My computer crashed yesterday. A complete crash. I just bought the computer in December of last year. The computer is four months old. I have a Compaq Presario SR5250NX. I’m not sure why it crashed. I downloaded Apple’s Safari for Windows yesterday to see if it really was faster than Firefox as it claimed. After the installation my computer slowed to a crawl. I ran the scan and that didn’t fix the problem. After talking to my son and one of his friends they told me to delete Safari, they knew others who had had the same problem. Son asked why I would want to use anything other than Firefox. I told him I had been using Internet Explorer since the 90’s and was so pleased with Firefox that maybe I was missing other options in the land of browsers. He said get rid of it. I went to uninstall the program and got rid of it having never even tried it.

My computer was still running really slowly. In Word I typed but it took a good minute for the letters to appear on the screen. I couldn’t work like that so I figured I needed to restart my computer for the uninstall to take affect. When I restarted the computer it sent me to a screen that told me I needed to look for a fix to a problem that was all numbers and letters. I clicked on the fix button and the computer told me it may take over an hour to repair the problem and the computer would restart several times. I left the computer to do what it needed to do and took a walk. When I returned it was still restarting. I asked my son to take a look and he ended up back at the same screen giving only one option but to fix it. He went into command prompt and tried to see what was going on. My son is a genius when it comes to computers. I have complete faith in his ability to fix the problem and not create more problems.

He was unable to fix it or even get out of the “click fix” screen. This was 9pm our time. We called Hewlet Packard/Compaq. My son told them who he was and verified my information. He and the tech person who happened to be a woman with a thick accent tried a variety of different things. Nothing worked. There was a status 7 or something like that on every short test and long test. The woman said there was nothing we could do, the computer had completely crashed. She said that they, HP, would ship me a new hard drive that I could install. My son said he could easily take care of that. The woman then said that she had to transfer us to her case manager or someone higher up to complete the transaction and go over shipping address etc. When Mahmoud came on the line he asked for my credit card number. He explained that HP would not charge anything to my card but needed in case I didn’t send back the old hard drive.

I took the phone from my son at this point and thanked him for taking the last two hours our of his evening to help me. He had a friend over and they were setting up his computer on his new desk that finally had arrived after waiting 6 weeks. That’s another rant for another time. I asked Mahmoud why they needed my credit card again. he explained in broken English that it was to assure I sent the old hard drive back. I backed up a bit. I then asked if I would be able to retrieve my files on the old hard drive. He said with this kind of crash it was highly unlikely but that I could certainly take it to Best Buy or Circuit City and have them try.

At this point all I can think about are the pictures that are lost forever. I did not have an external hard drive that I saved everything to and my daughter used the camera frequently to take pictures of her dolls and stuffed animals and the dog. I had not organized most of my pictures except by date. I had sent many to friends and family and could probably, maybe, have them send them back if they had saved them but I didn’t burn all the many many pictures to a cd. I had just downloaded the pictures from both children’s birthdays as well as my mother’s birthday which will more than likely be her last. I lost the pictures of my father and the rest of the family during my niece’s birthday. They were taken a week before he died and since he did not like to be photographed they were some of the few that I had of him.

Mahmoud asked me what I wanted to do. He said if I did not want to give my credit card number to him I could ship the computer to HP and they would swap out the hard drives. They would then send it back to me. This process was to take about two weeks. I would not get the old hard drive back to attempt to retrieve the files and they would not attempt to retrieve them. I was worried that my personal information would then be floating around. He assured me that would not happen but explained he did not know what they did with the hard drive. I was hardly reassured. I said that would not work. I said I could not be without a computer for two weeks. (I am using my daughter’s very old and unreliable one right now. It is the one that all of her games are on and it is extremely slow, the wireless only works if I am sitting on top of the modem/router which happens to be in the basement among the litter box and sump pump. There is no heat down here. No desk either. It is a ghastly set up. I have none of the programs I need and there isn’t enough room to install them.

I told Mahmoud that the last 7 computer I have purchased had been HPs or Compaqs. I did this becuase I was always so impressed with their customer service. They had always done everything to help me resolve the problem and had never asked for my credit card. Shipping was free and I always felt I was treated fairly. Something had changed. They were doing none of these things.

Again Mahmoud asked me what I wanted to do. I said I wanted to take it back to Best Buy and have them give me another computer tomorrow (today) so I could start working again. He asked me if I wanted to escalate the case. I asked him what he meant, knowing full well what it meant. He said that he would have someone higher up the totem pole look at the situation. They were NOT likely to offer anything other than what he offered. I told him to escalate the case. He told me that since it was late no one would get back to me until today. He gave me the case number and said “thank you for choosing HP” and ended the call.

I am so irritated. The more I think of what I have lost the angrier I get. All of my appointments are gone. I can access my blogs and my mail online but I can barely get online. I certainly can’t work this way for eight to 15 hours a day. Already my hands are cramping up from the cold and the keyboard.

Everyone cross your fingers for me and say a little prayer that this gets resolved. I will keep you posted.

Update: I have been searching for a way to get higher up the totem pole to talk to someone who can really help me. I stumbled across this story. I’m scared.

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