The old Dell machine was getting pretty sluggish, and now that Microsoft has announced end-of-life for Windows 7, it was time to look at an upgrade.

We have had pretty good luck with Dell equipment, and after a quick survey of the desktop market (the wife decided she really didn’t need to switch to a laptop), we decided to stay with them.

The Purchase

Dell’s online purchase experience was underwhelming. We purchased a new monitor and an Inspiron desktop. The Submit button popped up a new window which ran a spinner for a few moments, and then the purchase was completed. I got an e-mail confirmation in about 2 minutes, and about 10 minutes after that I got an automated fraud alert phone call from my credit card company. I made the purchase on a Sunday (first mistake), so nobody in Dell’s payment department was available. The Discover folks were on the job however, so I got the fraud alert cleared, and we denied the transaction. Well done, Discover.

On Monday, after burning about 2 hours bouncing around various India-based Dell customer service departments, I finally talked to a guy in Payments who was able to call up my Dell account, review the order and manually submit the purchase. This time the credit card approved the transactions. Yes, transactions, plural. One purchase transaction for the monitor, and one for the desktop. Sheesh.

Delivery

The monitor arrived in 5 days, via FedEx Ground. (I did get free shipping, BTW.) The desktop was originally scheduled for 11/25, I got email that it had shipped and would arrive on 11/18. That date came and went, no delivery. The status went back to Pending, and the hardware finally arrived on 11/21. Let’s hope the installation goes better.

Installation

IT Tip: This time of year, your new equipment has been hanging out in a cold warehouse/loading dock/delivery vehicle/front porch for God knows how long. You need to let your new toy come up to room temperature and humidity for 24 hours (or at least overnight) before applying power. I learned this the hard way after blowing up a frozen power supply capacitor on a CRT monitor that had just come in from the loading dock. My boss at the time was not amused.

The smoke test stuttered a bit, as the machine seemed to need multiple reboots to get itself on the air. But otherwise, no problems.

I decided to set up a Microsoft account, and in fact it was kind of mandatory; the local user is set to my registered email address, for example. There is a PIN option that can be used as a “password”, so I set that up. I did not like the mandatory date of birth that was required when setting up the account. The first question my doctor’s office asks is “what is your date of birth”, so it’s a privacy item that I do not like to pass around. My MS account has a DOB, but it’s a “custom” bit of data. Harumph…

So I’m coming up to speed on Windows 10. It’s a nice looking UI, but we’ll see how it performs over time. I notice that Windows 10 seems to assume you are using a mobile device in some places. Not a show stopper, but interesting. Dell has the usual “bloatware” installed, so I’m working my way through the app uninstall process. But for now, the new PC is up and running.