I bought a Dell Studio 15 from PC World in August. It runs Vista. This documents my adventures.

Norton Anti-Virus

I bought and installed Norton Anti-Virus. I didn’t renew when the subscribtion ran out


I downloaded

  • Firefox
  • Thunderbird
  • Opera
  • Pidgin, I downloaded this from the http://www.pidgin.im. My experience with versions post v 2.0.1 are quite poor, so this is not installed, but I must ensure v2.0.1 is on the machine. I am advised by a Vista user that this experience is also the case on Vista.

Microsoft Office

I installed Microsoft Office Student Edition 2003. (Do I need Star/Open Office, or the ODF). I tried to run Office Update from the Microsoft site and got the ‘You are not using a sufficiently up to date version of IE n.b. this is Vista.’. I think I fixed this by amending the firewall rules, and using IE, not Firefox. Doh!.


In order to move the files from one machine to another, I needed to establish a LAN connection behind the home appliance firewall.

The interface is different and finding the buttons was a complete crock. I am not sure how we fixed this. The XP boxes could see the new Studio 15’s exports, and I connected to it. The next time I looked the ‘connect to network disk’ button was on the ‘My computer’ dialogue box, and it could see all the exporting computers, although I still can’t browse the disks and printers. It may have been tuning the firewall rules that did this.

I found these resources

both specific to Vista and from microsoft.com. The reality is that I don’t know how we fixed this, and since we can’t browse the devices, its still not fixed.

Week Two problems

The Fan has kicked in, the back lite switches are not working and even some keyboard buttons need to be pressed really hard.

Dell Forums seems to recognise the problem. It might need a BIOS upgrade, also I will need to document how to use the power economy control panel applet.

  • Dell Forums >> General Hardware >> “Studio 15 fan”

So the problem is defined as

  • Fan exceedingly noisey
  • back lite keys don’t work
  • intermittent failure on the keyboard
  • mouse touchpad doesn’t seem to work

I couldn’t find someone on the support team chat, so rang them. He downloaded new copies of the general utilities, touchpad driver, intel chipset and the BIOS.The drivers are on the front support page after one types on the Service Tag. He installed them and rebooted. Everything seems fine. The fan is quiet and everything seems to be working.I was told that there is no Firmware Upgrade solution at Dell.  I ,(well, Dell Support), installed new BIOS today. V A05. (20 Sep 2008)

I believe the computer fell into a bad state after a windows upgrade download.

Sound Quality

This is a bit poor for a Laptop advertised as a multi-media lifestyle machine.

I need to see if there are any better drivers, or if this is as good as it gets

Hardware Repairs

I took this to Disking after a Keyboard/Pinot Grigio interface scenario. They charged £69 quid + parts for the repair, which since both the computer and its parts were no longer supplied by Dell and they got everything they needed, this was a result. In particular, at the time, Dell’s replacements were very ugly, we were please to have the machine repaired. NB Damage through spillage is accidental damage and not derangement. This means it should be covered by most household insurance policies.

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