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back to article Dell charges £5 to switch on power-saving for new PCs (it takes 5 clicks)

Dell appears to be charging its customers almost a fiver to select power settings when it sells them a computer. Screenshot of Dell's purchasing page with the option to switch on power-saving settings Conserve power for a fiver and, what, save the rainforest? My, what a bargain! (click to enlarge) A reader wrote in to tip …

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...and sadly Dell continue to be used by people. I have no idea why.

The kit is shoddy and often unreliable, the prices inflated, the performance is poor (when compared to the same base components chosen elsewhere - I have real world experience of this) and they generally suck.

Yet all too often I still see room full upon room full of Dell kit turning up.

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Their laptops are pretty solid for business use. Their desktops, less solid - power supply failures are a regular thing. Maybe if more people paid them a fiver to change the power settings then their PSUs would last longer?

- Sent from my work-provided Optiplex 7010

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Joke

Ah, see, you missed the point here. Dell is actually being run by Michael O'Leary :)

The base price is REALLY cheap. But to actually get something useful you need to pay for all the "add ons". And it works, because sadly there are bean counters out there who still see only the base price and not the TCO.

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... because some of it it actually quite good: Latitude D630 here: solid machine, never had an issue despite some on the road abuse (being dropped , flooded with coffee, etc.) Daily use for 7-8 years and will only be replaced when absolutely necessary. (Experience of Inspiron laptop for a client quite the reverse; caveat emptor, etc.)

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Anonymous Coward

Shoddy components

Never found a Dell PC/laptop that haven't had problems with. Be it PSUs stopping working, touchpads being flaky, crap build quality, you name it.

Install Linux and get those power saving options for free.

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Some of it is quite good - like my Dell XPS 15 - L421x... or my old Precision M65 laptop which after 6 years of on the road contractor misuse has been re-purposed as a media center for the living room TV

Most of Dells image problem stem from clients purchasing the cheapest kit possible even if it isn't fit for purpose.

Written from a very very crappy Lenovo "ThinkCentre" that barely manages to run Visual Studio and Excel at the same time.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Install Linux and get those power saving options for free.

And bleed random 64k chunks of memory to anyone who can see your ip address. Some people need their pcs to be slightly more secure than that....

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Re: Shoddy components

> Install Linux and get those power saving options for free

Or install Windows and get those power saving options for equally free.

This machine comes with Win8.1 so...

Right-click Start button -> Select Power Options -> Pick a power option from a list.

Good luck with doing it your way, AC, which is (assuming Ubuntu)

install a Linux -> right-click on the right-hand side of the screen (assuming Gnome or Unity) -> Control Center(sic) -> Hardware -> Power Management -> Alter individual settings, no profiles

So much easier for the end user, right? Right?

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Trollface

Re:

"Some people need their pcs to be slightly more secure than that...."

Exactly! That is why they don't install Windows...

Pot meet kettle.

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Re: Install Linux and get those power saving options for free.

>And bleed random 64k chunks of memory to anyone who can see your ip address. Some people need their pcs to be slightly more secure than that....

I had an affected version of OpenSSL running on my Windows PC upstairs until I patched it the other day. Are you trying to tell me it was actually safe all along?

Granted, the other guy held out the bait, but you did bite.

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Re: Install Linux and get those power saving options for free.

Out of interest, why did you install OpenSSL on a Windows box?

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I work in the games industry, and we used to use Dell Workstations for several years, upgrading every couple of years.

In our last upgrade cycle, our IT Department built the machines from scratch, things have been a lot better since then and the machines end up being cheaper.

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I've owned 3 or 4 Dells over time and used countless of them in the workplace. Can't say I've ever been disappointed by them in their own right. I have an XPS at home which is going on 4 years old and is still functioning away the same as the day I bought it aside from fitting a new PSU which I bought to power a new GPU.

The worst I can say of the hardware, is don't buy a Dell if you ever anticipate wanting to switch out the motherboard or CPU. They use proprietary sizes in their cases and it will all end in tears.

The checkout process is horrible though - a procession of pages selling grossly overpriced peripherals, upgrades and assorted other crap to nickel & dime you before finally reaching the checkout. As a rule virtually everything from memory, SSDs and all the rest can be obtained from elsewhere for a lot less money.

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I only ever had one Dell, a top-spec Inspiron 9300. Was delivered promptly, no issues for 6-7 years and was still plenty powerful enough even at the end of it's life.

One of my old workplaces also used Dells, again no issues with their laptops which were significantly cheaper than the competition (IBM, Toshiba etc) and fast and reliable. Bit plastick-y build but this was just image, never an issue.

Yes, charging for this setting or installing Firefox is nuts, and for tech-savvy Register members it's unthinkable that any user would think if paying for that. However surely there are some tech-illiterate people who don't like mucking about with settings, for whom paying £5 to set a setting is value for money.

After all, if you're a hot-shot lawyer-type making £1000s/hr, it's anyway cheaper to pay Dell £5 to fix a setting than it would be for you to take 30 minutes of Googling to find out how you can do those 5 clicks yourself.

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I still have an old 2006-era "high-end" Inspiron, which I keep around in case of emergency. Had to fire it up just last year, in fact, when my primary machine died. Still worked just fine with an old Kubuntu installed on it.

Wesnoth kept me sane in those dark days waiting for the new machine to be delivered.

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Yep, Dell works for me

On my 2nd XPS desktop at home and Optiplex & Latitude for the last few years at work. Decent value/performance, no failures. My next machine will be a Dell!

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I have a Dell netbook from about 3 years ago that has been on pretty much 24/7 since it was bought.. uptime is usually about a month or so, before a forced restart to install win7 patches... i could probably uncheck the auto-restart but can't be bothered to spend time on it to be honest.. besides at least it means my win7 installation is kept up to date...

have a triple head monitor setup of Dell Screens as well... more inputs than you can shake a stick at (including component, hdmi, dvi, displayport, vga, composite.. can't remember if they have S-Video or not...), wide gamuts, even colours, never had a problem with a single one of them.. they _are_ getting a bit old now, but as long as nothing breaks Im happy?

Now I might be the only person in the world who's Dell kit works without a hitch, but at least the anecdotal evidence for the quality of their goods goes both ways...

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Trollface

Re: Out of interest, why did you install OpenSSL on a Windows box?

Wanted to bleat about windows being insecure so had to install something open source on it?

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Totally disagree. Over the last 10 years we've bought hundreds of Dell desktops and laptops, and about 20 Dell servers. We used to opt for the 5 year warranty on them, but after a few years we stopped as we realised we'd never needed the warranty. Now we just get 5 year warranty on the servers as that also covers replacement SAS driver.

We've had to use a warranty once, after 4.8 years, for a failed PSU.

We're running about 130 Dells at the moment, a mixture of XP (ahem...only for another 10 days), Vista, 7, 8, SBS 2011, 2008 R2, 2012. No problems with any of them,

Shoddy? Unreliable? Certainly not in our experience. We'd never go anywhere else. Yes you pay a slight premium, but what price reliability?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Install Linux and get those power saving options for free.

"Out of interest, why did you install OpenSSL on a Windows box?"

You don't always know - for example:

C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation\openssl.exe

(Doesn't appear to be vulnerable to Heartbleed)

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Re: Shoddy components

The power options are free on Windows as well.

Written on my Galaxy Note 2 (as everyone else is telling us what machine they are using)

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@DrXym

"As a rule virtually everything from memory, SSDs and all the rest can be obtained from elsewhere for a lot less money."

But your warranty will be invalidated and the SOGA won't help you.

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Re: Shoddy components

AC.

"Install Linux and get those power saving options for free".

FFS. Can you not read! Or are you so far up your own arse with Linux that you see everything as a Windows fail.

They *are* already free in Windows.

Dell is NOT supplying a new feature, it's charging its customers a lot of money to set up a Windows setting.

Did you not undestand this?

I'll explain it very simply to you. No big words.

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Dell make users pay to have the buttons clicked as part of set-up.

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Do you get it now?

And BTW those users are the last that are going to be using any kind of Linux.

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Re: @DrXym

"But your warranty will be invalidated and the SOGA won't help you."

Dell don't (or at least didn't) invalidate your warranty for opening your own equipment and swapping components.

Of course if its the new component that causes the problem then you're on your own.

They even supply manuals on how to take your stuff apart. Here's the OWNERS manual for mine direct from Dell, notice the emphasis on owner not engineer.

ftp://ftp.dell.com/Manuals/all-products/esuprt_laptop /esuprt_xps_laptop/xps-15-l521x_Owner%27s%20Manual_en-us.pdf

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Windows

Re: Shoddy components

"Dell make users pay to have the buttons clicked as part of set-up."

Actually, Dell doesn't "make users pay", they can choose to accept the standard configuration for free. What Dell is doing is offering a configuration service that is outside their standard manufacturing process. This introduces administrative and logistical overhead which costs more than the actual minute for some goob on the production floor to click a few things in the Control Panel.

Are they taking advantage of stupid people? Yes.

Should they be vilified? Maybe.

Do I work for Dell? No.

Let the downvotes begin...

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Re: Shoddy components

Probably the most succinct explanation on here..

Have a +1

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... because some of it it actually quite good: Latitude D630 here: solid machine, never had an issue despite some on the road abuse (being dropped , flooded with coffee, etc.) Daily use for 7-8 years and will only be replaced when absolutely necessary. (Experience of Inspiron laptop for a client quite the reverse; caveat emptor, etc.)

Couldn't agree more about the D630. Especially the one with intel graphics and high(er)-res screen. Utterly solid. Wifi, bluetooth, mobile data (just slot in SIM card), proper keyboard unlike the new chicklet crap and very importantly a real serial port at the back. The versions with nvidia graphics allegedly aren't quite as reliable.

As for replacing, there are still some fairly solid ones appearing occasionally on eBay. Keep meaning to stock up an a spare one or two.

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Where I work, we used to build our own PCs. We were able to do it relatively cheaply, and they were normally better spec than PCs we bought it.

The trouble is, where I work, the company likes to buy things in because that gives us all sorts of protection in the event something goes wrong (warranties, legal rights etc), and, in the event something really goes badly wrong, someone we can sue.

That and the fact that we are increasingly buying Macs, and we have to obey the terms of any software licences we use, so Hackintoshs are out (the OSX licence forbids running OSX on hardware that is not Apple branded).

Regarding what Dell are doing, I am not defending them because I think what they are doing is at best wrong and at worst, a con, but they aren't the first computer company to do this. I read a story while doing my degree that to upgrade the storage space on one ICL mainframe, you needed to call an Engineer. All the Engineer did was flick a switch and activate the read heads on the other side of the discs.. Another example of how the computer industry can sometimes scam people. Where I work now, we used to have a lot of Sun workstations. To replace the CDRom in these usually cost around £500 to £600. These were generic CDRoms with a different firmware and slightly different interface (IIRC). Had we been able to use normal CDRoms, they would have cost us about £150-£200 at the time.

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That sounds like a fun place to work. Video games and people actually making, fixing and tinkering with computers, rather than simply swapping boxes every few years.

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Dell is still a good choice, that's all there is to it.

Doesn't mean it's a perfect choice, but what is?

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Re: Shoddy components

That's odd. I have a Dell Latitude D800 that I use for car diags (Pentium M 2GHz, Radeon 9600 Pro Turbo, 1920x1200 screen, 2GiB RAM, Windows 7) that has been in my boot sliding around for ages, yet still works just fine every time I power it up. That must be a ten year old model.

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Time Computers

used to lock the modem drivers to their ISP Supanet.

It was no mean feat for a non techie to disable this lock.

Took me a few attempts as the restore disk simply reintoroduced the locked driver.

Caused ructions that did.....Specially for me as the in store techie!!!

Guess who took the brunt of the customers frustration...

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Re: Install Linux and get those power saving options for free.

> Some people need their pcs to be slightly more secure than that....

As opposed to MSWindoes, I suppose???? HA, didn't realize you were such a comedian.

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JLV
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Re: Out of interest, why did you install OpenSSL on a Windows box?

>bleat... so had to install something open source

OK, I'll bite. What's wrong with installing OSS software on Windows? If I work with Python, Apache & ANSI SQL then the main difference I perceive from OS to OS is my text editor and the presence/absence of a bash shell.

Contrast that to wondering how long MS flavor of the month API/tool is gonna stick around. And depending on tools that only run on Windows.

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Those cheap bastards!

This isn't quite as bad as the firefox thing though, I had a HP laptop (first year of Windows 7, also when I switched to Linux) and it came with all kinds of crap like "HP-Fotosmart" or some nonsense. I thought at the time "Has anyone ever gone: 'Hmm... And tell me, does it come with Fotosmart?'?"

That aside, later when I went to reinstall Windows much to my disappointment HP Fotosmart was on the recovery disk.

Surely they have an image with firefox they can use, and each hard disk has a serial number, there must be a quick and automated way to make windows images and copy them onto the hard disk (isn't that what they do somewhere?).

If they don't, can't you write a script that looks at some sort of serial number then asks Dell for any custom configurations? Plug in LAN when you're testing it before packing, script uses Python with a socket and a raw HTTP request with the serial number in the header, gets instructions back!

It'd be a one file script (depending on config options)! Have it set the power thing and invoke the Windows wget to get the firefox installer.... is that too hard?

That's what I would do, any reason why they don't? (I've never touched batch scripts and stuff though...)

(I honestly can't believe humans install firefox and set the settings)

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Re: Those cheap bastards!

They wouldn't even need that much. MS System Center can automate all of this for you. It would be trivial for them to use this at build stage.

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Re: Those cheap bastards!

The one reason I might opt to get a Linux machine out of the box, sans Windows, is that it would save getting rid of all the crapware that comes with a new Windows machine from a major supplier..

Particularly since it's virtually impossible to work out which bits might actuallybe useful or (more to the point) essential, because most of the crap comes with names that make it impossible to work out what the F*** they're even meant to do.

[It also rather defeats the object of having the stuff there in the first place, of course.]

I'm pretty OS agnostic. As far as I'm concerned an OS is there to make the programmes work with data. That's all. As long as they can show me the data and programmes I want when I want it I'm happy.

Anything that gets in the way, hides the things I want or makes things happen unexpectedly just annoys me. (Yes Windows 8 I'm pointing at you).

I'd have been happy with Win 3.1 or 98b if nothing had changed.

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Re: Those cheap bastards!

The one reason I might opt to get a Linux machine out of the box, sans Windows, is that it would save getting rid of all the crapware that comes with a new Windows machine from a major supplier..

Can't remember if it was dell or not, but I read a while ago about one of these suppliers charging extra to not install all the crapware.

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feh.

I liked my ex-corporate Latitude ultra-portable that I bought another - now 5.5 years old, still going strong with Linux Mint. Another year or so I expect I'll get another.

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Re: feh.

I bought a Dell from the supermarket (cheap throw away) with win7. Ran too slow to do anything with (good spec for XP tho I reckon) but the laptop seems pretty good for a cheap thing. I too put mint on it which runs at a very usable speed and I am more than happy with the lappy.

I do get irritated when dell tries to release a linux system and then hits all sorts of bugs and problems. I dont seem to have any problems with linux working from a base install while I have to find driver disks just to get an internet connection on windows.

*Not knocking windows btw, they are very different OS's for different purposes

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Lol

Try to catch me, suckers!

-Written on a rig I built, because fuck yo shit

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WTF?

So...

As mentioned before, Dell is a company that sells things, for *profit*. I work the same way, you want me to do something its going to cost you. A business exists to make money.

If you don't want to pay don't select it. Its not like you are being *forced* to do it.

I know its punishing stupid people a bit, but there you go, welcome to a free market economy.

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Coat

Re: So...

You now have 3 vote options:

- No vote [£0.00]

- Downvote [recommended, currently selected, £2.99]

- Upvote [£4.99]

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Re: So...

Sorry, couldn't resist. It does bring to my mind all the useless stuff Dell tried to sell me in the past by making stuff that was of little help default selected and chargeable.

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Trollface

@ Billa Bong - Re: So...

I like your post, but I'm too stingy.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So...

Upvote from me too,

Where do I send the [£4.99]?

Do you need my pin number?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So...

As a contractor I would spend the day up-voting you a 100 times and still be richer by the end of the day!

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Re: So...

"Do you need my pin number?"

Just the PIN will do...

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WTF?

Re: So...

I buy an electronic product and the sales staff offer to sell me a set of batteries for £5 and for £10 will even fit them.

I can say yes or I can say no.

I don't really see the problem.

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Re: So...@notauser

Why - is he going to get the £4.99 out of the ATM machine?

This post brought to you from the Dept. of Redundancy department.

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