Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Disappointing Tech Support Call Today

I got a new laptop. Yeah! It is a Gateway 450E. Not bad.



I ran into a problem when undocking. I had undocked early on and it worked fine. I found that undocking with the resolution set to 1024x768 it was working fine. When undocking with the resolution set to 1280x1024 or 1400x1050 (my preference) the screen would no longer display. Hit a key or move the pointer which displayed on the blank screen and it would then show the tiny lines across the bottom of the screen. I took the pic of the screen (below) with my camera phone.



I went to the advanced search support page and looked for anything on undock and resolution and found nothing related to my issue.

I figured I am already on the site, I'll try the online support. (I added the info in italics.)

Well close to an hour later I was no closer to a resolution (pun possibly intended). Their solution send it back.

Below is most of the transcript (which they don't e-mail you, but you can save - it does not have the initial incident submission in it though):

I explained the problem mention above and submitted it.

Gateway Rep #1 joined the incident.

Gateway Rep #1 says:
Welcome to Gateway Remote Assistance. I am looking at your account and the information you submitted. I will begin troubleshooting with you in just a moment.

Bonj says:
That is fine.

Gateway Rep #1 says:
Thank you for holding, Bonj.

Bonj says:
The pointer does display on the screen and even though I can't see the screen (even tried switching LCD/CRT repeatedly to see if it would come back) I am able to shutdown safely simply utilizing the keystrokes, so the computer is not locking.

Gateway Rep #1 says:
I just checked with the system information and found that it is registered under a different user name.

Gateway Rep #1 says:
Hence can you please confirm me the original owner of this computer ?

Bonj says:
I explained that it was purchased by the agency that I worked and gave the name of the Tech that it is likely registered under.

Gateway Rep #1 says:
Thank you for the information, Bonj.

Bonj says:
You are welcome.

Bonj says:
If I hit the windows button, which would normally bring up the start bar it will display little lines at the bottom of the screen. I sent them a link to the camera phone pic you see above.

Gateway Rep #1 says:
Thank you for the information, Bonj.

Bonj says:
You are welcome.

Gateway Rep #1 says:
I had viewed the screenshot sent by you.

Gateway Rep #1 says:
Is this the issue happens when the Laptop is docked with the docking station too ?

Bonj says:
Not very easy to work with it like that. :-)

Bonj says:
The issue only occurs upon selecting Start, then Undock Computer. It states everything went fine and to go ahead and undock. Upon undocking this is what happens. As stated if running 1024x768 and doing the same thing the video portion comes back fine. It will run in 1400x1050 and 1280x1024 just fine if powering up docked or undocked, it is only after undocking while powered up.

Gateway Rep #1 says:
So let me confirm the issue..You mean to say that the system displays the error message when trying to undock with the display settings more than 1024x768.

Gateway Rep #1 says:
May I know from when the issue has started?

Bonj says:
The PC has been in for a while and just sitting in a box waiting for distribution. I got it early to mid last week and Tech Support got the port replicator to me on Friday. Yesterday was the first I had tried it. So it just started, but it had not been used before, so the issue had not been experienced until now.

Gateway Rep #1 says:
ok.

Bonj says:
You may be able to tell it (as the serial number was submitted in the initial incident screen and I had scanned the machine configuration), but the Mobility Radeon 7500 driver shows a driver date of 4/28/2003 and version # of 6.14.10.6343 if that is of any value. (This is updated from the one that shipped, which was 6.14.10.6334).

Gateway Rep #1 says:
ok.

Gateway Rep #1 says:
Does this happens when the docking station is not connected?

What? Hello, have I not explained the problem already!

Gateway Rep #1 says:
Also are you trying to undock when the system is powered on?

You mean Windows will run when it isn't powered on?

Bonj says:
No. It displays fine if simply powering up removed from the docking station (I don't know if there is more than one docking solution as there has been in the past, but this is more of a port replicator). I do not use an external monitor when connected either. The only monitor I use is the laptop monitor itself.

Bonj says:
Yes, undocking when the system is powered on. Otherwise the Start, Undock Computer would not be available to select. If powering down taking off and powering back up there are no problems.

Gateway Rep #1 says:
ok.

Gateway Rep #1 says:
As you said that no issues arises with ..when the system is working fine.

What?

Gateway Rep #1 says:
So the issue must be with the port replicator .

Bonj says:
The issue is specifically when selecting Start, then Undock Computer, when a video resolution of 1280x1024 or 1400x1050 is selected the video does not come back upon undocking. As mentioned the Operating System is still functioning fine as I can use the key strokes to shut it down even though I can't see the screen. If running 1024x768 it works fine (I have not actually tested resolutions lower than that).

Gateway Rep #1 says:
Thank you for the information, Bonj.

Gateway Rep #1 says:
I would escalate the call to the second level support for further assistance?

Your Live Automation session is being escalated. Please stand by.
Your escalated Live Automation session has been handled.

Gateway Rep #1 says:
Thank you for holding, Bonj.

Bonj says:
Not a problem.

Gateway Rep #1 says:
Gateway Rep#2 is my supervisor and will assist you further in resolving your issue.,

Gateway Rep #1 has left the incident.

Gateway Rep #2says:
Hello Bonj.

Gateway Rep #2says:
How are you today?

Bonj says:
Hello.

Bonj says:
Not to sound bad, but I would be doing better if not chatting with you. :-)
(In case you haven't been able to tell, I can be a bit of a smartass, but I did try to remain polite.)

Bonj says:
In other words if everything was working.

Gateway Rep #2says:
Sure, I will help you in resolving the issue today.

Don't speak to soon.

Bonj says:
As I want to run in the higher resolution the workaround is simply shutting down before undocking, but wanted to see if there was the possibility of getting it to work.

Gateway Rep #2says:
May I know when it started happening?

Hello again! What did I say above. Take a second and read the chat log.

Bonj says:
Yesterday, but that was the first attempt. I can duplicate it every time. The PC was just put in service last week and I received the port replicator on Friday.

Gateway Rep #2says:
can you please reconfirm the serial number of the system?

You've already got it!

Bonj says:
It works fine in 1024x768, but the video does not display after a successful undock when running 1280x1024 or 1400x1050.

Bonj says:
00XXXXXXXX

Bonj says:
It is a DS 450E

Gateway Rep #2says:
I see that the system is not registered under Bonj, Can you please provide me the name of the person in which the system is registers?

So you think the guy that works for you would be stupid enough to escalate the issue to you without finding that out already?

Bonj says:
Port replicator is S/N XXXXXXXXXXXX Part# 8006527

Bonj says:
As I told Gateway Rep#1 it was purchased by the agency I work for. It may be registered under the Tech that unpacked it XXXX XXXXX.

Gateway Rep #2says:
Thanks for the confirmation Bonj,

Bonj says:
Not a problem.

Gateway Rep #2says:
In this case we are not able to conclude if the issue is with the port replicatior or the system so the best option to resolve the issue is to send the system for service.

What? I said I had a workaround and since I just finished getting this one setup how I need it you can't pry it from my hands.

Bonj says:
After undocking the pointer still displays, but nothing else. Upon hitting the Windows key to bring up the Start menu it will show some lines. You can see what it looks like here (sent the link to this guy as well) (It is a camera phone pic so not very good, but gives you the idea. The lines show at the bottom of the screen.

Gateway Rep #2says:
Just to confirm you are facing the issue only when you are undocking, Am I correct?

Bonj says:
Correct.

Gateway Rep #2says:
Bonj, we need to diagonise the issue, I am not sure whether the issue is with the port replicatior or the system, So the best option is to send the system for service.

Bonj says:
As we received several of these in and they are just now being unboxed to be put in service, I may test by swapping port replicators and see if the other machines have the issue first as well. I just finished getting everything loaded on mine.

Bonj says:
Can I wait to get return information until after I have tested. If it does appear to be a problem on all of them would we need to return all?

Gateway Rep #2says:
Okay, Please check it by swapping the port replicators and you have issues with all the portriplicators or the system please connect back to us with the information, So that we can proceed further.

Bonj says:
Okay. Thanks.

Gateway Rep #2says:
I am documenting this issue under service request number 2-XXXXXXXXX. If you need to contact us again on this issue, please refer to this number.

Gateway Rep #2says:
Please save the chatlog.

Bonj says:
I will thanks.

Bonj says:
I'll receive a copy of the transcript won't I so that I don't need to write that number down.

Gateway Rep #2says:
You can save the chatlog. so that all the conversation will be saved.

End of Chat
-------------

Ugh!!! An hour wasted. I wasn't even asked to look at anything even after being escalated.

I was polite, but honest on the little survey afterwards.

I followed that by asking one of our Techs that was working on getting his new portable setup if he had the same issue. He did not. We looked at mine further. We rolled back the video driver. No luck. Totally uninstalled it and the supporting software, then reinstalled. No luck. Per the Tech we started looking at the hardware profiles. They were a bit flaky. We deleted several and new ones kept being created often coming up as unknown state instead of docked or undocked. After playing with it and deleting the respective profiles enough we finally got to a point where it works on the different resolutions.

We were having some super slow response from the machine when going back to look at the profiles each time and thought, great, now what is going on. After the Tech left the machine was still acting sluggish. Got to looking and the mcupdate.exe (McAfee) process was running at 99% CPU utilization, which for some reason usually puts a damper on system performance. Killed the process and performance definitely increased. Reported the issue to Tech Support, which they stated they have occasionally seen and it usually clears up with a reinstall of the anti virus software.

Things are working good for now. I hope it continues.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is similar to an exchange I had a while back with a tech person who I swear must have been in a different country. Companies may save money on paper by outsourcing their tech support, but so much is lost in translation - even just with the colloquialisms - that I can't see the tech support *staying* outsourced for the long term if the company is to survive. I don't remember which company I'd called, but I did not get any useful help and eventually figured it out myself.
*sigh*

Joe Litton

Anonymous said...

I'd laugh if it weren't so sad...

Duffbert

bonj said...

If I would ever get laid off, I guess I know where I could get a job.