Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dell vs. Lenovo Automatic Update

I'm lucky to have a brand new Lenovo (IBM) ThinkPad and a new Dell desktop. Both systems are generally great. One big difference I've noticed is in the level of software support. Both Dell and Lenovo supply an auto-update program to update drivers and, in Lenovo's case, the various helpful utility programs that come with the system.

I've had a vastly different experience with each. My laptop is always up-to-date, and the update program has never failed, performing bios flashes, software upgrades, and even installing some new features. It's not always present in the system tray, and does not send me stupid and useless messages. From the first day, the Dell update program has been sending inane popups like ads for a new wireless mouse, a notice about upcoming daylight savings time, and update notifications for hardware that I don't even have. I don't need such interruptions! I just want driver updates. The program has the "express service tag" of my machine -- doesn't that supply all the info on what hardware I have? Worst of all, whenever I click any of the messages that I might actually need, two annoying things happen: first, I get a popup asking me to inform Dell that I've read the message (which I decline); second, the support program reports and error, saying it can't find "Windows NW\applications\wordpad.exe". As you probably know from previous posts, I use Vista. Anyway, why does this program want to open WordPad? Perhaps it is opening some file type that has been registered to a non-existent version of WordPad? I don't know. But I also can't ask anyone. You see, despite the fact that U of Calgary purchased long-term extended warranty support on this machine, it only covers hardware. So, when a piece of Dell-supplied software doesn't work, I'm asked to pay $129 for a support subscription, on a machine that's only several months old. And, if what I've read is true, if I managed to read Dell support they'd just read me a script telling me to restart the computer and update the software anyway.

What's going on with customer service these days? In the meantime, I've uninstalled all the junky software Dell sent, and I'm doing updates manually with my service tag and their website.


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Lenovo laptops are the best. I've never ran into any issues with them except for one but that's a human error.

I use to have Dell and yes, its true. It sounds like their tech support is reading off a script. Their issues are from all the bloatware that they've put inside themselves. The irony