It is not so…

Posted on August 19, 2008. Filed under: Software, Trends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

…easy to understand PC warranty.

If you own a computer with any Microsoft product pre-installed on it usually you are recommended to go to the OEM for support on the Microsoft product. It even says so here:

If your Microsoft product was installed on your computer when you purchased it, the computer manufacturer is your primary source of technical support.

In the case of Vista this is patently NOT the case. The moment you mention Vista to a Dell tech support technician they won’t support you unless you are willing to pay an incident fee. If not they direct you to call Microsoft. Support for Vista Service Pack 1 is currently free (and was very good and thorough) but there is a disconnect between what Microsoft says and Dell:

Dell’s limited hardware warranty does not cover:

  • Software, including the operating system and software added to the Dell-branded hardware products through our factory-integration system, third-party software, or the reloading of software

This issue hi-lights one of my pet peeves with the PC industry. Just who is responsible for software support? As far as I am concerned if a PC manufacturer REQUIRES an OEM licensed copy of the operating system to be installed in the computer you own then they have a responsibility to support it. The brand recognition is a Dell computer with Vista…not it is Vista on a Dell computer.

The end-user’s perception does not seperate the two entities and nor should it. But, if you call Dell and do not purchase additional support services they will only address what THEY determine to be hardware issues. If it is a Vista issue you get directed to their software support group and that support is fee based.

Luckily Vista Service Pack 1 issues are currently covered at no cost by Microsoft.

Remember though, there is an interaction between the hardware a computer manufacturer provides and operating system. If a manufacturer delineates a clear separation of these two areas of support there may be a tendancy for the manufacturer to “blame” the operating system and direct issues that clearly are related to the interaction of the two systems that make your computer work. Most end-users cannot delineate what and where the problem lies. They count of the manufacturer’s tech support to tell them and this knowledge could be leveraged by support to direct the client to other support options that may not be appropriate.

I have seen this before. In the days of DOS WordPerfect there were several technical problems related to printing and WordPerfect tech support would ALWAYS blame hardware when, in fact, it was the interaction of their program with video and printer drivers.

A good hardware and software vendor knows this and works with ALL parties involved to solve the end-user’s problem. The bad ones generally pass you off to another resource. After those resources are exhausted then they may help.

See this issue in context of Vista and Nvidia…

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Back Up Solutions

Posted on August 13, 2008. Filed under: Hardware, Software | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Why you want to do a backup…

I was recently asked to comment on an online back up soltution. This is my response: (more…)

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It’s My Bread and Butter…

Posted on August 11, 2008. Filed under: General | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

…but I’ll cry if I want to.

The state of the Wintel/XP/Vista industry is a shambles. Seriously, I get paid to wade through the minutia of the various intricacies of computer maintenance and ownership and I am pleased to do so. But there has to be a better way. I do not think that certain aspects of computer ownership are properly communicated to computer owners. The issues of OEM versions of XP/Vista and the impact to a client if they have a problem and do NOT go to a OEM service provider often cause problems and additional expense.

In one particular case, the non-OEM service provider (whom will remain nameless in this post) did not adequately address their client’s needs. They simply and correctly should not have fixed the laptop. They did thereby incurring an additional expense for the user and may have made it even more difficult to solve future operating system problems. The work order description is simply inadequate. No traceability of the work completed can be done. “Back up documents. Re-install Windows.” just does not cut it. I will add a redacted version of a work report sometime to give an idea of what is adequate.

We have a duty to communicate and assist our clients. The industry has to do a better job of making computer ownership easier. Frankly, the out-of-the-box experience for low knowledge users is in a sorry state.

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Best Practices: Desktop Computers

Posted on April 17, 2008. Filed under: Hardware, Software | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

The following document is a draft of a “Best Practices” schematic for a home user. It is focused on a home-based business but many of the items regarding back ups and hardware considerations and maintenance apply to all users. Feel free to download and distribute it to your friends and colleagues.

Most of the document applies to laptops too.

best-practices

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