3am and I Can’t Get to Sleep !!!!!

Just over 24hrs until we fly out to NZ…. It’s 3 oclock in the morning and I’m wide awake – after lying awake in bed for an hour trying to get to sleep…. Why ?…. Excitement?  Anticipation of the fabulous holiday ahead perhaps ?  I wish …… Here I am,  wide awake because of sheer frustration.  The DVD drive on my 2 week old laptop has decided to fail and I’ve been lying here plotting my revenge on DELL.

Now, ordinarily, a failed DVD drive wouldn’t cause me that much of a drama…. apart from installing software every now and again, I rarely use the DVD drive on my home PC – and in 2 years haven’t even used my work one (now I think about it… I’m not even sure that it has one).  However, the DVD drive on my laptop formed an important (if small) part of my holiday plan.  In fact one of the motivations for buying a laptop in the first place, was so that we could use it to watch DVDs on cold NZ nights in the campervan.  I’ve even been accumulating (over the last month or so) a selection of new DVDs to take along for just this purpose, and have purchased a set of external speakers to supplement the (appalling) onboard speaker system

Originally I considered getting a portable DVD player, but figured – hey – for a few hundred dollars more I could get a basic laptop and use it to watch DVDs, play games and access internet/email (and even Blog).  Well the “few hundred” turned into “quite a few hundred” extra – after all I might as well get a laptop that was a bit more versatile and could use for work too right !!

However, all my plans for DVD entertainment on holidays have come to a grinding halt – literally.  This afternoon (yesterday actually), Rory came to me and said that the laptop wasn’t reading a DVD for SIM City 4 (another part of our holiday entertainment strategy).  Closer investigation revealed that the DVD was sporadically being recognised by the system – but couldn’t be ejected.  It made most of the correct clicking, buzzing and clonking noises when you hit the eject button, but remained firmly in place.

Ever tried to get technical support ? it seems that 4:00 on a Friday afternoon is a worse time than most.  So after a fair bit of digging online, I discovered that there were a scary number of Dell Studio Laptop owners with similar problems – It seems that there has been an epidemic of DVDs stuck in drives… Suggested solutions ranged from Bios Upgrades (tried it), Driver reinstalls (tried it) – right through to sticking knives into the drive slot to try and dislodge the DVD – and yes, I even tried this too – and was finally successful in removing the DVD.  

So now I had finally got the DVD out, I faced the scary prospect of putting it back in again to see what happened…. hmmmmm… should I…. shouldn’t I …. Given the option of not putting it back in, and wondering for the whole holiday whether or not the drive was actually working, I decided that I really had no choice…. so… I tried to insert it back, but this time it wouldn’t even go in.  It seems that there was some sort of mechanical obstruction.  Closer investigation revealed a small piece of metal rattling around, (but still attached) within the drive itself.  So I guess that I can say with some confidence that the drive is stuffed !!

OK, so what are my options now I wonder ??

  1. Contact Dell Support and get them to fix it by Sunday Morning …. Ha ha ha… who am I trying to kid
  2. Find other forms of entertainment
  3. Look at buying an external DVD drive

Now, I’m not that keen on the prospect of “technology free” entertainment in the cold dark NZ evenings, so I guess I’ll be spending a chunk of today (it’s not as if I’ve got a hundred others things to do is it ?) looking at the costs involved in an external DVD unit, that I will almost certainly never use again… Oh Joy …


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