So here's what happened.
Sunday - 10am: I turned my laptop on, expecting a couple of hours of homework before I put my CD/DVD shelves together. However, when I turned my laptop on, the screen backlight wasn't working. I could see that the computer was displaying graphics, but with no light on behind the screen, I couldn't see it that well. This happened once before, but it started working again 20 minutes later, so I know this panel is faulty. I'm an IT Professional, so I took the blasted thing apart and put it back together. (A technique that has worked with many a laptop screen.) Didn't work. Took it back apart and checked all the wires. Everything seemed to be plugged in pretty securely, and when I turned it back on (before putting it back together), it still didn't work. So now I had to call HP tech support.
Sunday - 11:15am: I call the HP number and get someone in India. She was very nice. However, she wouldn't take my word for it that I had performed the necessary tests. So then she asks me to "please press and hold the power button for 3 minutes. Press it down, and I will tell you to release it." OH CRAP! I've got the laptop in about 40 pieces. I'm scrambling to find the power button, when she asks me. "Sir, do you know where the power button is?" "Uhhh...yeah.....um.....gimme a second." Finally, I get the laptop power button put back on, and I press it in. Didn't do a thing. So she tells me I am going to need to ship the laptop. I say, "I'm an IT professional. Can you send me the LCD panel, and I'll return you the defective one?" "No, because it may be a problem with the video card...blah blah." So I get the information to ship it and hang up with her. Now I need to put the laptop back together. 20 minutes later, I get it put back together. I turn it on, and the freakin' backlight works!!! GRRRRR.... Oh well, I think. I need to get this defective screen replaced anyway. She told me to ship it WITHOUT a battery, AC Adapter, or any CD's in the drive. No problem. I grab a couple of files that I'm going to need to work on this week and pack the laptop for shipping on Monday.
Wednesday - 12pm: My wife calls. "The laptop is back," she says. Ok...great! I've got some work I need to do on it. "Can you unpack it and tell me how everything looks," says I. She agrees and I hear the sounds of the laptop box being opened. This is how the conversation went:
Kim: "Hmmm...this paper that was packed with the laptop says that the hard drive was imaged, and repacked and sent back."
Chris (with much feeling): "WHAT!?!?!?!"
Kim: "Yeah...says here that they duplicated the problem, imaged the hard drive, and sent it back. Let me start it up..............ok, it's booting......it says, 'Welcome to Windows XP.'"
Chris (almost successfully fighting off the urge to swear uncontrollably): "GIVE ME A PICKIN' BREAK!!!! What is that about????"
Turns out that's *exactly* what they did. Apparently, standard HP practice is to immediately image a hard drive back to factory defaults, which means the user loses everything on his/her hard drive. However, my major beef is that THEY DIDN'T TELL ME THIS!!! Again, I'm an IT Person. I happen to know that there is no reason they needed to re-image my hard drive and lose everything I had on there! So I call HP, and I get a not-very-heartfelt, "I am sorry." Whoopteedoo! I don't care if you're sorry. I care that I got my laptop back with nothing useful on it, and the same dang broken screen I sent them still installed on it!!!!!
Now, it can be argued that I should have backed up my data before sending it. Sure. But they didn't tell me they would image my hard drive. If this was an accident, I could have dealt with it. Accidents happen. But their imaging of my hard drive is NOT an accident!!! It is a policy of which they did not inform me, and as a result of which, I lost everything I had on my hard drive. Now, I can get all the programs back. I have the CD's for most of them, and the rest of them can easily be downloaded. But all the creative writing, all the work for my Hackmaster RPG campaign, and all the save game files I had are gone! Everything. And I have to spend countless hours reinstalling Windows XP Professional, and setting up all those programs again!!! Dag NAB it!!!
So now you all know my story. My recommendation? Don't buy from HP if you can avoid it.
Want the rest of the story? Ok. Their case manager is calling me back sometime tomorrow to talk with me about my situation. What is the best I can hope for? The best I can hope for is that they fix my screen. I can do nothing about the lost data. It wasn't backed up, and is worth nothing to anyone but me. That data doesn't represent lost wages, or damages. Nothing out of my pocket. Just personal time and work that no one but me cares about. So essentially, the best I can hope for is that they'll replace the screen that they should have replaced in the first darn place, but I will say that it is maddening to have lost my data all for NOTHING. To have the same faulty screen back is a slap in the face, and I can tell you that I will have nothing to do with HP anymore. And if I have anything to say about it, my company will not be buying any more HP servers. (And since I handle purchasing, I do have something to say about it.)
Have a good day!