HP Frustrations II

Just a short post this evening, as it’s late and I’m tired and kinda out of ideas.  Tomorrow I don’t have a lot on the calendar, so I’ll try to write more.

Yesterday, I spend another frustrating 3 hours in online help sessions trying to troubleshoot my webcam problems.  This laptop has an integrated webcam, which I don’t use very often.  But the client I’m picking up at Aero-News.net does a lot of videoconferencing, as the staff is literally spread out across the country.

For some reason, as I wrote before, the computer has forgotten it was installed, or that it even existed.  Even after installing Service Pack 1 for Vista, upgrading to the latest BIOS, and re-installing the latest drivers from HP … the camera doesn’t even show up in Device Manager.  It’s just gone.

HP’s solution … format “C:/” and lose all my data.  I could back it up and restore everything, but what a pain in the ass.  And you never get it all back.  Ever.  I don’t think formatting the hard drive should be my only option for mending what should be a simple webcam problem.

Turns out, it’s not.  I could send them the computer for repairs.  The minimum charge is $400.00 … plus tax.  And they’d probably format the hard drive.  A new computer is $600.00, with upgraded bells and whistles, faster processor, more RAM, etc, etc, etc.

Plan “C”, which was MY solution, was to go buy an outboard USB webcam.  $50.00, and a much better quality picture than the internal cam.

It all goes to planned obsolescence, I suppose.  The computer is only warranteed for 90 days or something, and Sandeep, the first person to try to help me,  obviously had English as a second language.  The only options are to pay by the hour for guys to talk to you on the phone, or spend the price of a new computer for an off-site repair that could take weeks.  I can’t afford to be without my computer for that long.

So, it’s the USB cam and that seems to be just fine.  But I don’t know if I’d buy another HP laptop.  Overall, I like the computer, but apparently the service leaves something to be desired.

Sadly, I don’t know if it’d be any better anywhere else.  I know, my Mac friends are screaming “Apple, Tom, Apple”. but those start in the thousands rather than the hundreds.  Maybe not so much.

I’d have preferred a quick re-load-the-driver solution.  It didn’t happen.

Some days you gets the bear … some days the bear gets you.




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Filed under Computer, Computer Repair, Tech Support, Thoughts

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