So we’ve had an issue with my wife’s HP mini 1000 netbook ever since I bought it for her for Christmas last year. I just got off a 1:27:23 phone call with HP and figured I’d spend a little time documenting the issues so hopefully none of my excellent blog readers will think twice before they have to deal with the mind-numbing frustration of HP Totalcare’s customer support.
on Oct. 5, 2009 I called HP about an issue we’ve had with this laptop since day-one. When the computer is running idle for an indeterminate period of time (i.e. reading an article on a website, waiting for an e-mail, even after just booting the system and waiting for everything to “start up” so the system is ready to go) the system will freeze for 15 – 30 seconds. During this “freeze” you can move the mouse, click on anything you like (without response) and after the freeze lets-up, the system catches up (like a buffer) and performs all the actions from the first click on. After some research on the web, I’ve determined the issue probably has to do with a “first-batch” of SSD, of which this system has one. Usually SSD’s have very fast random read-write speeds, and some early models have a “lag” which make systems almost unusable. Of course I had no idea this was the case, otherwise I would have spent less money on a unit that didn’t have an SSD (solid state drive).
We also had an issue with the power adapter not fully plugging into the unit like it should (we’ve tried a friend’s and an aftermarket adapter, both work fine, this adapter just has “issues”.
The rep at HP promised it would not be any trouble, that they would ship out a box. Off we go on a path I’m all too familiar with. I’ve had a number of dealings with HP service (I typically rave about their Proliant servers and coupled support) but I had a horrible experience with a Pavillion DV9000 laptop about 26 months ago (the incident that prompted me to buy my first macbook pro) and was hoping things would be better this time.
It took me a week to get the laptop off to HP the first time, and they recieved the unit on Oct. 26, 2009.
I just received the “fixed” unit yesterday (11/5/09). I carefully inspected the condition (The biggest issue I had with my dv9000 was they scratched the top case badly and refused to accept responsibility for the damage.) If anyone knows me, any computer that graces my home stays in protective plastic as long as possible, that’s just how we are 😉 Anyways, I booted the laptop and noticed on the service papers that came with the unit this detailed description of the fix:
Ok. I tried to be optimistic: maybe they were able to upgrade the firmware of the SSD – that’s software right? I went back to the now fully-booted HP mini and reached for the AC adapter that was returned with the unit – in the same position I sent it in. Did they not even check the power issue? I plugged it in. I was right – they didn’t even look at the power adapter. Trying not to succumb to the sinking feeling that I’d have to DEAL with HP again, I began to use the computer… the freezing issue was still there. I uninstalled AIM6 and adobe reader 8 (for some reason, these come pre-installed with a “software reload” from HP. I installed Microsoft security essentials – it downloaded fast enough, but once the computer sits unused during the install process, the lags begin. Next installed IE8 – the installer (from filehippo) downloaded in seconds, and the install started very zippy – but during the period where the computer scans for malware – and then updates from Microsoft – we’re talking almost 30 minutes into the install, I started to get tired. Next, I downloaded foxit PDF reader – a small, lightweight PDF client to replace Adobe that I uninstalled. 20 minutes into what should have taken about 40 seconds, I closed the computer and resolved to call HP in the morning.
Fast forward to 2 hours ago: I just got off the phone with HP with another frustrating session. Everyone was “very sorry” and I spoke to at least 4 women all non-english primaries and almost unintelligible accents. The best of the group was Prava – I could speak to her in a conversive manner – I didn’t feel like she was searching for the correct “response card” every time I asked a question. At any rate, she assured me that the issue would be taken care of – HP would send me a new power adapter without trouble, and that she would create a “new” order to have the original problem fixed (when an OS reload doesn’t “fix” a computer, the next step is hardware!)
So my last phone call lasted almost 1.5 hours, and 2 out of 4 people I talked to “promised” that I would not have to worry and that HP would take care of me. Here comes the real test – with approximately 1 month left on my original warranty, how long will this “fix” take for the laptop to really get fixed?
I’ll have to keep you posted.
-Ryan “Toad” Walsh