A laptop computer that I’ve had for only two years failed, and it costs too much to fix it.

I bought the HP Spectre  x 360 Convertable in July of 2015. According to the specs, Windows 10 was pre-loaded, and I would not have to upgrade from Windows 7 as I would have to do on my other two computers. Sounded good, as I needed a new faster computer for work that I had planned. I bought the laptop from Hewlett Packard online just as I had purchased all my computers from HP over the years. I had been a loyal and satisfied customer for many years.

Just four months later, the computer had major problems, and since it was still under warranty, HP took the computer back and replaced the motherboard.  The Spectre seemed to work again.

Nine months later, the Spectre died. Really died. The so-called Blue Screen of Death with the error 0xc000000f was all that I could get. I ran all the diagnostics that I could on it, and all tests passed except that the hard drive could not be found. When I tried to run a diagnostic test on the hard drive, I got a message saying that “this media is not relevant to this computer.”  What???

computer_motherboard_annotated_600Since I had not purchased an extended warranty, and this was now a month beyond the standard warranty, I took this little computer to my trusty gurus at DBS Microsystems who, in my experience, can fix anything PC-computer related.  A couple of days later I got an email from Ron at DBS Microsystems: “The hard drive is toasted. I verify that problem is not the motherboard. The cost of a new 500 GB SSD will be $300 plus $150 to install and load Windows 10 and all drivers. Please let me know how to proceed.”  What???

I had a decision to make. Do I pay almost one-third the cost of a new similar computer  to fix a two-year-old computer that clearly has serious problems? I don’t think so; that didn’t seem like a good use of my precious money. But since I needed a little laptop for a major project on which I was just beginning to work, I went to Best Buy to look at computers.  At Best Buy, I was told:

The Spectre had a Windows 10 operating system that had been upgraded from Windows 7, and that it had not been originally pre-loaded with Windows 10 onto a newly manufactured computer as I had thought. Okay.  I guess I could live with that misconception.  But here is the kicker… The Best Buy salesman said that they see my Spectre problem fairly often. When the motherboard goes, the hard drive follows. Even if the motherboard is replaced, the hard drive may fail. He said that the problem is not unique to Hewlett Packard; it happens on other brands also. What???  

IF this is true, and IF this is known throughout the industry, I should have gotten a different response from HP when I sent my Spectre back to have the motherboard replaced. The laptop was under warranty, and they should have replaced the machine rather than sending back to me a computer that they suspected might be faulty. Shame on HP!

IF this is a problem known generally throughout the industry, and HP isn’t aware of it, what does this say about this behemoth of computer manufacturers? Either HP is not as good as they want us to believe, or they are cheating their customers of good service.  Either way, I came to a conclusion.

From Best Buy, I took a Microsoft Surface laptop home to try out, and OMG, what a great little laptop! I love it. The MS Surface is doing everything that I need and more. This time I invested in a three-year extended warranty to make sure that I am covered if the motherboard/hard drive or anything else fails.  I like the Surface much better than the Spectre, so maybe this awful and costly experience will turn out all right in the end. Only time will tell.

I also learned something else. Don’t stick to one company out of some misplaced loyalty. I’ve had excellent HP computers in the past and still use two of them, but if I ever have to buy another computer, I’m looking at the whole industry before I choose.




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