows Explorer.

    We just end up keeping these computers and make the best of a poor situation and work around the issues or simply live with them.

    So, I'm curious, is this normal now for computers?

  2. #2
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    I believe most of these problems are the result of poor quality control forced upon the manufacturers by the necessity of cutting production costs.

    Good QC takes intervention by trained people and these people cost money. With the automated assembly used now, most of the products will turn out OK and it is cheaper to replace the defective ones under warranty than test all of them.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by nate01pa View Post
    I believe most of these problems are the result of poor quality control forced upon the manufacturers by the necessity of cutting production costs.

    Good QC takes intervention by trained people and these people cost money. With the automated assembly used now, most of the products will turn out OK and it is cheaper to replace the defective ones under warranty than test all of them.
    That makes sense. I would say that makes the case for Apple. However, the only Apple product I own is an Ipad which is not without its problems. In fact the only devices we own that have been pretty trouble free are the two android phones we own.

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    Personally I refuse to accept such problems as normal. And I believe it is important to not quietly acquiesce; doing so literally normalizes poor quality for the manufacturers and retailers. Let them get away with it and many will sink into a morass of mediocrity and junk.

    You cannot 100% stop it of course. I had a memorable experience back in the early 90's (corporate IT support). An entire shipment of monitors were lemons. Great specs, good price, and the early experience of using them was very promising. Then one by one, the image quality on them went down the literal and metaphorical tube. We sent every one back, and most of them got fixed several times. Except the problems always returned.

    And that's just one story. There are lots more.

    Even decent hardware though, eventually begins to fail. Once it's out of warranty and beyond a certain age, you are usually better off trying to live with the problems. Assuming you can of course.

    But brand new stuff? There's no excuse.

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    For the correct battery state to show, the battery may need recalibrating but if the machine is plugged into the AC then there shouldn't be any discharge on the battery, although it's reckoned that it does get used and is in a perpetual stage of being topped up.

    There is a section in this article on that - http://batterycare.net/en/guide.html

    As for the system tray icons disappearing, is there anything in Event Viewer recorded for when this occurs.

    The icon cache can be rebuilt to see if that resolves the problem -

    http://www.howtogeek.com/232779/how-...in-windows-10/

    http://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/5...dows-10-a.html
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2016-06-10 at 05:27.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcgc50 View Post
    is it just a run of bad luck?...is this normal now for computers?
    Bad luck, not normal. I've been using personal computers for nearly 40 years, and the reliability, stability, and ease-of-use of hardware and software has steadily improved. I've had 3 motherboards blow in that time, two of them were a month apart--so it goes like that at times. But as Nate said, most of the products will turn out OK.

    Quote Originally Posted by jcgc50 View Post
    I would say that makes the case for Apple
    Apple's gear is made by the same companies which make everyone else's gear, so you shouldn't expect it to be much worse or better. Afaics the extra money Apple make on their products goes into marketing, product appearance, and the bank, rather than other areas of the business.

    If you have to use laptops and want the best probability of trouble-free good stuff, then you need to look at the premium brands above Lenovo or Apple. The Alienware desktop replacement I bought second-hand 3 years ago is still going strong--being second-hand, I got it for the same price as a new Apple, great value.

    Other companies at the laptop high-end are Razer, Digital Storm, Aorus, Velocity Micro, BOXX Technologies, Maingear, Chillblast, Puget Systems, Schenker, Falcon Northwest, AVADirect, and Origin--while Panasonic specialize in rugged models. Generic companies which have premium models which might be good enough are your Lenovo, Dell, Acer, MSI, Apple, Toshiba and Asus. Unless you need some bleeding-edge performance, you will find best value 1 or 2 generations behind the latest of the premium brands.

    I never used the touchpad, but there are alternatives like a joystick built into the keyboard or a trackball.

    Laptops are constrained by size and mobility needs, so they're never going to match a desktop at the same price. You're stuck with relatively lower performance, reliability etc unless you go high-end.
    Lugh.
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    Lugh, appreciate the info. Most of the brands you mentioned I have never heard of, so, glad to learn something new.

    Given our work environment touchpads are the best alternative or whatever is built into the laptop. The Lenovo TP works flawlessly. But, regarding the Dell touchpad problem plugging in a mouse works fine it just isn't practical most of the time.

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    jcgc50, it's possible you are just cursed.

    It's true that electronics have become a disposable commodity, much like everything else has. It's true that production volume now far outstrips the ability of QC to keep up. It's true that the result of this is that the number of failures is going to increase. But in my experience, it doesn't seem to show up as much as you might expect.

    Electronics just seem to work and pretty much keep on working. They are more likely to suffer from technological extinction than product failure. Batteries are still a weak link and are likely the first thing to fail and can be expensive to replace.

    As for Microsoft product support, I will admit to have had my share of problems with most software support and MS is no different. But from what I have seen of Surface support, it is better than what I would expect to get from most hardware vendors.
    Graham Smith
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    gsmith. Perhaps I am cursed. I have started another thread with what appears to be the beginnings of a failure of the hard drive on my 1.5 year old Dell laptop.

    My experience with Surface support was in a class by itself when it comes to a customer support failure. I won't bore you with the details.

    With the exception of my experiences with computers since November 2014, I would have agreed with your assessment regarding the state of computer reliability.

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    It just seems like there's a longevity issue with a lot of Windows machines. This could be based on my own experiences and be nothing more than anecdotal evidence, I honestly don't know. But it just seems like there's a degradation in performance that happens on a sharper curve than it should. Hardware issues, HDD issues.. things just seem to pop up and create problems so quickly. With all the technological advances we've made you'd think this would happen at a much slower rate.. but I guess if it did, we wouldn't keep buying new machines as often. :/

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    IMO, this is primarily a result of the never ending pressure on OEMs to produce the cheapest machine possible. Beginning with netbooks and continuing ever since you see cheaper components being used by all the OEMs. All of them chase the lowest possible component and assembly costs as they have conditioned the buying public to expect lower prices than can be charged and still make a reasonable profit.
    Joe

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    FWIW, I used to build my own computers (for myself and my business) because I could choose what components I wanted and it was invariably cheaper.

    At some point in the past, I switched to Dell Business computers (PowerEdge server, Optiplex desktop and Latitude laptop). They tended to be more expensive, but they had long warranties and really were better made than almost anything else I could purchase.
    Graham Smith
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeP517 View Post
    IMO, this is primarily a result of the never ending pressure on OEMs to produce the cheapest machine possible. Beginning with netbooks and continuing ever since you see cheaper components being used by all the OEMs. All of them chase the lowest possible component and assembly costs as they have conditioned the buying public to expect lower prices than can be charged and still make a reasonable profit.
    In theory the solution to that would be voting with our wallets, as the saying goes. However, that doesn't seem to matter. Two of the computers I bought, in part, because the Dell and Lenovo got relatively good ratings, and yet, they have failed to meet expectations.

    At this point, I continue to use PCs because there are programs that I can't duplicate on a Mac. However, I would consider switching to a Mac and installing a Windows OS to use the few programs that I need. That said, my experience with my Ipad 3rd generations suggests that they may not be any more reliable. If that is the case I certainly don't want to pay a premium price and end up with the same quality.

    It almost seems that there is too great a focus on creating the next new thing and no focus on perfecting what has already been created.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jcgc50 View Post
    It almost seems that there is too great a focus on creating the next new thing and no focus on perfecting what has already been created.
    Sounds like Windows 10!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeP517 View Post
    IMO, this is primarily a result of the never ending pressure on OEMs to produce the cheapest machine possible. Beginning with netbooks and continuing ever since you see cheaper components being used by all the OEMs. All of them chase the lowest possible component and assembly costs as they have conditioned the buying public to expect lower prices than can be charged and still make a reasonable profit.
    I think you're right on the money here. And this goes well beyond just computers, it's how a lot of things are being built now. Things used to really be built to last.. now things are kind of just built to last until the next model is released. A shame but it's how these companies maximize their profit margins.

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