Love the PC – hate the technical support

I love my IBM ThinkPad T40 – it’s easily the most solidly built of my three notebook PCs and whilst my everyday PC is a much more highly specified Fujitsu-Siemens Lifebook S7010D the ThinkPad is my machine of choice.

Unfortunately, a few weeks back, I accidentally deleted the hidden protected area (HPA) on my ThinkPad (also known as the Access IBM pre-desktop area).

My first experience of IBM’s technical support was great – once they had confirmed that the machine was in warranty, they were happy to send me recovery CDs free of charge but since then things have not been good. Even my less-than-satisfactory experiences of Dell and CA support via e-mail from India was better than my current experience of IBM. All I could get from IBM hardware support was a statement that the restore CD should bring back the pre-desktop area (it doesn’t) and a referral to the software support line. There lies the problem (via an e-mail from an obscure e-mail address that fell foul of Outlook’s junk e-mail filters) – IBM provides free hardware support during the computer’s warranty period and free software support for the first 30 days after the purchase of the computer, after which the software support becomes chargeable. Fair enough for operating system support, but for an IBM technology accessed via a hardware function key? My last e-mail asked them to clarify whether they consider a partition provided on the hard disk to be hardware or software. No response (although I suspect I know the answer to that one).

Surely it’s not unusual for a hard disk to be replaced in an IBM PC and for the Access IBM pre-desktop area to be restored? Grrr.

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