Minor Dell WTF



  • I'm looking at buying a new laptop and wanted to get one with a genuine serial port. Dell is one of the three manufactures that still provides such an option on its Latitude E5510 model (Fujitsu E780 and Panasonic Toughbooks are the other two systems). Except that I wanted a Win 7 64 bit based system. You see, you can spec a E5510 with a 64 bit based CPU (ie i5 series) and up to 8GB of memory, but you can only choose a 32 bit OS - which I confirmed this with Dell sales. After that I went poking around the Dell support website for the E5510 and saw that you can download 64 bit drivers for this system. So if I wanted to I could wipe the hard drive, install Win 7 64 bit and download the Dell 64 bit drivers. Yet I can't get a 64 bit OS from !$@^%#@%^$#! Dell. Now all I need is my free copy of a 64bit version of Win 7.



  • The product key for Windows 7 32-bit will work for a 64-bit install, too. All you need is the disk.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    The product key for Windows 7 32-bit will work for a 64-bit install, too. All you need is the disk.
    I believe so as long as you are going from 32 to 64 of the same edition within Win 7. However I have seen reports on various websites that suggest there could be problems - although I don't know if they were keeping the same edition. Still it pisses me off that I would have to do a wipe install - although with all the crapware you get now days it may not be a bad idea.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    I'd bet the crapware isn't 64-bit compatible.



  • @OzPeter said:

    I'm looking at buying a new laptop and wanted to get one with a genuine serial port. Dell is one of the three manufactures that still provides such an option on its Latitude E5510 model (Fujitsu E780 and Panasonic Toughbooks are the other two systems). Except that I wanted a Win 7 64 bit based system. You see, you can spec a E5510 with a 64 bit based CPU (ie i5 series) and up to 8GB of memory, but you can only choose a 32 bit OS - which I confirmed this with Dell sales. After that I went poking around the Dell support website for the E5510 and saw that you can download 64 bit drivers for this system. So if I wanted to I could wipe the hard drive, install Win 7 64 bit and download the Dell 64 bit drivers. Yet I can't get a 64 bit OS from !$@^%#@%^$#! Dell. Now all I need is my free copy of a 64bit version of Win 7.

    You can't choose 64-bit at all or just when you get the serial port?



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    You can't choose 64-bit at all or just when you get the serial port?
    You can't choose 64 bit at all on that model. But that is the only model that does have a serial port. Other models with the same CPU allow 64 bit



  • @OzPeter said:

    I have seen reports on various websites that suggest there could be problems

    I've never seen anything like that - I think most people proclaiming "there'll be problems" are basing it on the fact that OEM versions don't come with the disks for the other "bitness", not any technical reasoning. Mostly these seem to be comments seem also to come from MS fanbois, so there isn't much credibility from them.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    In the face of every chlid...
     

    Is that another meme I hadn't seen in my illiterate Iranian cave or a genuine typo?



  • @tin said:

    @OzPeter said:
    I have seen reports on various websites that suggest there could be problems

    I've never seen anything like that - I think most people proclaiming "there'll be problems" are basing it on the fact that OEM versions don't come with the disks for the other "bitness"

    Well I'm still nervous at the moment about slapping down the cash at the moment without guaranteed outcome.



  • @b_redeker said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    In the face of every chlid...
     

    Is that another meme I hadn't seen in my illiterate Iranian cave or a genuine typo?

    It's actually a really bad typo.  It was supposed to be Euchlidon.  The proboscises of certain geometer moths bear a striking resemblance to him.



  • @OzPeter said:

    @blakeyrat said:
    The product key for Windows 7 32-bit will work for a 64-bit install, too. All you need is the disk.
    I believe so as long as you are going from 32 to 64 of the same edition within Win 7. However I have seen reports on various websites that suggest there could be problems - although I don't know if they were keeping the same edition. Still it pisses me off that I would have to do a wipe install - although with all the crapware you get now days it may not be a bad idea.
     

    Unless you get a 64-bit Dell OEM disk, you won't be able to activate the 64-bit version. OEM cd-keys aren't actually used during the install of Win7 - it pre-activates based on a certificate in the BIOS. If you install using the OEM disk to a non-Dell system and use the OEM CD-Key, you won't be able to activate it either. So you are screwed unless you can get Dell to send you the disk. Good luck with that.

     Dell seems to be having some kind of bizzare flailing with those OS choices lately. A few months ago it seemed like you couldn't get any systems that weren't 64-bit. Now you can't many that are.



  • @b_redeker said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    In the face of every chlid...
     

    Is that another meme I hadn't seen in my illiterate Iranian cave or a genuine typo?

    What are you rambling about?  There's nothing wrong.  At all.



  • @rdamiani said:

    Now you can't many that are.
     

    And doesn't afraid of anything.



  • You can get a Toshiba Tecra S11. It's got a serial port, matte HD LED screen, and is a pretty strong config. Along comes 64 bit Win7 Pro.



  • @rdamiani said:

    Unless you get a 64-bit Dell OEM disk, you won't be able to activate the 64-bit version. OEM cd-keys aren't actually used during the install of Win7 - it pre-activates based on a certificate in the BIOS. If you install using the OEM disk to a non-Dell system and use the OEM CD-Key, you won't be able to activate it either.
    You can activate it, but you have to use the telephone route.



  • I've had to recover OEM systems before where I didn't have access to the original CD media (yes, that was XP). The product key was accepted but the OS could not be activated.

    However, if you contact the activation desk by phone, they will happily activate Windows for you. The clearing warehouse doesn't care if you use another setup disc, as long as your product key is OK. And you don't do this several times a week.



  • @badfubglur said:

    You can get a Toshiba Tecra S11. It's got a serial port, matte HD LED screen, and is a pretty strong config. Along comes 64 bit Win7 Pro.

    Thanks for that. Although it looks like the S11 is no longer part of their lineup I was just looking at the other Tecra's and saw a serial port on them.



  • @ender said:

    You can activate it, but you have to use the telephone route.

    As of Vista, Microsoft no longer supports activation by phone for OEM versions of Windows.



  • Hum. I swapped the OS on my laptop by myself and didn't experience any problems activating it, but it sounds like "your mileage may vary."

    (I actually replaced the HP copy that came with it and was loaded with crapware with the Dell copy from my desktop-- I put a new retail version on my desktop, then used the 64-bit disk that came with the desktop to install over the 32-bit copy on my laptop using the same serial key the laptop already had. Everything worked fine, and no more HP crapware.)

    Out of curiousity, what's the serial port for? Talking to routers/switches?



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Out of curiousity, what's the serial port for? Talking to routers/switches?

    I'm using it for industrial controllers which can easily be in the 15+ year old range and sometimes only have serial ports, and for doing initial Ethernet configuration you have to use the serial port. I can potentially use USB/serial converters but depending on the converter brand they can be hit or miss in correctly working, so I am erring on the side of being able to do my job without issue.



  • Isn't there an easier, way, like an USB/serial converter unit or something? Or an Ethernet killer?

    It seems like a red flag to want a special machine just for a single tiny port.

    You posted a microsecond before me.

    I hate that.



  • @OzPeter said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    Out of curiousity, what's the serial port for? Talking to routers/switches?

    I'm using it for industrial controllers which can easily be in the 15+ year old range and sometimes only have serial ports, and for doing initial Ethernet configuration you have to use the serial port. I can potentially use USB/serial converters but depending on the converter brand they can be hit or miss in correctly working, so I am erring on the side of being able to do my job without issue.

    At this point, serial ports are such a niche item that the hardware/driver are going to be hit or miss whether it's built-in or not. Like floppy drives.

    You might be better off skipping it on the laptop and getting a really nice high quality USB unit.



  • @Mr. DOS said:

    @ender said:

    You can activate it, but you have to use the telephone route.

    As of Vista, Microsoft no longer supports activation by phone for OEM versions of Windows.

     

    You read that on MyDigitalLife. Yes, yes, very ahem authorative. Name one other source.



  • @badcaseofspace said:

    You read that on MyDigitalLife. Yes, yes, very ahem authorative. Name one other source.

    Experience. Take a Vista OEM disc, load a machine with it from the key on the sticker on the side, and watch in dismay as it won't activate and you find the only option for reloading is the “recovery” partition and all of its preloaded crapware.

    This was on a Toshiba laptop, and then on a Lenovo laptop, and then I gave up on the idea of using an OEM disc for reloading machines with OEM keys.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    At this point, serial ports are such a niche item that the hardware/driver are going to be hit or miss whether it's built-in or not. Like floppy drives.

    You might be better off skipping it on the laptop and getting a really nice high quality USB unit.

    Given the hassles I have been having with Dell I have been re-evaluating my serial port needs, but I am a bit conflicted about dropping the serial port. On one hand I don't use it very often, but when I need it I need it. So if drop the serial port I'd have to have the converter on me at all times, otherwise it is just like not having a serial port - which means another device to carry when I travel to job sites. But if I do drop the serial port I am free to choose i7 based laptops, and in another part of my work I am testing configurations with multiple VMs so I could use the CPU power.


  • @OzPeter said:

    another device to carry when I travel to job sites.
     

    You carry other things too? How bloody big is 1 converter? I don't see this as a problem.

    @OzPeter said:

    I could use the CPU power.

    CPU wins!

     

    There.

    I've helpedth you. Rejoice.

     



  • @dhromed said:

    How bloody big is 1 converter? I don't see this as a problem.
    Size is not the issue. Regardless of the size of the item, its still one bloody extra thing that I have to keep track of when I travel. And in fact being smaller increases the chances that it will either get left behind or will get lost during travel.

    But yes I do appreciate extra CPU power. I'm guessing that a lot of my conflict is coming from having to emotionally let go of a serial port; as that is an interface type that has been a part of my life for at least 30 years



  • @Mr. DOS said:

    watch in dismay as it won't activate and you find the only option for reloading is the “recovery” partition
    Well, maybe the OEM botched the SLUI application responsible for activation. The main article for activating Vista does not discriminate between OEM and retail as far as telephone route goes.

    On the other hand, I've never seen Vista up close. I consider myself lucky.



  • @OzPeter said:

    But yes I do appreciate extra CPU power. I'm guessing that a lot of my conflict is coming from having to emotionally let go of a serial port; as that is an interface type that has been a part of my life for at least 30 years

    That's... a little pathetic. Did you have an emotional moment giving up your 5.25" floppies? Or when your computer no longer came with an ISA bus? Or the first time you plugged a printer into USB instead of a parallel port?



  • @OzPeter said:

    Size is not the issue.

    Your wife feels otherwise.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    That's... a little pathetic. Did you have an emotional moment giving up your 5.25" floppies? Or when your computer no longer came with an ISA bus? Or the first time you plugged a printer into USB instead of a parallel port?
    No I didn't, because in general those technologies were replaced by things that were improvements (with exceptions like micro channel). It is now 2010, but I have to be careful about which USB/Serial port converter I buy because I cannot trust the manufacturers to produce something that works. If USB/Serial conversion was 100% dependable then I wouldn't have this issue.



  • @OzPeter said:

    But if I do drop the serial port I am free to choose i7 based laptops, and in another part of my work I am testing configurations with multiple VMs so I could use the CPU power.

    Or you can buy a badass non-serial-port laptop and [url="http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=Property&Subcategory=421&Description=&Type=&N=2030260421+1208420613&srchInDesc=&MinPrice=&MaxPrice=&OEMMark=1&OEMMark=0&PropertyCodeValue=2084:20613&PropertyCodeValue=2084:13187&PropertyCodeValue=2084:37842"]add a serial card to it[/url].



  • @OzPeter said:

    @blakeyrat said:
    That's... a little pathetic. Did you have an emotional moment giving up your 5.25" floppies? Or when your computer no longer came with an ISA bus? Or the first time you plugged a printer into USB instead of a parallel port?
    No I didn't, because in general those technologies were replaced by things that were improvements (with exceptions like micro channel). It is now 2010, but I have to be careful about which USB/Serial port converter I buy because I cannot trust the manufacturers to produce something that works. If USB/Serial conversion was 100% dependable then I wouldn't have this issue.

    Sounds like your issue is more the cheapification of technology than emotional attachment to any particular technology. Either that, or you're deluding yourself... I've had nothing but problems with serial ports, and I can't wait until I never have to see one again. I doubt they're any less dependable now than they were in 1995... the difference is that everything else has improved around them. (Or, in other words, you're used to the particular ways they suck and not the new and exciting ways USB sucks.)



  • @Mr. DOS said:

    Experience. Take a Vista OEM disc, load a machine with it from the key on the sticker on the side, and watch in dismay as it won't activate and you find the only option for reloading is the “recovery” partition and all of its preloaded crapware.
    Even installing OEM XP with the code from sticker usually didn't activate automatically - you had to call the activation telephone number, and you were usually asked about the type of computer you're installing to.



  • @ender said:

    Even installing OEM XP with the code from sticker usually didn't activate automatically - you had to call the activation telephone number, and you were usually asked about the type of computer you're installing to.

    Yes, but at least you could - with Vista, the option seems to be nonexistant.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    I've had nothing but problems with serial ports, and I can't wait until I never have to see one again.
    Well anecdote is not data 😃 . I've had rock solid performance with RS-232 and RS-485 based systems for a long long long time - like most analogue systems proper shielding and grounding are vitally important but once you get that right then you are good to go.

    But yes maybe USB sucks in ways that I am not comfortable with - I'm happy to admit to that. This laptop purchase is turning into one giant therapy session where I have to totally evaluate my needs and desires and most likely dump a large amount of emotional baggage.



  • @Kensey said:

    Or you can buy a badass non-serial-port laptop and add a serial card to it.
    Careful with those, since many are USB based (and serial over USB doesn't work that well if you need to use anything more than just Tx/Rx pins).



  • @OzPeter said:

    @blakeyrat said:
    I've had nothing but problems with serial ports, and I can't wait until I never have to see one again.
    Well anecdote is not data 😃 . I've had rock solid performance with RS-232 and RS-485 based systems for a long long long time - like most analogue systems proper shielding and grounding are vitally important but once you get that right then you are good to go.

    But yes maybe USB sucks in ways that I am not comfortable with - I'm happy to admit to that. This laptop purchase is turning into one giant therapy session where I have to totally evaluate my needs and desires and most likely dump a large amount of emotional baggage.

    The point I was getting at is every technology sucks. They all just suck in slightly different ways and to different degrees. And, generally, older technology sucks more than newer technology.

    Which is good; if stuff didn't always suck, there'd be no reason to make it continually better.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    The point I was getting at is every technology sucks. They all just suck in slightly different ways and to different degrees.
       One exception: all Apple products are perfect and awesome and life-changing until such time as a newer version is available, whereupon they become completely worthless and the sort of thing only a totally uncool person would use.  After a period of five years, however, the product becomes awesome and life-changing again, but now in a nostalgic sort of way.



  • @bstorer said:

    until such time as a newer version is available, whereupon they become completely worthless and the sort of thing only a totally uncool person would use.
    You mean, it's totally uncool to use superseded gadgets, but it's OK to wear one of these with all of the latest goodies?

     

    GAAAAAH! My eyes!



  • @badcaseofspace said:

    @bstorer said:

    until such time as a newer version is available, whereupon they become completely worthless and the sort of thing only a totally uncool person would use.
    You mean, it's totally uncool to use superseded gadgets, but it's OK to wear one of these with all of the latest goodies?

     

    GAAAAAH! My eyes!

    Well of course that's not cool.  Where's the spot to put the iPad?



  • @blakeyrat said:

    The point I was getting at is every technology sucks. They all just suck in slightly different ways and to different degrees. And, generally, older technology sucks more than newer technology.

    Which is good; if stuff didn't always suck, there'd be no reason to make it continually better.

    In general yes, but in this specific case we haven't fully transitioned from RS-232 serial and the interim solution *is* sucky


  • @OzPeter said:

    we haven't fully transitioned from RS-232 serial and the interim solution is sucky
     

    Infrared?



  • @bstorer said:

    Well of course that's not cool.  Where's the spot to put the iPad?
     

    Or his gun?



  • @dhromed said:

    @bstorer said:

    Well of course that's not cool.  Where's the spot to put the iPad?
     

    Or his gun iPistol?

     

    FTFY. The next-generation iPistol, being smaller, glossier, and more pretentious than its predecessor, can actually be stored inside an iPhone without loss of functionality. If you're willing to pay the extra $40 for the special dock adapter.



  •  At my previous employer we also often still had the need for RS232. This was because of things which come with 15 or 20 year warantiesand contain PLCs or modems. I've had to find a way to communicate with devices that only supported 1200/75, 8N1 parity, hardware flowcontrol and similar up to 2007 when I left there. Even decent RS232-USB kits often go "WTF?" in their driver if you try that.

     For talking to technilogy that is more than 10 years old, you need stuff like this. It's the drawback of having life-time service contracts. Most of these systems are rock solid though, still going strong after decades.



  • @Someone You Know said:

    FTFY. The next-generation iPistol, being smaller, glossier, and more pretentious than its predecessor, can actually be stored inside an iPhone without loss of functionality. If you're willing to pay the extra $40 for the special dock adapter.
    Yeah, but you can only buy bullets from Apple's store, and it doesn't support muzzle flash.



  • @bstorer said:

    @Someone You Know said:

    FTFY. The next-generation iPistol, being smaller, glossier, and more pretentious than its predecessor, can actually be stored inside an iPhone without loss of functionality. If you're willing to pay the extra $40 for the special dock adapter.
    Yeah, but you can only buy bullets from Apple's store, and it doesn't support muzzle flash.

     

    A firearm that didn't flash would be a good thing, though, wouldn't it? For stealth purposes? Maybe Apple is in the wrong business.

    Or at least the wrong line of advertising. "Flash® makes it easier for Arabs insurgents to locate our soldiers liberators in combat. Every time a Flash website is built, an American soldier is killed. If you buy from Macromedia Adobe, the terrorists win."



  • @Someone You Know said:

    If you buy from Macromedia Adobe, the terrorists win.
     

    True dat. Of course, the terrorists in this case are Adobe, who are terrorizing the general populace with their godawful UIs. (It's unbelievable that only 3-4 versions ago, people used to praise Photoshop's UI as a good example for an extremely complex app. Now there's blogs like this one.)



  • @Someone You Know said:

    A firearm that didn't flash would be a good thing, though, wouldn't it? For stealth purposes? Maybe Apple is in the wrong business.

    Or at least the wrong line of advertising. "Flash® makes it easier for Arabs insurgents to locate our soldiers liberators in combat. Every time a Flash website is built, an American soldier is killed. If you buy from Macromedia Adobe, the terrorists win."

    Well, sure, until the enemies have this flashless technology, too.  We're going to have to control exports on this dangerous weapon, just like those PS2s that could launch missiles.


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