Multiple Technical Issues - Hardware or Software?

Michael Paulmeno

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About a year and a half ago (December 2012) my dad got me a Gateway NE56R34U laptop. It runs Windows 8.1 64 bit and worked fine until recently. About two months ago the hard drive began failing so I replaced it.

Then after working for a month things began to go wrong. One day the laptop began working extremely slowly. Upon restart it would not boot correctly. At first the screen went dark after the Gateway splash screen. Somehow I got past that (can't remember how), to the log in screen. But Windows wouldn't load when I tried to log in. Then the mousepad (and the keyboard, but that problem was unique to the log in screen) quit working.

Thankfully I have a Windows 8 64-bit cd around (long story). But I could not use system restore. An error message popped up saying something in the registry was corrupted. Reverting to a system image taken after installing the new hard drive (and stored on an external hard drive) would not work for a similar reason. Even booting into safe mode would not work.

Eventually I reinstalled Windows 8 again and now everything seems to be fine. The only lingering issue is the mousepad refuses to work. I had a USB mouse plugged in during install and in the past that caused the same issue. Usually installing the drivers fixed it, but that is not the case.

Do you think the above issues were software related? Was it malware? I had installed Avast Free Edition, but may have forgotten to add a firewall. Or does my laptop have a hardware issue with perhaps the motherboard?
 

Diox55

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Feb 21, 2014
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Yeah, that's why I tend to stay away from gateway. They are nothing but trouble, if you wanted too you could give me a budget and I'll find you a laptop?
 

Michael Paulmeno

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My preference is to spend not much more than $500 -$600. Unfortunately all the laptops which top those "best of" lists put out by CNET, Laptopmag, PCmag, etc feature devices north of $1000 which presents a problem for me. I am looking for a quality machine which will not break the bank since I tend to travel quite a bit.

My needs are relatively modest. Having sworn off replacing my desktop PC with a laptop, the latter is used for travelling, presenting at conferences, and occasional work related tasks. For example it may be necessary to access the VPN and remote desktop into my work computer or troubleshoot our server via RDP while on the road. An optical drive is a must since I sometimes play DVDs on my laptop. Also I get a generous amount of time off around the holidays and could end up spending a week or two away from home. Hence the need for something more robust than a tablet. My apologies if that comes off the wrong way, but I just want to explain my situation and avoid confusion.
 

Diox55

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http://www.bestbuy.com/site/ideapad-ultrabook-15-6-laptop-6gb-memory-1tb-hard-drive-graphite-gray/1306017532.p?id=mp1306017532&skuId=1306017532&st=categoryid$pcmcat259400050000&cp=1&lp=10#tab=buyingOptions

This is a light laptop (around 4 pounds), has an i5 and 6 gigs of ram. Also has a 1 TB (terabyte) hard drive and a 24 gig ssd.

Edit-

http://www.amazon.com/Dell-Inspiron-Ultrabook-keyboard-Bluetooth/dp/B00HA2I4B8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398433996&sr=8-1&keywords=dell+ultrabook

This Dell is also nice. Same i5 and ram, but half the hard drive space, but a 32 gig ssd. Also has a backlit keyboard.
 

Michael Paulmeno

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The Dell does look very nice. It has a slightly better graphics card and a 10/100/1000 ethernet port plus 4 USB 3.0 ports. Also the hard drive can always be swapped out later.

We have Dells at work and I have few complaints. There customer service is great as well although there are rumors floating around that they plan to sell off their desktop and laptop operations to the Chinese which makes me worried.
 

Michael Paulmeno

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I will have to do some thinking. In that respect the Lenovo is better because there does not seem to be a limited supply plus it has free shipping. Either way thank you for all of your help, Diox.
 

Diox55

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No problem. If you have any more questions pm me

 

orlbuckeye

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Personally I think it's a software issue since you said it's working no with a OS re-install. Sounds like windows got corrupted somehow. Now the re-install didn't work I would agree it's hardware. Looking at that laptop it's less then 500 so it's made with components that are cheaper. Nothing in that laptop is made by Gateway so you could have the same issue with any 450 dollar laptop. It's just most companies don't make 450 dollar laptop except the lower price brands Acer - Gateway or HP - Compaq.
 

Michael Paulmeno

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But what about the mousepad issue? There were three drivers on Gateway's website and none of them worked. Of course it could just be a bad mousepad which doesn't help since it's not replaceable. Either way it may be time for a new one if I can find the funds. Time will tell.
 

Michael Paulmeno

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Well I'm not saying I won't buy a new one. The mousepad issue is rather annoying and the ones you found are much better than my Gateway. It's a matter of corralling the funds as money trees sadly do not grow in the presence of oxygen. In the mean time I can use the old one for a bit while I think things over.

As an aside, the problem machine replaced an old Toshiba Satellite from ca.2002. It's still at my dad's house and still works like new. So clearly some new equipment is needed.
 

Diox55

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That isn't really a better deal. Just because it has an i7 in it, and the ones I linked have an i5 doesn't mean its better. You've got to take into consideration what his needs are. The Dell for example, has an 8 in 1 card reader and a backlit keyboard. The lenovo also has a card reader in it but no backlit keyboard.
 

Michael Paulmeno

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Dealwise I have to agree with Diox that it isn't necessarily better. The computer is superior - Gigabit ethernet (not that such a network will ever grace my part of the world with its presence although I do travel), 4-cell battery, newer processor. But the few customer reviews on Newegg and Amazon are less than stellar. A backlit keyboard is not terribly important for me. My Dad has had mixed experience with ASUS with one laptop dying an early death and another still working.

I am definitely leaning away from the Dell since the supply is limited and I have to actually pay for shipping (Prime Member here). Plus that 1 TB HDD on the other two is attractive.
 

Michael Paulmeno

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Diox that is one impressive laptop for the price. Only thing is it has no DVD drive. My Windows disks are optical media and I did find them useful in the past few months. Conceivably I could create some sort of recovery USB drive, however or buy a USB DVD drive. I definitely want this machine.

On the other this Dell laptop would also suit my needs: http://www.amazon.com/Dell-Inspiron-15-6-Inch-touchscreen-i15RVT-6195BLK/dp/B00HRO37UC/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1398780809&sr=1-2&keywords=Dell+Inspiron+15.6-Inch+Touchscreen+Laptop . It is not impressive, but has a good battery, decent storage space, a DVD drive, and four USB ports. There is no SD card reader, but USB plugin models are available should the need arise. For travel and presentations it is all I actually need. Keep in mind that the more impressive the machine the more I will "need" it. Following CNET's rule of not buying too much laptop, it doesn't make sense to buy a top end machine since it will mainly be an extension of my desktop and not a replacement for it. Reliability is also a key factor so I am looking for a quality brand.

This Lenovo is also good: http://www.amazon.com/Lenovo-IdeaPad-15-6-Inch-Laptop-59406709/dp/B00HIYA9ZM/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1398780679&sr=1-2&keywords=Lenovo+G580.


 
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