Rant - Why Dell can go to hell

Just over a year ago, my workhorse Toshiba laptop finally bit the dust and I made the ill-fated decision to order a Dell Inspirion 1520. Over the next year, I experienced dozens of blue-screen deaths, but managed to minimize them by denying myself the use of some software I had been accustomed to, such as Firefox. Then, last week, for no reason, my Dell decided it would no longer recognize the AC adapter as an authentic Dell product, and therefore reduced the processor speed dramatically and refused to recharge the battery.

You may ask how and why Dell chose to police the AC adapter used to power its PCs? The how is a small wire in the hollow of the adapter plug that sends a identifying signal to the motherboard. The why is profit; a genuine Dell recharger runs $70, while an identical aftermarket charger (except for the tattletale circuit) is a third that.

So I break down and spring for a new Dell charger, only to find that it, too, is not recognized by my Dell laptop. Then the "product support" fun begins.

First, like the good computer consumer, I search the Dell support articles, which, of course, are of no help. When I search the Dell Forum though, the customer-to-customer chat site, I discover hundreds of other users have experienced the same problem, and the general solution seems to be a motherboard replacement. $$$$. Of course, the easy solution would be for Dell to rewrite the operating software to delete the authenticity barrier.