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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  1. Vince

    ...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.

    1. joeW

      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

      1. James Micallef Silver badge

        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.

        1. Raumkraut

          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.

        2. Paul Westerman
          Thumb Up

          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!

    2. Velv Silver badge
      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.

    3. Andrew Richards

      ... 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.)

      1. Down not across Silver badge

        ... 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.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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....

        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
          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.

        2. pPPPP

          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.

          1. dogged

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

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

            1. sabroni Silver badge
              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?

              1. JLV Silver badge

                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.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              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)

        3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          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.

      2. dogged

        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?

      3. jonathanb Silver badge

        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)

      4. Terry 6 Silver badge

        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.

        -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

        ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

        Do you get it now?

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

        1. Euripides Pants Silver badge
          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...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Shoddy components

            Probably the most succinct explanation on here..

            Have a +1

      5. Piro

        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.

    5. AceRimmer

      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.

    6. Adus

      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.

      1. Stuart Castle

        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.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          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...

      2. 2Fat2Bald

        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.

    7. DrXym Silver badge

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @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.

        1. AceRimmer

          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

    8. oddie

      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...

    9. Jim Willsher

      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?

    10. Piro

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

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

  2. ATeal

    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)

    1. Richard 31

      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.

    2. Terry 6 Silver badge

      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.

      1. Sooty

        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.

  3. Dom 3

    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.

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      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

      1. Cyril Figgis

        Lol

        Try to catch me, suckers!

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

  4. Longrod_von_Hugendong
    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.

    1. Billa Bong
      Coat

      Re: So...

      You now have 3 vote options:

      - No vote [£0.00]

      - Downvote [recommended, currently selected, £2.99]

      - Upvote [£4.99]

      1. Billa Bong

        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.

      2. andreas koch
        Trollface

        @ Billa Bong - Re: So...

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

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So...

      Upvote from me too,

      Where do I send the [£4.99]?

      Do you need my pin number?

      1. MrWibble

        Re: So...

        "Do you need my pin number?"

        Just the PIN will do...

        1. Ken 16 Silver badge

          Re: So...

          Now you're taking the PI...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        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.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      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!

    4. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      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.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: So...

        @ Jason

        1.) Some things come under the heading of good customer service.

        2.) You'd be pretty pissed off if they made a big deal about fitting batteries, acted as if it was some big deal, charged you a tenner and then you found out it was a really simple thing to do and anyway the batteries are already included in the package.

    5. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: So...

      Ordinary users.

      Not stupid people. Just ordinary users. The ones who ultimately pay your wages.

      They want a computer that works well. Charging a lot of money for something very quick and simple that should be part of normal service is going beyond working for a profit. Well beyond.

  5. andreas koch
    Meh

    P. T. Barnum (allegedly) quote/ 419er motto

    If you can get away with it . . .

    You can't protect everyone from their own silliness. It might even be educational to be ripped off a few times in your life, otherwise you will depend too much on other people's sense, common or not.

    No, I don't endorse this "we'll click for you for a fiver", but you don't have to select it after all.

  6. TRT Silver badge

    But don't forget...

    Right at the start, there's a money saving option where you can for no fee select all the options yourself or for £5.00 the form will automatically complete with all the no-cost options pre-ticked. For £20.00 extra you can also select to have all the maximum cost options pre-ticked because you obviously have more money than sense.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OH NOES THINK OF THE CHILDREN

    These articles about Dell boil down to "private company ACTUALLY CHARGES MONEY for products and services they provide". I know there are a lot of freetards out there, but even they must have some sort of economic awareness. Dell charge a fee for doing work, end of. It is up to them to decide how much to charge. If you think it is too much then don't select that option.

    There have been plenty of PC builders over the years that have offered customisation options for free, I can't think of a single one that is still in business. Turns out customisation costs money, who'd 'ave thunk it aye?

    Those of you saying how easy it is and how bad Dell are for charging the fee, how about you call up dell and offer your services to their customers for cheaper? or even free if you feel that strongly about it? What's that? you need to actually be PAID properly for your time, that's just preposterous.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: OH NOES THINK OF THE CHILDREN

      "Dell charge a fee for doing work, end of."

      Don't forget to let your less tech-savvy friends and family know they're paying for a simple setting change. Flick the switch for them and earn yourself a pint. Now that's market economics.

      C.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: OH NOES THINK OF THE CHILDREN

        "Don't forget to let your less tech-savvy friends and family know they're paying for a simple setting change. Flick the switch for them and earn yourself a pint. Now that's market economics."

        If I let a less tech-savvy friend buy from Dell in the first place I wouldn't be a very good friend.

        If I went over and helped them out I'd get a few cans of larger or a take away when I'm there...probably costing more than the fiver they would pay Dell anyway.

      2. Brenda McViking

        Re: OH NOES THINK OF THE CHILDREN

        Problem is, 6 months later, they'll come back to you because you made the printer stop working. And the internet is slow. And the anti-virus expired 5 months ago.

        And it's all your fault because you were the last person to "fiddle" with it

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: OH NOES THINK OF THE CHILDREN -@Brenda McViking

          You know the same people I do. That's why I've become an un-cooperative grumpy old so and so that tells them to buy a Chromebook. (And a printer with Google cloud print.)

      3. Stephen 2

        Re: OH NOES THINK OF THE CHILDREN

        They're paying because Dell can't just send out a ready-to-roll box. They have to customise it specifically for the customer. Whether that means loading on a different image or booting it and doing the job manually. It's extra work for Dell and they're charging for that. This article is nonsense.

    2. Lamont Cranston
      Facepalm

      Re: OH NOES THINK OF THE CHILDREN

      Yes, and when the mechanically ignorant take their car to the mechanic, and he makes up a load of unnecessary work to bill them for, they should be happy to pay because it's good for the economy.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: OH NOES THINK OF THE CHILDREN

        "Yes, and when the mechanically ignorant take their car to the mechanic, and he makes up a load of unnecessary work to bill them for, they should be happy to pay because it's good for the economy."

        Totally different situation. The mechanic is defrauding you in this case, and Dell are being open and up front saying they will charge for the change. Things are only easy if you know what you are doing, or have someone to help you. They say "if you want X from us it will cost you Y" the mechanic is saying "you HAVE to have x and it will cost y, I've already done it for you cause you had to have it and now you have to pay or I will keep your car".

        Using your example it is like the car dealer charging £1500 for sat nav rather than the £200 a decent Tom Tom will cost...

        1. alun phillips

          Re: OH NOES THINK OF THE CHILDREN

          "Using your example it is like the car dealer charging £1500 for sat nav rather than the £200 a decent Tom Tom will cost..."

          Someone's bought a BMW recently.

        2. Lamont Cranston
          Happy

          Re: OH NOES THINK OF THE CHILDREN

          I think my opinion of car mechanics has been soured, ever since I bought a Service Plan from Ford. Everytime I took the car in for its service, they would offer to top up the washer fluid (for some extravagant fee). Anyone who has bothered to look under the bonnet, would know that there is no need for this, so I can only assume that Ford, like Dell in this case, were seeking to profit off of the ignorance of their customers by carrying out unnecessary work. I'm not a massive fan of that sort of practice, and so am generally in favour of the light of publicity being shone on such things, so that the general public may become more aware.

          1. MrXavia

            Re: OH NOES THINK OF THE CHILDREN

            "they would offer to top up the washer fluid (for some extravagant fee). Anyone who has bothered to look under the bonnet, would know that there is no need for this,"

            Not only that but you could fail your driving test if you did not know that, that is one possible question..

            Although I admit my answer to them if they asked how I'd check the washer fluid on my car would annoy them... The car would tell me if it needs it... Otherwise I can't even see the washer fluid container, sure there is a place to pour it.. but you can't see where it goes...

        3. Stratman

          Re: OH NOES THINK OF THE CHILDREN

          I'd say it's more like a car dealer charging £X hundred for an option like automatically folding door mirrors, when that option is merely enabled in the car's software.

        4. This post has been deleted by its author

        5. bigphil9009

          Re: OH NOES THINK OF THE CHILDREN

          I'd like to propose an amendment to Godwin's Law - all IT discussions will eventually end up with a motoring analogy. :-)

  8. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    I rewrote it for you...

    "Using your example it is like Ford, Vauxhall, Porsche, Volkwagen, Volvo, BMW etc etc charging £1500 for sat nav rather than the £200 a decent Tom Tom will cost."

    Oh... they'd never do that surely?

    1. peter_dtm

      Re: I rewrote it for you...

      or a global car hire company a coupleof years ago charging €800 for a sat nav for 2 weeks in Skanderholigan land.

      And the company beancounters agreeing that this was 'good value' despite being able to BUY a decent Europepean satnav next to the Hertz counter for about €300

  9. M7S

    It's a bit unfair to describe the potential victims as not having sense

    This is an IT site and many here are well versed in technology.

    If there was similar discussion on, say, a medical site about how to treat a minor ailment using a household item rather than an expensive medicine bought over the counter, do you think you'd like to be thought of by the medics as having no sense?

    It's a simple question of knowledge, which is rather different.

    Do we start to criticise users for not knowing the difference between POP and IMAP for their emails or not knowing the transport protocols? I'll admit I need to look these up as they're simply not part of my regular remit and I suspect I'm not the only practitioner hereabouts lacking such "basic" knowledge.

    Many industries really do stuff that any person could do with the time and knowledge, there's no particular skill. I'm sure I could change the tyres on my rims if necessary. The fact that the world is complex means that there's a demand for other people to perform such services, although one might argue over the relative costs. It doesnt mean we're all suckers.

    1. Arctic fox
      Thumb Up

      @M75 Thank you. A calm and rationally argued post.

      Not as common an occurrence as one would wish on some threads. See icon.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. JLV Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: It's a bit unfair to describe the potential victims as not having sense

      Thanks for pointing this out. We benefit from being paid to solve IT problems because we have a specialized skill. Disparaging (not merely joking about) someone for not having our particular skillset is idiotic .

      My skills at car maintenance are limited (chg tire & jumper cables are OK). A mechanic who I think is taking me for a ride won't see my biz again.

      Dell? Penny wise and dollar foolish in this age of blogs & social media with an internet that always keeps old stories around.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sometimes they screw up in your favour

    I ordered an XPS10 tablet a while back, it came with a free case. But in the options there was a case listed for 1p. Unsure whether that was the free case I decided to tick it... You guessed it, I received one tablet and two cases.

  11. Truth4u

    lol

    I don't know what's funnier, the fact that they charge for the setting to be changed, or the fact that energy profiles in windows make no appreciable difference to energy usage anyway.

    And besides running disks all the time makes them last longer so yeah I'll pay the power bill if it'll save me £100 on hard drives. I'm not busting my balls to save 5 pence on an energy bill even if the glaciers are melting. And the weather is nicer now anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: lol

      "And besides running disks all the time makes them last longer so yeah I'll pay the power bill if it'll save me £100 on hard drives"

      It really doesn't.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: lol

        Yes, discs have been designed for many, many stop/start operations for many years now. A typical Momentus drive is rated for 600 000 load/unload cycles, which at one every 5 minutes for a 10 hour day is 5000 days. It's going to die of something else first.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Re: lol

      "I don't know what's funnier, the fact that they charge for the setting to be changed, or the fact that energy profiles in windows make no appreciable difference to energy usage anyway."

      Yes they do. As anyone who's pulled a critical 30-40 minutes more out of a battery on the power saver plan will attest

      "And besides running disks all the time makes them last longer so yeah I'll pay the power bill if it'll save me £100 on hard drives. I'm not busting my balls to save 5 pence on an energy bill even if the glaciers are melting. And the weather is nicer now anyway."

      Continual activity appears to play very little part in the average lifespan of a modern hard disk. This is not the same thing as 'making them last longer' by any stretch of the imagination.

  12. graeme leggett

    late news

    I'm fairly sure that option has been there for a couple of months.

    1. gotes

      Re: late news

      It's been there for years.

  13. Hellcat

    The cost of customisation does not equal the bare cost of the actions required to implement. I thought that was basic IT budgeting 101. At Global Megacorp we give everyone the same hish-ish spec hardware not because we think you need an i7 to open your emails and make some spreadsheets, or we're generous - but because being all the same brings cost savings through the whole life of the device.

    1. Truth4u

      >> The cost of customisation does not equal the bare cost of the actions required to implement.

      Yeah but Dell only pays for the actions required to implement. YOU pay the rest.

    2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      > At Global Megacorp we give everyone the same hish-ish spec hardware not because we

      > think you need an i7 to open your emails and make some spreadsheets...

      But if you're running Lotus Notes, you *will* need that i7...

  14. David Austin

    I'm fine with it.

    It's an optional service, they're being up front for it, and some of these more obscure pre-configure options (Such as BIOS Disable Wireless) are handy when sending stuff directly to a remote office - £5 to do that at the factory is much cheaper then;

    -Sending one of our engineers out to do it

    -Pay to get it shipped to head office, then ship it to site

    -Talk a non tecchie end user through configuring options over the phone.

    You don't have to have it, but I appreciate having the options.

    Sent from a Dell latitude E6400, while configuring a Dell Venue 11, and imaging a Dell Optiplex 3020, and having a massive row with Lenovo about their warranty T'c and C's.

  15. Jim 59

    Dell

    Fair enough, it's a rip off. But just to be contrary, a techno-phobe who earns (say) £20 an hour might think it worth spending £5 to save 2 hours of his time.

    It narks me more to see Comet selling Ethernet cables for £20

    http://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/computing-accessories/accessories-and-bags/power-cables/pc-cables/sandstrom-scat61512-cat6-ethernet-cable-15m-12567143-pdt.html

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Devil

      Re: Dell

      £20? That's not right. It's far too cheap!!

      How am I going to get gold contacts and oxygen free cables for that paltry amount? I only use the finest quality cables, as recommended to me by the Comet salesman. And I bet he knows far more about computers than the commentards on here. After all, he's in a big shop with them all day...

  16. John Tserkezis

    Ah, I was a bit confused about their Firefox thing, but with this, their aim is obvious.

    They're intentionally pricing themselves out of the market.

    They just don't want to do it, and an expensive price tag is a good face-saving way to say "we don't want to do that" without actually saying "we don't want to do that" and looking like arseholes.

    Whoops, too late for that.

  17. tony72

    At least they sound like standard power profiles

    Dell used to ship some of their laptops with non-standard power profiles that did unexpected (to me anyway) things, like disabling the wired ethernet port when running on battery; sure, I can see the logic in it, but it was a serious head-scratcher that time when a customer couldn't control a piece of equipment in the field, and yet all the diagnostics I got him to run back in the office said everything was working! Personally I'd pay Dell to leave Windows default settings the fuck alone, if I need them changing, I'll change them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      Re: At least they sound like standard power profiles

      God! I thought it was just me. I took mine into a client to do a demo of NTOP (or MRTG) and found that only my wireless worked...

  18. Bottle_Cap

    Dells are ok(ish) for business use I guess as they're generally pretty cheap but I'd not touch them for a personal machine - does seem a p1sstake though..

  19. Gav

    Wrong comparison

    Hate to interrupt the Dell pile on... but just wanted to observe that comparing the simple steps needed to change settings on a booted, fully functioning Windows box, with that of a brand new machine that hasn't been through initial set up, isn't even plugged in, never mind booted, and only has a standard image pre-loaded, is pretty dumb.

    1. Billa Bong

      Re: Wrong comparison

      Ahh, so are you suggesting that they're charging a fiver just for using a different build disk image or install process and that no human intervention is required? That certainly adds weight to the charge. No... wait...

  20. mhoulden
    FAIL

    Money for Old Rope

    Windows 7+ comes set up to use the balanced power profile anyway unless you change it, so I'm not entirely sure why Dell charges extra to make sure it's switched on. Actually I think tricks like this are part of the reason why laptops and tablets have become a lot more popular than desktops. Most people just want something for browsing the web, checking up on email, or catching up on work. They don't want to have to connect all kinds of things or be faced with a load of options that they might not understand. Much easier to buy a sealed box that's likely to do more or less everything you want and just needs plugging in to the mains to be ready to use. People with more specialist requirements (like gamers) are more likely to either build something themselves or go to a more niche supplier that lets them specify exactly what they want. Dell's real market is large corporates wanting to order hundreds of machines with maintenance contracts so I think they're trying to discourage consumers by making it as awkward as possible without actually telling them to go away.

  21. Piro

    Not as good as the Dell Latitude 3340 Education

    Check it out, there are options for the OS that will cost you hundreds of thousands of pounds!

  22. ID10T

    So it appears that with this and the Firefox fiasco earlier in the year, Michael Dell is doing everything he can to make his money back for privatising Dell again.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Extra £9.55

    Seeing as I pay my man £5 for each click he makes when browsing the web for me that's cost me an extra £9.55

  24. Trollslayer Silver badge

    5 seconds

    One click during the system configuration procedure that will be done remotely.

    I have to agree with David Austin's point about supplying to non technical users though.

  25. RAMChYLD

    Reminds me of two years ago when my sis blew a huge chunk of money (almost four thou) on a Latitude without consulting me. When I pointed out to her that other brands with the same specs costs under two thou, she defended her choice by pointing out it has a backlit keyboard, and apparently backlit keyboards are a fashion statement now. I was dumbfounded, but well, it's her money in the end and she bought the darn thing without asking me first.

    And it doesn't even have a good video chipset! Only an Intel GMA!

    Also, My mom had an XPS notebook. The NVidia made video chipset burnt out, and from what I can gather it was a widespread problem and there is a mass recall, but only in the US. Sucks to be in Malaysia, where the only option offered was pay three thousand for extended warranty (coincidently, the problem started exactly after the warranty has expired). Told customer care that they can go fly a kite. Took it to a computer repair store and it can't be repaired because the damn graphics chipset is not replaceable. I got my mom a MSI after that and we've had no problems with that notebook since.

  26. This post has been deleted by its author

  27. bigtimehustler

    And remember, they don't actually spend a minute changing this setting per PC, they simply have a config profile that gets included when the OS is installed. So actually, it probably took them 5 minutes, only once. Now if you divided that number by the total times the option was selected, you would get your real time taken.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dell experience

    I've dealt with plenty of Dell desktops over my years with this company. All the hardware failures - save two - have been after the warranty expired (we've usually had 3 years). And in those two I had a new harddrive out of them within 24 hours.

    As to performance, I've had performance drop off over the years but nothing not explainable by more recent versions of software expecting more and more resources (or just being Sage Accounts).

    As to purchasing Dells, I used to buy through the website, but I now buy via a well-known distributor. I may not get to play around with the various options but I get a price quickly, place the order easily and get the kit no later, and sometimes quicker than if I'd used Dell's website.

    Perhaps I've been lucky.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But they don't actually do this...

    See several comments on here saying things like "they are a business" and "I charge for my labour, so do they" kind of things.

    But the thing is, with this, along with the Firefox issue, they don't actually unbox your PC, boot it up, and install Firefox / change power settings / anything else.

    They have disk images for all of these things, and as your PC makes it way through, they just deploy the appropriate image on to it depending on the selections you made.

    So charging for any of these options is cheeky as anything - the only things they can legitimately charge extra for is for products that have a cost attached - Office, AV, etc etc.

  30. Chad H.

    We have asked Dell for a response, but the tech titan has not yet replied.

    Well, the £4.55 probably covers teh cost for them to delete the email you sent....

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Haven't these retards heard of scripts!

    All it takes is an automated system to run a Powershell script on the machine after the OS is imaged onto the machine e.g. using something like Chocolatey!

  32. TechnicalBen Silver badge
    Pint

    "£5 customisation fee"

    There fixed it for you. Now where is my £5/pint for doing a job that no doubt an entire department has failed to succeed at?

    Come on, I know Dell want more cash for less work, and sometimes a customer is happy to pay for some customisation. But really, how hard is it to meet in the middle here so both parties are happy? Oh wait, I forgot, if it's not billions of profit, the company is never happy?

  33. TheVoiceofReason

    Never EVER Buy Dell Direct!!

    Dell's system configs are full of gotchas that will soon see the cost of your equipment increase unnecessarily if you are not live to them. Dealing with Dell Direct has further pitfalls - dealing directly with any of the major vendors if a huge business error. If something goes wrong you'll either have to pucker up and take the hit, vent your rage on social media or waste your valuable time battling with contact centre staff who are paid to frustrate and befuddle you.

    Dell kit is actually pretty good and has come on strongly over the last few years. Buy via a partner. It will be cheaper and if they are any good they will sort out any issues for you.

  34. 2Fat2Bald

    Well, it's easy for people in the IT industry to moan and groan about it. But you have to remember, we're all knowledgable. You and I know it's a five minutes job to install Firefox. We probably also know that Dell image all these PCs, and customer software options may be entirely automated, based on what the customer ticks (so Dell Staff don't do anything at all to install it once they've added it to the software database!).

    But so what? - why do you work in the the IT industry? Because you have skills and knowledge you can sell for a price. That's why you are worth more than the legal minimum wage - your employement comes with added benefits or value. Dell are just doing the same thing. The fact that there is more knowledge involved than effort doesn't mean to say they can't charge for it.

    Would *I* tick that box? - NO! Not on your nelly. But think about this - I ordered some trousers (Pants, if you're American) online the other day and I ticked the box for some buttons for braces (suspenders, if you're American). I paid extra because i'm not a good tailor, and I wanted the buttons attached by someone who was a good tailor. So I paid several quid for buttons and thread that probably costs a few pence, and the expertise of the tailor in installing them. Because I want good trousers and don't want to spend the evening pricking my fingers attempting to do it for myself.

    What Dell is doing is not different from that. They're not "mugging" anyone, just offering to do something for them for a price. If you think it's worth it, great. If you don't, go without and do it yourself.

  35. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    I'd like to see anyone carefully unbox a PC, connect it to power, a keyboard, mouse & VDU (assuming a desktop), boot it up, change the settings, shut it down and then re-box it in a minute. I reckon 10 minutes would be *really* pushing it, and 15 is more realistic. Booting up and shutting down alone would take 5 minutes. So £20 per hour for a technical service. Less than the average plumber.

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