Friday, January 20, 2006

Gateway to Hell - or How I restored audio to my MX3560 laptop

The one or two of you who read this blog regularly realize that you never quite know what you're going to find on topic. It might be a reminisce, a father gushing over his kids, an American citizen angry at whatever. It may be interesting, or I might bore you to tears.
I make no appologies, because this just a blog. Thoughts go straight from my little mind to you, with very little editing. For people who like this blog, that's probably the attraction. For those who hate it, that's probably the reason.

Today brings another such rant, but this time I've decided to take on a multibillion dollar corporation. Gateway Computer, you should be ashamed of yourselves.

It has been three weeks since I bought a Gateway MX3560 laptop computer. I was attracted to the compact size, the price, the quality of the screen, the price, the length of time I can run it on the battery, and the price. I also thought it would come with legendary Gateway support, should I ever need it.

I began my descent into frustration and anguish after I upgraded the laptop from XP "Home" edition to XP pro. I also just wanted to get all of that crap off of my PC that Gateway loads it up with: you know, samples of Norton, a trial of AOL, etc.

Upgrading the my MX3560 should have been a no brainer, and would have been if Gateway had posted the correct audio drivers for the machine in their support area. So for weeks, I've been chatting with a guy at Gateway support named Trent. God bless Trent -- he really tried to help. But everything he had me try failed, for no other reason than the drivers were wrong. But after weeks of screwing around with this, I finally had to take matters into my own hands and try to Google an answer. What I discovered is that there are others out there in the same boat that I was in. Many pleas for help, yet no one has definitively posted a cure for this ill.

So today, I am writing this entry in the hopes that I can save at least one gentle soul from the frustration that I went through.

If you are the owner of a Gateway MX3560 laptop, and after installing Windows XP you find that you have no sound, and you've tried everything (including their "automatic" driver installation software) but nothing seems to work, here's the driver you need:

It's called the SoundMax audio driver. The file name on is D00188-002-001.exe. Click here, and hopefully you will go to the write place on their website. At present, Gateway does not say that this driver will work with the MX3560, but trust me -- it does. The driver they are giving you is the wrong one.

Look, if a numbskull like me can google an answer to this problem, why can't Gateway? With all of their resource, why should it take weeks and weeks for them to solve this problem? Clearly, I was not the only person having this trouble.

I know that I mentioned price as a major reason for purchasing this laptop. But I'll let you in on a little secret: I would pay 20% more for a laptop that I thought would come with competent technical support. I had always thought Gateway was known for its great "South Dakota" support. That was probably when it was a South Dakota company. Now that's based in San Diego with manufacturing jobs shipped to China (I don't know where Trent was based. If he was Indian, he had a good American accent), perhaps Gateway is now content just to be a lowest-cost manufacturer and to compete as a commodity.

So my parting advice to you is that if you're thinking of buying a Gateway laptop is to base your decision entirely on the price/feature comparison. The Gateway brand no longer represents quality support.

Please excuse me. I need to go writ an email to Trent at Gateway support and tell him how to solve his problem

One down, only four more missing drivers to go.

UPDATE:  If you are unable to install this driver on your PC with Vista/7/8, try running it in Windows XP compatibility mode. I was able to do this successfully. Just right click on the Driver, choose Properties, the click the Compatibility tab. Check "Run this program in compability mode for:" and choose "Windows XP."


Anonymous said...

thank's men I have the same problem I own you my sound ;)


Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot. I owe u one.

Anonymous said...

God bless you for this!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank god for your blog. I too have been on tech support and they dont know how to fix this issue. I even asked them if i were to find out how to fix it and called it in would it actuall get to the people who need it and they said yes. But if you and the 1,000 other people who have had this problem called it in and they STILL didnt but it into their database. Im going to call them and ask them to put it in this time. I will also give them this webpage for them to look at. YOUR THE MAN!!

Anonymous said...

You saved my life. WHY COULDENT GATEWAY JUST GIVE ME THIS DRIVER 4 MONTHS AGO. Yea thats right ive been talking to gateway for months and they have not fixed it. THEY SENT ME THE BOX TO SEND MY LAPTOP IN. But all I did was google this site. It could have saved me and gateway time!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

"WHY COULDENT GATEWAY JUST GIVE ME THIS DRIVER 4 MONTHS AGO. Yea thats right ive been talking to gateway for months and they have not fixed it. THEY SENT ME THE BOX TO SEND MY LAPTOP IN."

Because people don't have the patience to call back and follow up on such issues. Having worked for gateway's retail support and catching my fair share of such issues, one thing I can tell you is that it is imperative that people follow up, keep thier own notes as well, and we'd have two minds working together rather than guessing from previous case notes that the issue is robust and more than 1 person is having it.

Scott said...

Glad you found this post useful. It has been a consistently popular post, read nearly every day. I'm very disppointed to hear that Gateway STILL hasn't fixed this problem, even after I send them all of the information.

My laptop continues to run well. The audio works well. It makes me feel better having gone through this experience to know that I've been able to help a few other people.

That's the internet at its best, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Man, 7 years after you wrote this, your post saved my butt. Thanks!