Client Name: Catherine Z.
Service Details: Home client, in-shop support, on-site support
Problem and Request: Client needed help with freezing/boot/crashing issues on her Dell Studio XPS 435t.
Solution and Result: Replaced HDD, re-installed OS, replaced RAM, restored user data. PC restored to full functionality.
Catherine reported freezing/boot/crashing issues on her Dell Studio XPS 435t
To confirm that the hard drive is bad, the first step is to remove it from the computer.
Test Results and Diagnosis
After removing the hard drive and mounting it on a test system, I ran a diagnostic tool to check the hard drive’s condition:
Data backup, HDD replacement, OS re-install
Unfortunately, Catherine had not made a backup copy of the data on this computer, so when the hard drive began failing, all of her important data was at risk. I was able recover most of the data for her, but some files were still missing. The next step was to install a new drive, and re-install the operating system. (This is a common procedure, so I won’t go into the nitty gritty details here!)
Return of the Blue Screen
Catherine picked up her completed system, and was pleased to know that most of her data was intact. However, a few days later, she called to report that the freezing/crashing issues had returned!
I wanted to resolve the problem quickly and to the client’s complete satisfaction, so I offered to do a free on-site follow up. The next day at Catherine’s home, the diagnostic tests I did yielded no useful results, so on a long shot I decided to do a RAM test.
I thanked Catherine for her patience, ordered the RAM, and we scheduled an install time later that week.
Follow up – Part 2
I received the replacement RAM in the mail, and returned to Catherine’s home to do the installation. Installing RAM takes about 1 minute: simply open the computer, remove the old RAM, and plug in the new RAM.
I was certain I had the correct RAM, but I re-checked just in case I had made a mistake. Sure enough, the specs were correct. Investigating further, I found something strange: the RAM specs on the Dell site did NOT match the specs for the “Dell Recommended” RAM (which is x2 more expensive). The information on the Dell site appeared to be wrong!
I told Catherine as much, and once again ordered another set of replacement RAM for her, and we re-scheduled.
Follow up – Part 3, and Conclusion
A few days later, with the re-replacement RAM in hand, I once again headed over to Catherine’s home. I installed the RAM, turned on the computer, and it BEEPed. Uggh.
Taking a deep breath, I switched the RAM to different slots, and turned on the computer… and it booted. All 8 gigabytes of high-speed RAM were recognized correctly!
Finally, the project was complete: Catherine was happy to have a fully-functional Dell, and I was happy that she was happy. It was a long and challenging road, and I could have easily given up or charged Catherine for the extra time spent. But I was determined to complete the work, and to do whatever it took to make sure that the client was completely happy.
To be quite honest, this project was unusually difficult: it’s extremely rare for a computer to have both bad RAM, AND a failing hard drive!
But I think that this project made for a great first Silverleaf Client Spotlight post, because anyone who reads this will hopefully agree that 1) client satisfaction is ALWAYS my top priority, 2) I’m VERY persistent when it comes to problem solving, and 3) one should NEVER trust Dell product specifications.
Thanks for reading, and thanks again to Catherine for providing me with a great story, and for her patience!