Planning to Purchase a New Dell Computer?

Posted: December 9, 2016

Thinking of getting a new computer? Decided what model you want, which processor and how much memory? Think you are ready to order? Maybe not...

When buying a new computer, there are seemingly hundreds of options to consider...laptop vs. desktop, size, memory, processor, camera, microphone...the list goes on and on.  Knowing what options to choose to best meet your needs can be challenging for many people, even those that work with technology everyday.

To make the process easier on you and us -- so you get a computer that meets your needs and one that we can troubleshoot and support -- Ag IT strongly suggests you contact us to help guide you through selecting the right options for your new computer. We will ask questions about how you use your computer, what you like about your current computer and what you wish would be better. We will talk to you about new technologies that may be available AND equally important, will talk to you about warranty options.

In preparation for your call with us (and for those of you that unadvisedly decide to navigate these waters on your own), please keep these things in mind...

Whether purchasing a desktop, laptop or tablet computer from Dell, there are several options related to service and warranty coverage for you to consider. Your comfort level with troubleshooting problems and replacing parts, as well as your physical proximity to the Ag IT Help Desk will be important to consider when making your selections.

Hardware Support – Dell has three warranty options to consider, Basic Service, Pro Support and Pro Support Plus. While all options provide excellent coverage for your computer and its components, Basic Service could require significant user involvement in troubleshooting problems and replacing faulty parts as well as the need to send the computer to Dell or Ag IT for repairs associated with accidental damage. Read on for more details about each option.

  1. Basic Service – Provides online or telephone troubleshooting and support during business hours. If hardware repairs/replacements are needed, in many cases Dell will ship parts and user will need to perform the replacement on their own (*depending on the defective part – see footnote below).
  • NOTE: Dell classifies computer parts into two categories: Mandatory Customer Self Replaceable (MCSR) and Optional Customer Self Replaceable (OCSR)*. For computers that have Basic Service hardware support, any part that is considered MCSR will need to be replaced by the user. Any part that is considered OCSR can be replaced by the user or the user can request a technician come onsite to complete the installation.
  • For computers that are primarily used at University Park and/or can easily be brought to UP, the Basic Service option is typically sufficient.  If a user is not comfortable installing parts and they cannot easily bring their computer to the Ag IT help desk for repairs, we strongly encourage computers be purchased with a Pro Support warranty (see details below).
  1. ProSupport – Provides online or telephone troubleshooting and support 24 hours a day. If hardware repairs/replacement are needed, Dell technicians can be requested to do onsite repairs for both OCSR and MCSR parts.
  2. ProSupport Plus – Pro Support Plus coverage includes all of the advantages of Pro Support and also bundles in Accidental Damage and Keep your Hard Drive Coverage (see below).
  • NOTE: If you were planning to purchase Accidental Damage Coverage and Keep Your Hard Drive Coverage, ProSupport Plus will likely save you some money.

Accidental Damage Coverage – Dell Accidental Damage coverage is available on laptop computers and generally covers damage from liquid spills, drops or falls, and electrical surges. Coverage excludes damage due to fire, intentional damage, normal wear, cosmetic damage or theft. NOTE: If you have purchased the Basic Service, repairs for accidental damage will require you to either replace the parts on your own or to send your computer to Dell or Ag IT for repair.  If you can afford it, this is an option we would recommend for everyone.

  • NOTE: If you are not comfortable replacing computer hardware components, are not able to be without your computer for a week or more to ship your computer to Dell or are not able to easily bring your computer to the Ag IT help desk for repairs, please be sure to select either the Pro Support or Pro Support Plus Hardware Support options.

Keep Your Hard Drive Coverage – Dell Keep Your Hard Drive coverage allows you to keep your hard drive in the event of a hard drive failure.  Without this coverage, you are typically required to return a failed hard drive under warranty when you receive a replacement. If you store sensitive data on your computer and/or want the control to decide how and when to dispose of your data, then this is an option that we would recommend.

If you have any questions or if you would like to have someone help you select the best coverage to meet your specific needs, please feel free to contact the Ag IT Help Desk.

*A list of which parts currently fall into which categories is available on Dell’s website, This list changes regularly.