Simon Harriyott

Dell has a screw loose

A friend of mine has a new computer, her very first, and she asked me to set it up for her. I plugged everything in, switched it on, and got a black screen with some hardwareish words on it. It looked like it hadn't booted properly, so I wondered if something had come adrift in transit.

As I tilted the computer ready to open it, there was a gentle "clonk" noise from within. Once I'd opened the case, I saw that the hard drive was connected by only one of its two cables, hence the boot failure. I also saw that the hard drive wasn't attached to anything, and was completely out of its bay and resting on the motherboard.

This was rather surprising, as it should have been screwed into the case. I checked inside the case, but there were no screws rattling around. Not that they could have come off, as the screw-holes in the bay were covered by the side of the case. No, the screws were quite simply never there in the first place. All 4 of them.

Fortunately, my friend's mum had given her a really old Dell (Pentium III old), which was unused in a cupboard and about to go to the tip. I opened it up, and eventually found 4 screws that fitted the hard drive. I attached the hard drive into the new PC, connected the cables and it all works fine.

The question remains though, how on earth can Dell fail on something so basic? Not being into hardware, I don't know whether a minimum-wage worker forgot to screw it in, or the robot's screw pot was empty, but either way, I would have expected better from Dell.

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26 April 2008