A Computer Melee And Why Quality Matters

Why no blog posts this past month on Our Frugal Escapades? The reason is computer trouble of epic proportions! EPIC! I literally went through three computers, yes…THREE before I finally found a winner. One thing is for certain, I learned a hard lesson in frugality.

The Death Of Mr. HP

Problem #1:

The slow death of my two-year old HP PC began when Microsoft sent out an anniversary update. After the update, a few weeks went by and I started to get the blue screen of death. Every time I rolled back the anniversary update, the update would come back and the blue screen of death would return. So I kept rolling the back the update every few weeks. I went in circles with this! But in the name of frugality, I decided to keep with the routine so I wouldn’t have to buy a new PC.

Just look at that sad face from our computer screen!

Problem #2:

The final nail in the coffin came when Microsoft sent out another update. After the PC finished updating, I got blue screens, black screens, bios error messages, flashing screens, and other random nonsense. Then I lost my keyboard and I couldn’t type a damn thing. I couldn’t do a reset because the entire PC was completely locked up, nor could I use my Windows 7 recovery disc. I had taken the free upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10, and would lose Windows 10 where the free upgrade had expired.

So with no keyboard, I decided to pick up the phone and call Microsoft for assistance. Here’s is an overview of how the conversation went…

Problem #3:

Me: Good morning, I’m having a problem with my PC and was hoping you could assist me in resolving the issue.

Tech: Okay, what’s the problem?

Me: The very last update that was sent to my PC caused my keyboard to malfunction. What can I do to fix this?

Tech: What was the update?

Me: I don’t know. I can’t get in to find the update because my keyboard doesn’t work. Do you know what the most recent updates released were? Maybe we can work backwards.

Tech: I don’t think I can help you. My only suggestion is to either load the Windows 10 recovery disc or visit our site and download a clean copy of Microsoft Windows.

Me: I don’t have a Windows 10 recovery disc because it came with Windows 7, and I can’t visit the site because I have no keyboard.

Tech: There is nothing we can do then.

Me: Would it be possible for you to send me a copy of Windows 10 so I can fix this?

Tech: Yes. That will cost $119 plus shipping.

Me: Why so? It was your update that blew out my keyboard.

Tech: Sometimes updates work, sometimes they don’t. There is nothing we can do about that. You may want to wait and see if another update gets sent out to correct the issue.

Me: What? Sometimes updates work, sometimes they don’t? It was your updates that messed up my PC. Besides, how can I retrieve the update without a keyboard. I can’t log in. Can you make this right?

Tech: Yes, for $119 plus shipping we can send you another copy of Windows 10.

As you can see, this was a very productive conservation with Microsoft. I ended up with no resolution and I absolutely refused to pay $119 plus shipping for a problem that, in my opinion, was created by Microsoft.

Moving on…

I decided the best course of action would be to admit that I did possess a PC with an old Windows 7 system, and that I may be better off just buying a new PC. My broken PC came from Costco and it was just out of warranty, so I decided to head back to Costco to pick up another PC.

You really can’t beat the 90 day return policy and 2 year extended warranty Costco throws in on PC’s, TV’s, etc. Plus, you also get an additional 2 year extended warranty added if you pay with your Costco Citi Card.

PC #1: $399

I picked the lowest end HP model I could find at a price point I was comfortable with. Why bother spending a lot on a PC that Microsoft may render extinct soon after I buy it? After turning this PC on and moving through the introductory screens, the PC immediately started to update Windows. Okay…I can wait. Well, guess what? I waited NINE hours and it still wasn’t done updating! I put the PC back in the box and returned it to Costco.

PC #2: $369

Next came a Dell. The price seemed more than reasonable and I figured if it worked, it was a steal. I turned the PC on, went through the set up process and the PC decided to turn itself off. My first reaction was that I had hit the wrong button, so I turned the PC on again. After a few minutes, it shut itself off, again. I thought okay…this is weird. It’s plugged in. So I took the PC to another outlet and plugged it in, turned it on, and after a few minutes it turned itself off again. Crazy! I took the PC back to Costco.

PC #3: $499

Third time is a charm right? Last came another HP. I decided to splurge and add another $100 to the budget thinking maybe I should invest more in this little endeavor. I brought the PC home, set it up, and I thought I had a winner where everything appeared to be working. But…wait… the software on the PC started to mysteriously disappear. One by one I lost my antivirus and the apps installed on the PC. At this stage of the game, I made the decision to call my next door neighbor who happens to work in IT.  He looked the PC over and told me there was no way to fix it. So back to Costco I went to return a THIRD PC!

I have to admit, the customer service at Costco is downright amazing! They happily returned all three PC’s with no issues. As a customer, all I can hope for is to get my money back. Costco is still stellar in my book!

The day I took the PC #3 back, Mr. FE and I had a get together that evening. After sharing my one of a kind experience with PC’s, almost everyone in the room responding the same way.

“Get a Mac”

My response: “They are so expensive”

Uber cool Mac!

So I decided to research the Mac. After seeing nothing but rave reviews I decided to take the plunge. Best Buy had a deal where the MacBook Air 13″ was $799. I figured why not. Can’t be any worse than what I’ve already tried.

I got the Mac home. Turned it on. Watched it go through a few updates. Then…I couldn’t believe my eyes. It’s happy dance time!

The Mac works!

Even though I’ve used Microsoft for what seems like an eternity, I am going to keep this magical machine and see how it goes. However, I feel like a bit of a traitor because do I respect Bill Gates and what he’s done for those in need through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. But at the end of the day, I just need a PC that works.

Bottom Line: This taught me an important lesson. Buying cheap products to try to save a few bucks is not always the answer. And even though I had spent about double what I had initially set out to spend on a PC, at the end of the day frugality still won because what I gained was a high quality product. They way I see it, I only lost one thing…my PC headache!

Have you ever tried to cut corners on cost only to have it backfire? 

Disclaimer: This post from Our Frugal Escapades is based on our own personal opinion and the views expressed are our own. We are not affiliated with Microsoft, HP, Dell, Costco, or Apple. We are simply sharing our own personal experiences.


17 thoughts on “A Computer Melee And Why Quality Matters

  1. That sounds simply awful. I have a Lenovo lap top and so does my husband, paid just a few hundred dollars for it and it’s awesome. I store all of my documents and pictures in the cloud to save my memory and I haven’t had a problem with it. I use it to edit my cooking tutorials I make with my GoPro and publish on YouTube even. I am glad you found something that works for you and you like.

    There have been times when I tried to go cheap that didn’t work out. I can’t think of a good example for you at the moment though…ugh. I am very frugal but sometimes you get what you pay for!

    I hope the computer keeps on keeping on for you. How do you find the change to using a Mac? I am curious.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was an unusual experience for sure!

      I heard good things about Lenovo and I am happy to hear that the laptops are working well for you both. It sounds as though the Lenovo has become quite the work horse for you. If the Mac doesn’t work out (still have 13 days to return it) I will definitely check out that brand. I’ve never been one to spend money on electronic gadgets anyway! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That sucks. Incredible how dependent we are on computers/phones now! A few of my family members have made the jump to a Mac, and love it. I’m still limping along my PC laptop, but I will probably join as well when it dies.

    In regards to your actual question. We tend to buy fewer, higher quality items. We just aren’t a fan of stuff, and I hate shopping for things. Good luck with the new purchase. I’d be surprised if you guys have any problems with it. Have a great week


    1. So true about the dependency on the internet and smartphones. Happy to hear that the Mac is going well for your family members. It helps justify the decision to spend more on a computer!

      You’re a smart shopper! Less clutter, less stuff is the way to go.

      Have a wonderful week! – Mrs. FE

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Smart move on the Apple. I’ve only ever used Apple, and I get lost on Windows. We had Apple at my house and in my schools until I finished high school. Only my university didn’t have Apple. I bought my first laptop 6 years ago – a 13″ MacBook Pro, and it’s still going strong. I just changed the hard drive to an SSD, upgraded the RAM, and put in a new battery, and it’s like a new sexy computer. I’m hoping I’ll be able to get another couple years out of it. It’s expensive upfront but worth it, IMO.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have noticed that Apple products seem to be a popular brand among college campuses. My nephew is in his second year and uses Apple exclusively. It’s great to hear that the Macs last a long time seeing that I’ve never had a laptop last 6 years or more. Helps justify the cost of the computer! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I hate PC’s. I really, really do. I’ve gone through 3 in the past 2 years. I don’t buy them to save money though (because clearly this is starting to get expensive). Some programs I use for work only run on Windows, so it’s a necessity. Everything else, I use Apple.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same here! Every 2 years or so my laptop would break and I would be back at Costco looking to buy another. This is why I was able to justify the higher price tag on the Mac. It’s not worth the trouble or expense to keep investing in cheap PC’s.

      Thus far, the only thing I miss about Windows is the graphics. I think the colors were a little more vivid on Windows, but the Mac runs so much smoother and I do find it to be more user friendly. So far, so good!


      1. Alternatively, I did think about buying a Mac and running windows on it. But that seems kind of like a waste.
        I’ve pretty much resorted to using my iPad for browsing and consuming content, while using the pc for work.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I agree that it doesn’t make sense to use a Mac for Windows, especially given the higher price tag of the Macs.
        We had the same setup until I got the new MacBook. We do still use our tablet for most of our browsing though.


  5. Wow! You had some really bad luck there! I would love to try a Mac, but I’m a programmer and work with Microsoft products and technology, so it isn’t really practical for me. Good luck with yours!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This post is why I love my Mac! I’m on my second and the darn thing just works. The previous one did not actually die, but I had put it through some grueling paces and knew that I needed to save my data. The transfer was easy and I don’t have to worry about microsoft updating me out of utility.


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