This morning, I decide, since I'm going to take the Dell laptop back to the store (I'm still within the 45 day return window I get for being an Elite Plus member), I better make sure everything is shiny. I put in the Windows recovery drive. I'm not worried, there is no data on it, it hadn't even connected to the Internet. All it had was a user name (Peter) and a password (PeterIsSoAwesomeItHurts). So I start it up because it will take an hour or two to fix.
The drive doesn't work. Oh, it boots. But it says it cannot do anything with the system.
Suddenly, my Ubuntu Live that couldn't install to the disc is looking a lot more suspicious. After several failed attempts, I conclude that those two pieces of data are nothing to be worried about and I take the machine back to Best Buy.
I get up to the counter, and the girl asks me what the problem is. I tell her that it's just not working correctly, that I can't even restore the system from the recovery drive. She has to verify this, so she tries to turn the machine on.
It won't start.
Suddenly, I breathe easier. This might be an easier sell than I thought.
It takes three attempts to get the machine to start. Once it does, it immediately goes to the Dell Diagnostic Assist program. It promptly concludes there is a major hardware failure.
The girl looks in surprise. Apparently, people bring back computers for all sorts of bullshit reasons, and this is the first time she has seen a genuine Catastrophic Failure. She takes it to the Geek Squad agent. He just stares at the screen like Jambii has suddenly appeared on the screen to grant him a wish. He just looks at her, says something quick, and she comes back and says, "Your computer is broke."
"Would you like your money back, or would you like a replacement?"
I think for a moment. I still need a new machine. And maybe this was that one that squeaks past QC. Maybe another will work just fine. So I say, if you have a replacement, that would be swell.
She calls on her mic, "I need a replacement laptop."
She is clearly asked what model. As she searches the box, I say, "Dell Inspiron 14 Model 3452."
She looks at me strangely, that I can just rattle off the information like that. She relays it, and within a minute, the guy comes up with another.
So I'll be giving this another whirl this coming weekend.
But if it fails the same way, I'm going to put Dell on blast.