Sunday, September 27, 2009...
I would like to give my review of my first "Geek Squad" experience. One of our Toshiba laptops, purchased in February of this year, suffered a motherboard meltdown...simply stopped "posting" (booting). Ok, it's under warranty, so off to Best Buy on September 1, 2009 (less than 7 months old!) we go...check system in with "Geek Squad." My husband was told it would be mailed later that same day and we should have it back within 2 weeks! WOW, great so far...not so fast, I begin receiving e-mail alerts to tell my what is going on with my system. (See the path below) I receive an alert on 9/9/09 to say it's been received at the repair location (wonder exactly where they sent it?). The next e-mail is on 9/16/09 to re-iterate it's at the repair facility awaiting assignment. (so much for the two weeks we were told to have it fixed and returned to us . By the 21st, I am getting concered because status check still says awaiting assignment to be repaired...On the 24th, we get the magic call to say it's fixed, back at Best Buy and ready to pick up...my husband hands me the phone because the repair Tech needs to speak to me (ok, this doesn't sound good!)...he informs me the system has a new motherboard, BUT, the OS (operating system) is corrupt and do I have the restore disks that I received when we purchased the system or the ones I burnt? Well, yes, I have the disks that I created since Best Buy and Toshiba didn't bother to include them with the laptop at the time of purchase (oh, forgot, that costs extra $). I have been building desktop systems for over 10 years now & I am smart enough to know the first thing you do after you set the system up is to burn "rescue" disks when you only have a "restore partition" instead of the actual OS Disk (remember when you got an actual disk years ago?). So todays lesson 1 = burn a set of "restore disks (DVD's) when you get the system if you don't purchase them ($19) or if they're not included (they won't be...we purchased 2 low-end Toshibas $350 & a high-end HP $750..neither had an actual install disk)...I have had to restore at least one of the systems...if I hadn't burned the disks, it would have cost money to purchase a retail replacement up to $300 or beg my manufacturer to send me one (for approximately $20).
Ok, back to the fact that my warrantied system is back with a new motherboard, but my data is corrupt & I will need to re-install the OS (Windows®)...I inform the Tech guy that my system is not the one it came with (we rolled this system back to XP® from Vista Basic®) and that it is a TRI-BOOT system (also has Linux and Win7 RC® on it)...I tell him I will simply log into the Linux side and fix it from there. He says it sounds like I know what I am doing...I say yep & we'll pick up the system after we get our kids from school. Cool...NO...when we get there, there are TWO stickers on my laptop lid that I have to remove & deal with sticker goo...AND I see scratches on the top...they weren't there when I dropped it off!!!! I complain about the stickers and am told that is standard policy...as I stand there glaring at them and removing the stupid stickers, my husband is signing the release paperwork to get the system finalized...I complain about the scratches and the "Geek" offers to SEND IT BACK TO THE REPAIR FACILITY....AFTER 23 DAYS GONE ALREADY...NO THANKS...I'LL JUST HAVE TO GET A SKIN TO COVER THE DAMAGE! As we leave, I hear hope you're happy with the work...I growl back "you'll just have to wait for my survey review!"...am I happy, let me see, had the system for 23 days (it appears to have actually been back in the store on the 22nd, but not in my hands till the 24th), scratched the top and oh yea, your data is gone & YOU need to recover it! And the best part...we pick it up on Thurs night & on Sat. morning, we get a "recorded" call from Geek Squad to pick up our system...HA HA HA...well, I guess you get what you pay for? Wonder if I had actually paid the $84.95 instead of having it covered under the warranty if it would have made a difference of how this turned out? Nah, probably not...nobody is interested in giving good services anymore...should have just asked Toshiba to send ME the motherboard...I can build desktops, surely I could figure out how to change a laptop motherboard...
By the way, the "Geek" tech was mistaken...my OS wasn't corrupt...there is something he missed and I knew how to fix it in five minutes when I got it home (shhhhh, it's a secret...if you want to know the reason they couldn't get it to boot...join MyPCMyWay.com as a registered customer & find out what Geek Squad missed...obviously, not "certified" enough to know how to handle any OS other than the one with 93% of market share...sorry Mr. Gates, we at MyPCMyWay are doing all we can to change that!
Overall, I would rate my first Geek Squad
experience C+...Toshiba was the only one to send a follow up customer survey about this issue & yes,
I told them how I felt about it. I guess my Geek Squad survey got lost in the e-mail...ha ha ha
Here is the path my Toshiba went through to receive a new motherboard:
9-1-09: 10:04 Checked-in and awaiting shipment
9-2-09: 3:05 A NEW service order number is assigned to my Toshiba
9-8-09: 10:37 System received at the repair location and is awaiting assignment to a Geek Squad Agent or a Certified technician for repair
9-17-09 9:47 Parts are ordered
9-21-09 11:31 System is awaiting final inspection and shipment (Back to Best Buy I assume)
9-25-09 5:15 System is picked up and case is closed
I was able to print this only "after" I picked the system up & did a check status from my last e-mail (9/16/09)
I hope your experiences with Tech repair are happier than this...if not, join us in building a community to fight
for better computer options! Join MyPCMyWay today!
Good Saturday Morning...I will try to post to this blog at least once a week...This has been an extremely busy two weeks for MyPCMyWay. We are now a registered Company with 5 domains (MyPCMyWay.info, MyPCMyWay.com, MyPcMyWay.org, MyPCMyWay.net, MyPCMyWay.biz). Dan and I have spent the last two weeks doing the administration for the company as well as attending every computer club meeting we can find in the Austin Area. Attending these meetings and posting the best computer solutions will happen on the MyPCMyWay.com subscription site. We will still update the MyPCMyWay.info site with information that we believe is essential to our "Free" customers basic computer support solutions.
My "basic" topic for today is Third-Party Partitioning Software. This software is useful in dividing your hard drive into separate sections. This is highly recommended when you get a new system or to protect an older one. Think of it this way, your hard drive is a drawer in your desk. Do you dump ALL of your objects in the drawer on top of each other. If you do, then you have a mess to sort through if you need one particular object. My desk drawer has separate compartments for my things. I have a removable plastic bin for paperclips, etc. and I can lift it out to see the objects stored underneath it. Your computer hard drive (where the data is stored--like your drawer) should be organized into separate sections too! Ok, your system (if new and pre-installed with Windows®) will have a root drive (the drawer) called C:\ . Windows® installs to this drive (all your programs and data) by default. I have lost many things on my system because my main partition (C:\) gets corrupted and I have to re-install my windows®. If I only have the drawer and it gets seriously messed up, the objects can get messed up too. The workaround is to create "separate" spaces for my data. I do this by using a third-party partitioning software (unless I partition BEFORE I start using the system).
We recently purchased two laptops for MyPCMyWay. Both had Vista Home Basic® pre-installed (no installation disk, just a hidden partition with the install files on it). We purchsed a licensed version of XP® and removed the Vista® from one of the systems. When I installed the XP® I had the option to set a separate Data partition at the time of set up. I didn't do this and formatted for one single partition (C:\). I knew this wasn't the best thing to do, but I didn't want to deal with creating my data drive at this time. This was a bad decision, and I knew better.
Ok, fast forward to now...I need to create my Data partition. I wanted a third-party software (meaning non Windows®) to create a Data partition without having to re-install. I am a member of the Austin Computer Club and Disk Director Suite 10® from Acronis was recommended along with Acronis True Image 2009® for partitioning and back up purposes. We purchased the Disk Director® from our local Fry's and installed it on our Vista Basic® machine (remember, one license, one machine...DON'T purchase one copy and put it on multiple machines--this is a violation of the license agreement and considered piracy). We installed our software and I went through the partitioning process. A re-boot was required to finish the process. When I re-booted, I not only didn't have a separate "Data" drive (L:\), BUT, my Vista® partition was now Unaccessible as well. I could see the system boot and try to load...after my boot screen, I was left with a black screen and a cursor. I immediately went to the Acronis website to look for a phone number for tech support...none available...what? I just paid $34.99 for a partitioning product, installed it, ran it, and lost my MAIN partition and now I can't even talk to someone at Acronis about it! I searched the tabs on the site until I found an "online chat". I clicked on it and told the "support" person what had transpired. This is the transcript from the chat:
"You have been connected to Gajender Goswami.
I did as I was instructed and got the SAME error from the newly burned disk (it couldn't see my hard drive and told me there were NO partitions!) Ok, back to the site to look for more help...no phone number...can't talk to a person...ok, e-mail...so I did...e-mailed and even included the chat above to let them know this was a SERIOUS issue...their software had killed my Vista! The box says "Reorganize your PC for better performance and data safety, Resize, copy, move, split, and merge partitions without losing your data, Install and boot multiple operating systems, Automated and manual modes for beginning and advanced users".
I would consider myself an advanced user and I have used Partition Magic® by Powerquest (now owned by Symantec) for years. My last version was 6.0 prior to Symantec's purchase. Version 6 doesn't work with Vista® and I only have one licensed copy; so, it was not an option for the Vista® system anyway. Reviews on later versions didn't make me want to spend $69.95 to purchase it. Also, I need to create data partitions for multiple machines ($69.95 x 5)...no thanks, we are in an economic downturn...my budget can't afford this....look for alternatives...tried Acronis ($34.95/one machine)...I intended to use another product on my other machines.
After I e-mailed Acronis, I received a polite e-mail stating that the e-mail support had to be done online with a "Form" now and that I could NOT merely send the e-mail (ok...two hours down the drain in accessing my machine from Linux and using Gparted to show my partitions so I could give the information to Acronis!) Next e-mail wants me to:
I responded by downloading the report tool...burning it on USB key and booting into Linux. I then executed the report file with Wine and copied the results of the report back to the USB so I could attach it to my reponse e-mail..I also informed them that the True Image® was purchased for a different system and I had NOT installed it on the Vista® in keeping with the licensing requirements! (Remember, I am NOT allowed to purchase one copy and install it on ALL my systems!).The following day (4/10/09--two days after the crash) I received a "form" e-mail response asking me to respond that my problem was "RESOLVED"...how was it resolved...I submitted the reports they asked for (except anything requiring me to boot into Windows first--can't boot Windows® ) and waited for them to tell me how to "Undo" their software!
April 11, 2009 saw ANOTHER form letter indicating my issue was "RESOLVED"
Hello Lita Letourneau,
We are following up with regard to your recent Acronis support case #00124813. The reply to your original question was sent out on . We would like to make sure your issue/question has been resolved. Please Reply to this email and simply enter "RESOLVED" as your response if it has been fully resolved to your complete satisfaction.
If you are still experiencing the same issue or are not completely satisfied, please Reply to this email with any additional information so we can continue to assist you right away.
We look forward to your reply.
WHAT....the only support I have experienced in 4 days was download this and send us that...the same day (12 hours later) I receive this e-mail:
Dear Lita Letourneau,
At this point, I am getting extremely frustrated...and I am beginning to wonder if I know more than the tech support staff at Acronis or if their product is just really sub-standard? My computer has been un-usable since April 8, 2009 and this is the 11th. (no computer use for 4 days and this is my BUSINESS system!) For the next four days, NO WORD FROM ACRONIS!
On April 16, 2009, this e-mail comes in while I am at my day job (substitute teaching):
WHAT......again THEY need ME to submit a report....the directions above ASSUME I can get INTO my Vista system....wait...haven't I been telling them I CANNOT ACCESS VISTA® for 9 days! This was Friday and I am tired from being with kids all day and now I am BEYOND FURIOUS with Acronis! They have left me in a loop of endless e-mails with stupid steps, on my part, that I KNOW will NOT solve the issue!
Between the 11th and the 16th, I have taken my system to Geek Squad (they had a "Free" checkup so we tried that), I have talked to several Linux users (more experienced than me) and they all have stated the ONLY solution is a re-install of my Vista®! On April 15, 2009 at a Linux Meeting, I go through the re-install with serious professionals watching over me...to our surprise, we discover the recovery partition where ALL my Vista® install files are is ALSO corrupted! The ONLY thing that saved my system is that I was smart enough to burn a set of "RECOVERY" CD's prior to this happening (TOSHIBA, I Am still waiting for my recovery disks that SHOULD have been in the box with my system!). The re-install takes between 2-3 hours and takes out my Linux partition...the ONLY good thing is that, under the watchful eye of higher level geeks, I am able to set the size of my main drive partition (C:\) and leave part of the drive unpartitioned for my Data and my Linux.
This morning, I used GParted (free) to create my Data Drive (E:\) and to format it as a FAT32® system so both of my Operating systems can access it smoothly (Linux can now write to NTFS® but most of those I am close to in the computing community suggest Fat32® for Data.). This WHOLE process took less than 30 minutes...in the meantime...Acronis has sent another e-mail:
Hello Lita Letourneau,
I spent an hour answering this one...I enclosed all of THEIR e-mails and indicated that the solution had been solved by ME with a re-install after 10 days of lost business time! I also asked for my money back...we will see what their response is to that...
I know this was a VERY long blog and I will try to keep them shorter in the future; however, I felt this was serious enough to warrant giving my customers a warning about using Acronis Products:
Here it is:
Remember, MyPCMyWay™ is here to offer you quality support in getting the most from your computer.
If you need a deeper level of tech support, we invite you to become a "member" of MyPCMyWay™ and help us build the largest user-provided tech support site on the internet. To sign-up, please visit MyPCMyWay.biz.
Until next week, we hope
your computer experiences are fun, positive and productive!
Dan & Lita Letourneau, B.S.