Setting up a computer should NOT be this hard – A Dell Fiasco

(Last Updated On: December 4, 2015)

Not too long ago I spec’d out 2 computers for one of my colleagues who wanted everything a certain way.  That was okay.  I ordered the computer from Dell so we would get a high end workstation with 32GB of RAM, 64 bit operating system, Windows 7 Professional, a solid state drive (SSD) of 128gb for booting and a data drive with 1tb worth of storage (not a lot these days, but I thought it would do).  There were other specifications, and some I couldn’t put together on the Dell website without the help of our Dell representative.  After I had finished with the specifications We sent out the requests for the computers.  After a couple of weeks the computers came.  It took longer for our network people to activate the proper jacks and then to make them work (once they were activated the computers attached to them couldn’t get internet connectivity until they matched the MAC addresses of each computer.


I didn’t have the luxury of waiting, the end user wanted the computers set up right away.  I went to set up the first computer only to find that the monitor, which came with the computer, did not recognize that it was attached to the computer.  The computer and monitor came with a minidisplayport to displayport cable, where the mini part plugged into the monitor and the bigger end plugged into the computer.  The monitor did NOT have a VGA port or a DVI port, the computer did have a VGA port.  The monitor kept saying it was going to go into sleep mode in 5 minutes because no displayport cable had been detected.  Now I had to figure out what was going on.

A minidisplayport on an Apple Macbook



I called a colleague of mine and asked if he had ever set up a computer like this, he was nice enough to come over and help me.  The two of sat there and tried to figure out how to get this computer to work.  He suggested getting a monitor that could connect to the VGA port and see what happened from there.  Luckily I had one of those.  I attached it to the VGA port and it went right on.  Everything seemed to be okay.  When I went back to the other monitor, it still had the same problem.  after about 2 hours of fiddling around, I tried one of the membrane-type buttons on the bottom of the display.  What came up was a source menu asking if I wanted to connect with displayport (checked as default), minidisplaypport, DVI or VGA (not sure of the last two since it had neither connection, but there were 4 choices).  I chose minidisplayport, checked it as accepted and restarted the display.  I suddenly had video!!  We congratulated each other and I finished setting up the computer.

Fast-forward a month or so, I have finally gotten the IP address for the second machine and need to set it up.  The first problem was that I knew I had to do something, but I forgot what.  I played with another monitor first thinking I had to enable something in the BIOS, then I remembered and suddenly I once again had video on the correct monitor.

Being the social media geek that I am, I went onto twitter and tweeted to @DellCaresPro from my personal account.  The exchange was frustrating.  It went like this:






No “That shouldn’t happen” or something similar, just is it working now.  Okay I reported back that indeed the computers were now working after some hours of trying to figure this out and asked why there weren’t at least instructions:







Note the last comment from Dell.  “The instruction/Set-up manual for the monitor/system is available on our support site.”  Not to put to fine a point on this, but REALLY!  So I can’t get the monitor working on possibly the only system I have – HOW AM I GOING TO SEE YOUR SUPPORT SITE?

The more I think about the more I would like to shake some sense into the person tweeting this garbage.