Software update ‘bricks’ laptop; was this manufacturer’s intent? – The Seattle Times

Q: I have an Acer Aspire V5 MS2377 laptop. The other day, I got a pop-up notice that my AMD Radeon driver/support software needed upgrading.

With all the scares about security flaws — and because tech support people’s first question seems to always be “Is everything updated?” — I decided to proceed with the update.

The machine is now “bricked.” The “Acer Explore Beyond Limits™ splash screen appears, and the little dots do their circle dance for a while, then everything freezes. It never gets to the Windows boot screen.

I could take the machine in for service, but I have a hunch that the labor costs would exceed the replacement cost.

I am extremely unhappy. I feel that AMD has in effect “stolen” my machine from me. Do customers have any recourse in situations like this? Or are we just at the mercy of manufacturers for whom this sort of rip-off is just an excuse to sell more hardware?

— David H. Straayer

A: First, I’m not an attorney. So I can’t give any advice about legal recourse. But I think it very unlikely that either Acer or AMD intentionally did anything to compromise your computer.

Here’s what I would do. First, contact tech support at Acer and at AMD and tell them just what happened. If neither company provides a solution, make a bootable USB drive with Windows 10 on it and try reinstalling Windows. You can access Microsoft’s tool for creating such a USB drive here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10. (It does appear that your computer is compatible with Windows 10.)

You may need to interrupt the boot process so that you can access the computer’s BIOS and configure it to look first to the USB port for booting.

I don’t know how comfortable you are with undertaking these operations. If you’re not, I’d recommend taking the computer to a repair shop or, even better, asking a techie friend to help you out.

Q: I’m constantly getting “script error” messages now, although script debugging, both internet and otherwise, is disabled and “display a notification about every script error” is not enabled.

I started getting the “script error” messages after I upgraded to Windows 10. I didn’t like Windows 10, however, and I went back my original Windows 7. I’ve sent messages to Microsoft via its troubleshooting site but get no response.

The constant pop-up message is really irritating. Any help would be appreciated.

— Suzanne Osborne

A: You don’t mention what browser you’re using, but here’s a link that offers detailed steps for troubleshooting script error problems in internet Explorer: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/308260.

If you get script error messages only on a small number of websites, the problem is probably with those sites. If you’re getting such messages on a lot of sites, the culprit may be your anti-virus program, hardware acceleration, smooth scrolling or some other thing.

Q: I installed Windows 10 on my computer. It goes into screen saver mode but never into sleep mode. Just keeps playing my slideshow till I put it to sleep. My setting says to go into screen saver after 15 minutes and to sleep after 1 hour. I’ve restarted it. I just don’t know.

— Leslie Keveren

A: First, make sure your computer is fully compatible with Windows 10. You should be able to determine that by visiting your computer manufacturer’s website.

Assuming your computer is compatible with Windows 10, the most likely cause of the problem is an out-of-date BIOS or graphics driver. Check the manufacturer’s website to make sure everything is up to date.

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