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My Rebuilt Netbook

Lesson Learned

Two weeks ago, on 20 Apr 2010, my netbook crashed. I don't know why, but it was a hard drive failure. Suddenly my netbook was completely useless, unable to boot Windows. I only had it six months.
My director had to call Dell's Korean Service Center. Coincedentally, I was planning on going to Seoul that weekend (24-25 Apr 2010), where their service center is located. So, first thing I did when I got into Seoul was drop off my netbook. I was hoping that they'd be able to back up all the files in the untroubled sectors, but I was told they couldn't. I suspect, though, that they instead wouldn't. Ugh, the language barrier between me and the tech clerk (and with my director over the phone) just makes in impossible to ask some truly technical questions using proper technical English.
For example, a few months ago I went shopping for an external DVD drive. I would go to the stores and ask for a "DVD drive", but none of the Koreans knew the term. Didn't matter, none of the stores I visited across Masan had an external drive. So, I had to buy one on Amazon and have my mom ship it to Korea... Hey, $150 plus shipping for a small, light-weight Blu-ray drive (though software you have to buy separately) is not bad.
Anyway, the people at Dell would replace my hard drive free (thank you warranty) within the week. Only problem was that Windows would be in Korean. My director told me the day before I came, after he talked to Dell on the phone, that they could get an English hard drive from America, though it'd take two weeks. But I'm standing there at their Service Center in Seoul and suddenly they're saying they can't, or won't. Again, the language barrier is preventing me from unleashing my frustrations angrily upon the clerk. And my frustrations were increased as I was quite upset with the fact I had just lost all my vacation pictures from the last six months from across Korea and China, plus pictures from Disney World in February, and the travel info I gathered and all the other standard info people save on their computers...
They said they'd fix it by Wednesday, but I got their completion notice on Monday, quick. Only problem now, Dell won't ship it down to Masan (at the far end of the small country) for fear it'll break en route, meaning that I would have to go pick it up in person. So I went ahead and bought train tickets for that weekend to go to Seoul to pick up my netbook. Then I'm told they're only open every other Saturday... Well, I could still go and get it Monday morning before catching a mid-morning train to work (a perk of not having to start work until mid-afternoon). Well, the Service Center opens at 10:30 Monday and the latest train I could catch and still get to work on time would leave Seoul at 10...
That's right, though it took them only a half day to fix my netbook Monday morning, it would take me two weeks of waiting before I could go back to Seoul to pick it up... Well, on the upside, I got two weeks to re-realise why I hate my old laptop (6yo, ancient in the techno world) and why I bought a new computer.
So I go to Dell's Service Center yesterday and got my netbook. I turned it on while I was there so that I could immediately get to work reinstalling all the necessary software and updates that were on the last harde drive. To my surprise, Windows was in English! Also to my surprise, they charged me 49,000원 (like $45) for them to install Windows... I wanted to protest, but I decided to see it as a surcharge to get English instead of Korean.
Silly me (in a slightly drunk run to the train that morning I must admit), I left my external DVD drive back in Masan so I couldn't install Microsoft Office or the other software that came with my netbook. I also needed the Windows CD to install the East Asian language files, which I need as I am in East Asia. I really lucky that I had bought my external hard drive before my netbook crashed or this computer would still be a rough shell, not the computer I bought seven/eight months ago.
Now back in Masan, I spent much of today reinstalling the various software. I was surprised to discover that Dell had not installed all the basic device drivers I needed. Like my netbook doesn't have a light to show when the Caps Lock is on, it uses software to show when the setting's changed and that was not installed by Dell this time around. To my surprise (getting a lot of those), Dell Dock was not on any of the CDs, but I could simply download it from Using Dell Dock in conjunction with Windows's Start Menu, I have absolutely no need for the Desktop. Though I suppose the Start Menu itself rendered the Desktop obsolete when introduced in Windows 95, though most people still don't seem to realise that. Of course, I'm sure the creators of the Dell Dock got the idea from Windows Vista... but that's just an advanced version of Windows 98's Quick Link toolbar. The Desktop as a place to keep my files/folders has been replaced by My Documents.
So, as I mentioned above, I've lost my vacation pictures from the past six months and a week in February... Sadly, this means lots of entries will be posted on my blog from the last six months without any pictures. But, on the upside, I should be able to update my blog more often than usual. In this whole ordeal, I learned a valuable lesson: keep your important files backed up. I have DVDs I can load with my pictures (though I'll have to buy software) and I'm looking into Google's Picasa service to keep them in the cloud (it's like putting your money in a bank).
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9 May 2010