Laptop Computers: What I have found over the years............... (Y.M.M.V.)

After a long string of Desktop computers, starting with the old TRS-80 Model 3 from Radio Shack back in the days when Dinosaurs roamed the planet, prices of Lappies finally came down to where I could afford one. So I got one and the fun started.

First was a Toshiba Satellite. A nice little machine but a month after I brought it home, the screen suddenly acquired a 1-inch-wide vertical bar down the middle. Fortunately, Toshibas were repairable LOCALLY and that was soon taken care of.

When it became time for another laptop, I fell for the lower prices on Acer laptop computers and I made the mistake of buying an Acer Aspire 5100. I did ONE thing right: I spent an extra $250. for 3 years of extended warranty as strongly recommended by my son Dave. He uses computers all day every day in his work. You can see all the sordid details of how this unit drove me nuts at the bottom of this page.

This Acer was such a terrible piece of garbage, that in less than 3 years, it was NOT repairable. The warranty company offered to buy me out for $475. I had little choice but to accept.

I got another Acer for a friend and it was "just OK" and nothing to brag about.

I must add here that I had bought this Acer at Staples and they were very good to work with; THEY paid for shipping it out for repairs and their technician was very good. Wish I could say the same for Acer.

Then I got an Asus EEE netbook. This was a free gift from the Royal Bank of Canada for transferring a bank account to that bank. It ran Linux and was a very nice, portable little machine, but I found it too small for me to use and gave it away.

That was followed by a Gateway netbook. I had planned to use this ONLY for learning Ubuntu and nothing else. My experience with Linux was not a roaring success (details at and soon I gave that machine away.

The next purchase was an HP netbook for a friend; it runs Windows 7 and while small, and slow, it does the trick. She mainly uses it for using Skype to talk with relatives.

Finally, to February, 2010 at least, I got an Asus K501 Series lappy. So far, it seems VERY good. I did buy a 3-year extended warranty just to be safe.


This is what I got. It has a 15.6" display, Windows 7 HP, 4Gb RAM, 500Gb HD and speed is 2.2GHz.

Here is that list of problems with my Acer Aspire 5100

OS: Windows Vista
S/N: LXAX90X0716501D1EF1601
Purchased at Staples, Grande Prairie, Alberta for $999.85 + gst.
date purchased: 03/02/2007(March 2, 2007), With 3 years' extended warranty for $249.99

Jan. 29, 2010:
The Acer would not respond to ANY input so I took it to Staples AGAIN. The technician could not do anything with it at all. He sent it off to Vancouver AGAIN.
On Feb. 9, I went to Staples to ask how my machine was doing. The technician told me that he had removed the hard drive for security purposes and then he checked online. The machine had arrived in Vancouver but they were so plugged up with work that they could not handle it and sent to Markham, Ontario where it apparently arrived Feb. 9.
On Feb. 12, Markham phoned to say it was unrepairable and offered me $475. I went to Staples and they phoned. Then Markham said $325 but I told them to bring that back to $475 and bought an Asus.

Jan. 28, 2010:
it was running fine but when I left it for an hour or two it went black. I tried to restart but it did not. Tried a second time and it went, but the mouse would not work and the sidebar took about 5 minutes to come up. Nor would the external keyboard work. "Found new hardware" came up but when I clicked it would not respond. It seems that once again, the laptop refuses to recognize ANY of the 3 USB ports. THIS HAPPENED BEFORE!!!!!!!!!! I rebooted and then all was working fine again.

January 25, 2010:
I left it for a few moments, while it was running and when I came back, there was a white screen; nothing would get rid of it; I had to hold the button down a few moments to shut down and then restart.

January 24, 2010:
it suddenly went white; nothing on screen; had to restart with button. I had been working on Zune stuff.

Acer January 23, 2010:
I booted up and got only the desktop which suddenly became a screen with vertical bars. I held the on/off button down until it shut off, then rebooted and it came up OK.
January 18, 2010:
The machine was running fine; I left it long enough for the screensaver to kick in and the monitor(s) went black. No way could I get it back up; I even left it OFF for an hour. Finally I drove it across the city to Staples, where the Teckie took out the battery and replaced it. Then it worked. That, of course, meant resetting the clock. MORE inconvenience.

January 14, 2010:
The machine quit recognizing the USB port on the side. It does provide power.

Acer January 11, 2010:
On bootup first thing in the morning, a message came up re TWO hardware problems; I was able to grab a pic of one of them.

Acer January 6, 2010:
Booted up first thing in the morning and all I got was a screen with vertical lines on it just as it did on November 27.

Acer December 19, 2009:
Booted up first thing in the morning, the desktop came up; I right-clicked an unneeded shortcut and chose "Delete" and then clicked the Firefox icon in my QLTray and I got a screen with vertical bars on in and there it stuck. I had to hold the on/off button down to shut down and then restart.
December 18, 2009:
Same as Dec. 17 except that I moved away from the machine for a few minutes and it went black; same problem.
NOTE: the screensaver is set to start after 6 minutes. When it kicks in, the screen goes black and stays black for "a minute or two" before the screensaver kicks in. During that black screen time, if I touch any key, it SEEMS like it delays the screensaver that much MORE time.

December 17, 2009:
I went out for a couple of hours; came back and the screen had gone black. Nothing would bring it back, so I had to hold down the "on/off" button until it shut down; then restart.

Acer Nov. 27, 2009:
Booted up first thing in the morning; desktop came up fine; taskbar was still loading when all went "black." Held on/off button down until everything was gone, then let it up, waited 15 seconds and pressed it again and it booted fine.
Nov. 11, 2009:
desktop came up, sidebar not; only the 3 buttons at the top showed; I clicked Firefox and email icons in the taskbar and the screens went blank. Held on/off button until it shut down, then started it again and it came up fine.

Acer Nov. 8, 2009:
I was simply typing an email when suddenly everything was gone; here is a pic of it and the external monitor.
Nov. 5, 2009:
On about Nov. 5, it would not boot. No way. I hauled over to Staples where I bought it. The man there told me that this particular machine is not very good; he told me they had had a lot of problems with that machine and Vista. Great! HE opened the case and it booted without any problem so I went home again. No idea what happened.

Acer Dec. 10, 2008:
crashed again; the SECOND TIME it had to be sent out for repairs. This time Staples paid for shipping it. I had to pay $80 to get a backup of my D drive.
November 2008:
After doing a defrag, I turned it off; next morning it would not boot.

Oct. 25, 2007:
I wrote to Acer:

Hello, Acer; I'm a "Man in Trouble" today. My "Main" computer, my Acer Aspire 5100 is broken. All was fine. I went out for dinner and came back; the screen was white and had blue vertical lines every half inch across the whole screen. I rebooted and finally got it running again but now the clock was out 2 hours and worse, my external mouse and keyboards will not work at all.

I took the machine etc back to Staples where I bought it and their expert played with it for an hour. He tells me as near as he can tell, all 3 USB ports are NOT WORKING. We tried a couple of System Restores but they did not work either., in fact, they were unable to complete. I cannot back up my data if my USB ports don't work.

From the day I bought it I've had problems with the built-in keyboard; SOMEtimes the space bar does not work when I'm typing sentences; usually it works fine.

I'm desperate. Am in Grande Prairie, Alberta. What can I do??? I cannot use the phone, my ears don't work and I have gotten rid of my phone.

When I plug in a 3.5" floppy disk drive, into any of the 3 USB ports, I get this error message: "USB DEVICE NOT RECOGNIZED One of the UB devices attached to this computer has malfunctioned, and Windows does not recognize it. For assistance in solving this problem, click this message." Well, clicking it does not help, and the man at Staples determined that there is nothing wrong with the external keyboard/mouse combo. I sent the machine away myself and that cost me $30 postage.

It seems I am not alone in finding Acer quality badly lacking:


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