If it wasn't for buying a computer that was a real dog, I probably wouldn't have written this. However, I did and it was pretty bad so I want to tell you about my experience. Before I do that though I want to say that I learned a lot from the "support" experience. Things I didn't think I needed to learn.
My new state of the art Dell laptop was a dog. It lasted about 40 minutes before it started freezing. Having the latest Intel i7 chip in it made me confident and having Dell as the hardware provider was comforting as thier warranty is very good. However, having Windows 7 in it, made me worry, based on thier previous offering (Vista). Anyway, after about three hours of use and four crashes, I was becoming very unhappy with Microsoft. It had to be them, based on track record and I had stupidly tried out their latest OS offering without giving it the benefit of a year of customer feedback. What a mistake.
Dell's support department were reasonably good. Although it was a little difficult to find thier phone number from the website, once I did they were pretty usefull. They were methodical in what they did. They established my validity to get service, they listened to what I said and took notes, then they researched and directed me to perform some tests. The tests took forever, well about 4 hours, but it seemed like forever. During that time I realised due to the results, that the problem was a hardware problem. Whilst shocked that Microsoft weren't the culprit and although I still think it's only a matter of time for them, it seems that this time they were off the hook.
The experience helped me learn these things: What I thought I knew, I didn't. What Dell's website said (cooperate with the technician) was critical and useful. That what I first believed, that they had screwed me, was wrong. That establishing my identity and knowing what system that I was using was integrally important. There were so many things that were interesting, but I guess the most important thing that I learnt I learned after the event. I learned that participating in the support process with an open mind and providing clear information is critical to getting to the solution. I hope I can use this lesson in the future. Oh, and by the way, they are sending me a replacement machine.