Daily Archives: 2007-05-09

Alienware’s m5550 laptop: Vista Unready

There is an undocumented problem with their m5550 laptop. When the laptop goes to sleep – a feature that’s materially important to a modern laptop – wifi is disabled. When the laptop wakes up, the wifi doesn’t work. There is no way to bring it back but to reboot the laptop. Alienware’s position on this is that it is Microsoft’s problem, not theirs, and that there is no remedy available to you except to wait till Microsoft fixes the problem.

I was trying to do a nice thing for my partner Sam and buy her a new laptop. I got her an m5550 laptop from Alienware, and was excited to recieve it. When we discovered that the wifi doesn’t work on Alienware’s m5550 laptop, it was disappointing, but I was confident that we could find a patch or other solution. I went onto Alienware’s customer and tech support forums to find a solution. These forums are private, so potential customers can’t find them. This is the only place where Alienware admits the problem. I contacted Alienware tech support and they confirmed there is no technical solution to the problem. The earliest posting on it is from November 2006.

I’ve spoken with three different people from Alienware including Supervisor Kate. All confirm that Alienware’s position is that this is not their problem.

  • I bought the hardware from Alienware.
  • I bought the operating system from Alienware.
  • Alienware advertises the wifi card on the ordering page of their anti-wifi laptop.
  • Alienware doesn’t disclose the problem to potential customers.
  • Alienware’s promotional copy promotes their quality.

Also, from their promotional copy:

With every Alienware system, you are assured to receive components guaranteed to work optimally with each other, thus minimizing the possibility of technical issues and allowing you to start using your system immediately.

This sucks. I would like them to offer either a switch to XP, to take the laptop back without the 15% restocking fee, or to offer some other solution. Perhaps throw in a wifi PCMCIA card that they know works with the laptop and operating system?

Just about anything would be better than hearing that it isn’t Alienware’s problem and that I should just wait for a patch from Microsoft. They’ve known about the problem since November and it isn’t fair to treat their customers this way.

Please let your computer buying friend’s know about this problem and their response. I’d hate for other folks to be take for a ride…