Monday, September 24, 2007

Hard Disk Problems

I'm glad that I bought the extended service plan on this refurbished HP notebook--the hard disk seems to be giving up the ghost. At least, when I boot it, I get a message that says, "SMART disk failure is imminent. Backup your files and replace the hard disk."

Fortunately, I have my Linux box run an incremental backup every night of My Documents on the notebook, and my wife's desktop.

Customer support is having me run the comprehensive disk diagnostic first. If it fails, they'll replace the hard disk. If it passes, they want me to do a restore operation (which really means that they think there's some virus in there that got past Norton).

As you might expect, I may be a little slower responding to emails because of this!

UPDATE: I am very disappointed with HP's customer support process. The guy I talked to last night indicated that they had no evidence that I had purchased the extended warranty. I was prepared to believe that perhaps I received the warranty paperwork, and failed to register it--but subsequent events suggest that HP's internal accounting processes are in bad shape. After a long conversation, last night's service tech passed me over to his boss (with spoke passable English and seemed to understand me), who managed to look up my extended warranty from the order number when I purchased it, and said that he was both registering the extended warranty for me. He told me that it would take four to 24 hours for this registration information to propagate throughout the system, but that he was explaining this in the case notes.

He had me do a destructive restore (reformats the hard disk)--just to make sure it wasn't a virus. The hard disk diagnostic passes--but it still won't boot. He also said that he would call back between 9:00 AM and 10:00 AM this morning to see if there was still a problem. This guy at least spoke clear English, and understood me.

Anyway, no call back. So I called HP service--and they had no record that the extended warranty had been purchased, and nothing in the case notes to indicate that last night's technician had found proof of extended warranty. Worse, the guy this morning indicated that they could not find the order number at all! It wasn't a valid order number--even though it is on an email invoice from HP. This makes me wonder if I actually forgot to register the extended warranty, or if HP just lost the information.

So I had to make some more calls--and fortunately, I found the extended warranty paperwork, so I had a certificate number. The department of HP that handles this seems to be stocked with Canadians, so they spoke English. Finally, they are sending out a replacement hard drive--although the guy in that department was almost incomprehensible, and it was apparent that he wasn't having any easier time understanding me. I don't think that seven and four sound anything alike.

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