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Is it possible a peripheral (phone, external HD, etc.) is infecting everything?

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#1 JHarts


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Posted 23 May 2013 - 09:17 AM

I've had a nightmarish run of laptop failures in the past five months.


First, one of 2 Dell Inspiron N5010's (Win7) died a BSOD with a memory message that I can't recall but checking forums led me to believe it might not really be a failed memory stick and a complete reinstall was the solution. Since I had another N5010, I put the offender aside and started using the other as my go-to device.


In the meantime, I bought a Dell Inspiron 17R (Win8). When it arrived mid-January and I realized the Win8 learning curve was more than I could bear with Win8, I set it aside and continued using the N5010.


On 4/14, the N5010 got to the point where it was more trouble than I could deal with --- goofy problems with applications not fully functioning, odd application crashes and some general slowness. Advice from people with far brighter minds than mine suggested reformat. I ordered the reinstallation disks to do the N5010s and switched to the 17R.


One week into using the 17R, I started having problems. Apps not working right, CPU running at 100% for no reason whatsoever. This one was still under warranty (with less than 100 hours of use on it) and I called Dell. After plenty of fights and more than 12 hours pleading with them, they said I needed a new hard drive. Tech came, installed hard drive, booted and got a UEFI screen (don't know what that is or whether it's important). Verdict was that I needed a new motherboard. Tech came, installed the motherboard, left mid-reinstall but I finished the install, haven't contacted tech support yet to get guidance on the remainder of the setup but will be doing that soon.


In the meantime --- no laptop means no work and I was desperate so I hopped over to Best Buy and got a Sony Vaio (Win8) thinking "no more Dells for me." I've had the Sony for less than two weeks and last night, while printing a pdf of a webpage, the screen when to solid brown (my selection for "what color do you want your screen" in the initial setup), held there for 20 seconds, flicked back to the Vaio desktop for two seconds max, flicked back to the brown screen and kept doing that over and over. I called Geek Squad and will be taking the laptop in this afternoon. This morning, I tried booting again, same issue. Tried booting in safe mode (not an easy feat in Win8), didn't take me to safe mode but said it was doing a fix and then went into the logon screen. I was able to limp my way through retrieving the most important work file on the machine.


Long time getting to this (sorry) but my question is....it's so weirdly unusual to have this much trouble with computers in various life stages, isn't it?? I have started to think maybe it's something common to all --- connecting my cell phone (HTC Droid 4g LTE) or an SD card from my handheld scanner or camera or an external hard drive. Btw...the cell phone had to be replaced too (9 months old) and the replacement is crashing 2-3 times per day).


Is there a way to run troubleshoot all of these peripherals?


PS - Don't know if it's related but the first set of installation disks sent by Dell would not boot into the F12 menu. I finally got one machine (the DOA 04/14) back to factory settings with the original disk and that's the machine I'm working on now. Dell sent out a second set of disks and I'm trying with the original N5010 dead machine. It won't boot into F12 but, after playing around a lot, it's running a complete diagnostic. I only add this info in case it may be related to everything else. I guess I should also mention that I tried installing a new memory stick on the N5010 that I put back to factory settings. It came with a 2GB and 1GB. I put a 4GB in the A slot, moved the 2GB to the B slot...now the 2GB isn't recognized whether I put it back in the original slot or not.

Edited by JHarts, 23 May 2013 - 09:23 AM.

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