A Laptop Gone Sour

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Last July I acquired a laptop as a business tool for several consulting projects I was doing for a local sugar mill.  I needed a laptop for my follow-up meetings and keeping all my information in one place, without having to store hundreds of papers in my home office.

After researching on the Internet for zillion of options, I finally decided on a Sony Vaio 14″ laptop of the Series E14P, Model 14A15FLB.  It’s a powerful and aesthetic electronic device.

After a few months, the customer decided to hire an in-house Comptroller, so the consulting work dried up.  Since then, I used the laptop mainly to surf the web and stream movies from Netflix.  The screen resolution was awesome and the quality of the movies was up to par.  Unfortunately, after a week or so, the computer started to act erratically.  In the middle of a movie, I would get this blue screen of death indicating that something was wrong with the operating system.  The exact message on the screen was, “A problem has been detected and Windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer.  Attempt to reset the display driver and recover from timeout failed.”  Another message was, “The ATI display driver has ceased to work correctly.”

Initially I thought the problem was at Netflix’s end, since something similar had happened with my old HP desktop.  I kept on using the laptop until I got three Windows’ blue screens of death in one day and then I knew for sure that the machine had a problem.  Since I was still covered by a service and parts guarantee of one year, I wrapped it up and drove over to Sony’s place to have it fixed.  That was on the morning of December 11, 2012.

Sony’s facilities in Panama City are very modern and comfortable, and their employees are extremely efficient and polite.  Sony operates in Panama for customer support as Grupo Proessa (www.proessa.net).

The laptop was returned on the morning of December 20, 2012, neatly wrapped in a plastic cover to protect it.  I received a document indicating that the faulty motherboard had been replaced with a new one and the bios data had been configured.  The repaired computer was guaranteed for three month, on top of the yearly guarantee that expires on July 7, 2013.

The reason I buy products in Panama instead of acquiring them from the States, is because I want to be fully covered by a local guarantee.  In this case Sony repaired the laptop free of charge.  Today I’ll be testing it, to make sure that it’s working properly.

This is the first time I’ve had a problem with a new computer.  They usually work well for several years before they fall apart and follow the Dodo into the dustbin of history.  Next time you buy a new product, make sure it’s fully covered with a reasonable guarantee.  Good Day.

4 thoughts on “A Laptop Gone Sour”

  1. Very, very good advice! And I’m glad all was fixed up for you post-haste!

    It’s time for me to do a little backing up of files. Every now and then my computer seems to make a little noise – just enough to attract my attention. This isn’t good.
    It’s like hearing that little taptaptap in a car. It’s the distant early warning system!

  2. Hi Linda:

    Those strange sounds sure sound like your system need a checkup before it goes bust. It’s a nightmare when all your files go to Neverland. I used my repaired laptop all day yesterday, and it worked fine. (A big smile on my face right now.)

    Sony gave me an excellent service. A few hours after I got home, then sent me a Customer Service Survey to my e-mail address. I like those kind gestures of concern for customers.

    BTW, what laptop do you have? Just curious. 🙂

    Kind Regards,


  3. Morning Omar,
    I know how you number-crunching types are, I am betting you just wore it out. 🙂
    Great to know you have it working again. I think the newest hardware I have is a netbook I bought last year but seldom use. I still use the HP desktop similar to the one you had years ago. It’s not the fastest and I added a 2nd hard drive for space but it serves my needs just fine. About once a year I disassemble it, blow out all the dust from the fans and heatsinks and it just keeps soldiering on. Heat is the biggest killer of all electronics so keeping the cooling air moving is vital.
    We are hoping that you and Aura, and the Twisters will have a Merry Christmas!
    jim and nena
    fort worth

  4. Morning Jim & Nena:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if I just wore the poor thing out. You know how much I like to play with these babies.

    I still have my old HP desktop. It’s almost seven years now and purring like a kitten. The day it dies, I’m sure I’ll shed a tear or two. It has been as faithful and loyal as a dog.

    I agree that regular maintenance is a wise thing to do. I don’t know how, but even though I have a closed home office, there is always dust in the air, and sure enough, it gets inside the computers.

    I appreciate all your support and words of encouragement during the year. I enjoy reading your comments and following your links.

    Likewise, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you, Nena and all your loved ones.

    Warm Regards,


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