My family bought me a new laptop and gave it to me just before GenCon for an early birthday present. Yes, my family is awesome. It's a Toshiba Qosmio X305-Q701 laptop.
It's fast, has plenty of RAM, and as big a hard drive as I could want.
There's only one thing wrong with it.
It's running Microsoft Vista.
When I set up the computer after getting it, I installed 64 bit Vista, because I heard that 32 bit Vista would not support all 4 gb of RAM on the system. Well, then I ran into compatibility issues between the system and Punkbuster. Okay, so it's not a major productivity app, but Call of Duty 4 is one of my favorite programs. So I decided to reinstall Vista, but the 32 bit version this time, to eliminate compatibility issues.
Talking to the tech support people at Toshiba, they said that creating restore disks off the computer would only give me the option for 64 bit Vista, and told me to use the restore disk.
"What restore disk?" I ask.
"The one that came with the system." he says.
"I didn't get one in the box."
"Then we'll ship it to you"
So, two weeks go by and still no disk. I call them back and find out that it's on back order and won't be available for another week. DANG! Well, all this time, I'm running into another issue. My computer, which originally booted quite fast, now stops after flashing the "Toshiba" screen and doesn't do anything. So after several minutes of black screen, I shut it down and then start it back up. It then says that it needs to restore to the last set point. After booting, I discover that programs I've installed are missing. Yes, I'm feeling the love of Microsoft Vista.
Well, I finally take it in to the Store and they send it off to the service center. After two weeks, I get it back on Friday, and it boots right up. All they did was reseat the RAM, and it came up just fine for them. After talking to the Geek Squad guy about the missing programs, he says to delete everything on the hard drive, repartition, and then restore 32 bit Vista. That takes all Friday night, and it reboots just fine afterward.
Yesterday (Saturday) dawns bright and clear, and the computer comes up like it's supposed to. I spend Saturday installing my programs. Office, Outlook & Norton load perfectly and the system reboots just fine. I them install iTunes, Yahoo IM and Call of Duty 4 and everything works fine. My wireless keyboard and mouse also work fine, which eases my mind, because I suspected they might have been part of the problem, since the boot issue happened the day after I bought them.
Since everything seemed to be working fine, I connect my external hard drive (Seagate Free Agent external hard drive), and start loading my data back onto my laptop. Everything is going well and I shut down for the night.
This morning I try to boot up and it's doing it again. Good Freaking Lord!! I'm so disgusted! Talking with the missus about what to do about it, it eventually comes up to the login screen. This took about 10 minutes. Dang!! Well I took to down to the store again, and guess what? It boots up just fine. Now I feel like a jackass, because it's not doing it at the store but it at home. I go get the keyboard which I'm SURE is the problem, and it still boots up normally. Talking to the tech some more, we conclude it's the external drive. The BIOS is trying to boot from the Free Agent drive. Now this is perplexing, because I never had issues with that problem on my previous laptop, but that was under XP. Well, I go into the BIOS, and the internal hard drive is the top drive and the external is third on the list. Looks good, so I save changes and boot. It still tries to boot from the external drive. I reboot and go back into the BIOS and disable the external drive as a boot drive, and it FINALLY boots like it's supposed to.
After over a month of issues, and it's just just because the freaking BIOS wants to boot from an EXTERNAL drive instead of the C:\ drive. What the hell is that? Yeah, I know that wasn't really a Vista issue, but this whole thing started because my programs wouldn't run on 64 bit Vista. When they same "some programs may nut run under 64 bit Vista", I didn't expect it to be the one I use almost every day. Good Lord, isn't technology supposed to make our lives easier? I think it's going to be a while before I really start to trust my system, but it is nice to know that at least it's booting up like it's supposed to.
I need a margarita.
A really big one.