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Checked, Not Operable

[Go over to O’Ceallaigh and The Quill.  That post is much more fun then this one.]

I am online with my own computer.  I have been since yesterday afternoon.  I hesitated to say anything because I am not certain how long this will last or what will go wrong next.

Some of you will recall that the hard drive died on my brand new computer when it was just a few weeks old.  The crash took with it a truckload of awesome photographs, some of which were posted online, thankfully!  Those not posted are with Clemintine, “lost and gone forever.”

So, I sent my computer back to Gateway and in just 11 days they returned the machine to me with a new hard drive and a notation on the invoice (no charge) saying all systems had been checked and were operable.  Except when I plugged the machine in and started it up, it said I had no wifi.”No wifi!”  I shrieked, “Why not?!”  And the utility quite happily told me that my machine had been returned sans drivers. 

Checked and operable my ass!  If all systems were checked, then my wifi would have drivers, right?

So I called Gateway.  Some dude answered the phone.  Probably a stoner judging by the amount of brain cells he employed in my aid.  I told him I had no wifi drivers.  He told me to go online and download them.  Hello?!

So, I read to him the little paper about all my systems being checked and operable.  He responds, “Well, if that’s what the paper says, then that’s what was done and your machine is in optimal working order.  Thank you for choosing Gateway.”  Click.

What the — ?  I went to bed.  Time enough to haggle on the phone in the morning.

So, the next morning I again call Gateway.  A young woman answers the phone and walks me through the system utility.  We try to reinstall the driver.  No go.  She transfers me to a gentleman who takes me through the same steps she just did, plus several others.  No matter what we do, we get a “Code 10” message — which I was told, means there is no driver to access.  After several attempts this gentleman says, “We need you to make a back up system disc.  Do you have any CD’s?”  I tell him I have 4.  He tells me I need 7.  I ask what good backing up the system is going to do.  He tells me that we will use the system disc which I make — from my system — to reinstall the drivers.

Uhm, hello?!  “My system has no drivers!”  I said it right outloud — loud being the operative word.  He said, “It only seems that way.  They’re in there.  Your machine just doesn’t recognize them.”  I want to know, “So how will it recognize them on the disc?”  He says, “Trust me, it will.  I know you don’t understand this stuff but I am a pro.”

Okay.  I get CDs and call back.  Oops.  I don’t need CDs.  I need DVDs.  Lovely.  I call my sister Jackie and ask her to bring DVDs to the island when she arrives for her visit.  She arrives having forgotten the DVDs.  She said she’d mail them as soon as she returned home.  No problem, I was going camping anyway and wouldn’t be needing net.

I returned home from camping and found a phone message waiting from Jackie.  It seems there are several types of DVDs and she didn’t know which one my machine needed.  Neither did I — and without net I couldn’t even look in my online users manual.  So — again — I called Gateway.

A young woman answered. I thought I heard gum popping as we talked, but in retrospect I am thinking it may have been her brain misfiring.  I brought her up-to-date on my trials and tribulations.  She told me my machine would work with either type of DVD, plus or minus.  She also told me I need 7 DVDs.  I said, “Why so many?” She said, “You are copying your entire system.”  “Well, yes,” I answer, but my comp only has a 1 gig memory and a DVD is 4 gigs.  Shouldn’t I need only one?”  She answers firmly, “You will need 7.”  Okay.  It doesn’t make any sense, but okay.

I then ask her the missing driver question.  I still do not understand how a driver not in my computer is going to miraculously show up on a disc made by my computer.  The girl tells me, testily, “Before we can do anything else you have to make the back up disc.  Without that, we can’t help you.”  She assures me the driver will be on the disc and that she knows what she is talking about.

So, I make the back up disc — one, ONE DVD – and try the reinstall.  No go.  I still get a code 10 error.  Big surprise, huh?  I call Gateway.  Yet another tech answers — named Mike — I brought him up-to-date on my trials and tribulations.  He immediately said, “Of course the disc didn’t work.  You didn’t have the drivers in your system in the first place!” 

Well, duh.

I said, “I mentioned that to the other techs.”  Mike tells me one of them actually noted that in the log!  He also said, “They were following the proceedure manual, not using their brains.  If they had actually stopped to think … oh, never mind.”

Then he asks for my address and says he is sending me an email with a link to the necessary drivers.  I tell him that without wifi I can’t check the net.  I ask if I can download the drivers onto a disc.  He tells me I need to hook my machine up to a land line.  I explain that we don’t have such a critter.  He says, “Look, you’re at a college facility, right?  Go to the computer lab and ask their tech for a land line.  Access your email, click the link, and your driver will reinstall inself, no problem.”

He was correct.  I followed his instructions and here I am online.  So, where was he three weeks ago?  Charley says they don’t haul out the intelligent trouble-shooters until you’ve called in about seven times …

As we ended our conversation Mike said, “Thank you for choosing Gateway.”  I responded, “You know, if I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t.”  He said, resigned, “I understand.”

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. This is not at all unusual. I have run across this many times. Did you get Mike’s name and or ID for when you need him again? And you did make a new backup of your hard drive right? Both of these things save time in the future. Glad you are back.

  2. Oh what a mess! I love OC’s line about not calling out the intelligent techs til you’ve called in 7 times. It sure does seem that way too often.

  3. Quilly I don’t understand why you needed seven dvd’s. When you buy a Window’s Installation disk with the Operating System it is on a regular CD ? I kind of like to know what they are smoking at “Gateway”. It sounds as if the Inmates are running the Asylum. Are you sure Mike was actually at “Gateway”? Could you have mis-dialed the number and got another company?

    Glad that your laptop is back online and you can communicate again. One suggestion, don’t delete that email Mike sent you.

    A blessed Weekend is wished for you.

  4. Ya, hang on to Mike’s name to handle any future problems. I hope you won’t need him again. It would be great if this posting could be sent to Gateway execs. They should know how customer service is screwing up. I think the whole customer relations area should be wall papered with this post……Judy

  5. WTF — I concur.

    Mumma — he did seem feed up.

    Nessa — I have the name and ID number for every person I talked to, plus notes.

    Brooke — O.C. wants to know how much they’re paid. Whatever it is, its too much.

    Polona — hey! What about all I went through!

    Bill — my point exactly! Nothing they said made any logcal sense! I have kept the email. And I was at Gateway, he closed with their formal, “Thank you for Choosing Gateway.”

    Judy — I kept Mike’s info for future reference — including the email he sent me. I hope a Gateway exec does stumble across this post.

  6. “I hope a Gateway exec does stumble across this post.”

    I hope they don’t. They’ll fire Mike for not following the manual and for badmouthing the company.

    Send Mike a plate of cookies. Send the rest of them a plate of cookies laced with Exlax.

    Good luck to you in keeping the computer up and running.

  7. Melli — thanks for the hug. I seem to be doing better now.

    Brig — I’m very much afraid you’re right. Firing the effecient people does seem consistent with Gateway’s demonstrated logic.

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