Monday, July 16, 2007
A weeks-long fight with a user's D600 USB issues ended today. Several times a day, his mouse and keyboard would stop responding, and he would have to unplug the devices from his docking station and re-insert them in order to keep working. Interestingly enough, one sure way to reproduce the problem would be to run AdAware. Since I'd been through malware issues with him in the past, that's where I started. When that didn't pan out, I moved to updating Windows XP, the drivers, and even the BIOS. Diagnostics turned up nothing. We replaced the mouse, the keyboard, and even the dock, and nothing helped. I continuously researched the issue, exhausting all tips, only to eventually find that others were waiting for Dell to fix the problem.
Finally, last Thursday, I ran across a months-old (if not years-old) post that mentioned the Notebook System Software. I figured it couldn't hurt, right? At best, I was facing a complete reload of the system; at worst, I'd be ordering parts and trying not to lose the tiny screws that hold the machine together. With little hope, I wandered over to the Dell support site and started downloading the Notebook System Software installer package. Not the observant type, I casually grunted a reply to my user, when he mentioned the date the software was released. I suppose it was about three minutes later that I suddenly realized what he was trying to tell me; I was doing this install on July 12th, and the Dell site said the system software had been released just the day before! I tried to fight it, but that darned hope just started welling up. I fought the traitorous feeling as I installed the software. As I had been used to doing for weeks, I asked my co-worker to work with the machine, and give me an update. He felt confident that the solution we desired had finally been delivered, but I chased my pessimism all the way home.
This morning, I learned that he has seen no problems since I last touched the PC. For the first time in weeks, he was able to work a full day (Friday the 13th was lucky for him!) with no interruptions, and I got to go fight with another laptop. I do prefer it when the scenery changes.