Byte Me Article 307 – Computer Warranties

21st January 2017 

What Does a Warranty Do & Not Do

A customer asked me during the week “what is the point of warranty if I have to pay for things to be fixed”.  This is a very worthwhile question and in the world of IT the answer seems to confuse a lot of people.  This article will attempt to clear things up.

Warranty on a laptop, desktop or server is for the purpose of covering a hardware fault.  A hardware fault can be a faulty screen, a faulty USB port, a faulty ram stick, a dying hard drive or a dead power supply.  The above problems will cause a computer to malfunction in all of its operations or even not work at all.

Manufacturer’s warranties are designed to cover the above faults and should include the cost of parts and labour to return the device to a working state.  In many cases however the warranty may not cover the cost of shipping if the device has to be sent away and certainly not the cost of a loan PC while it is being fixed.

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It is for these reasons we sell HP commercial grade equipment or our own brand of computers as they can be repaired within just 2 or 3 working days here in Rockhampton without any freight or costs.  We have seen other brands of laptops and workstations that have to be shipped at the customers’ expense to Brisbane or Sydney with turnaround times of several months.

Software warranties are an entirely different thing.  If you are using Windows 7, 8 or 10 then so are a billion other people.  There really is zero chance that only your operating system has a ‘fault from the factory’ but rather if there is a problem then it is a worldwide one and then it gets patched with a Windows update.

These Windows updates can be looked at as Microsoft’s software warranty as they will NEVER remote into just your PC and fix it for you under warranty.  If they needed to do this then they would immediately have another billion calls to make.  An important note here is that if ANY company are claiming that they are going to do this for you then they are not from Microsoft – even if they are claiming to be.

Besides these base operating systems there are literally millions of software programs and devices that can be installed or connected to a PC which may or may not work.  There are also thousands of user changeable settings on a modern PC and this is where the fun starts.

We often see a computer which works perfectly in all of its tasks except for one particular program or even in just one section of one program.  We also see computers that again work perfectly in all of their operations except for talking to one particular printer.  This type of fault does not indicate a faulty PC and does not in any way constitute a warranty claim.

We also see may errors that are caused through a customer changing their own computer settings, sometimes because they are curious and other times by accident.  If these settings are beyond their ability to rectify and they need professional help to sort out then once again this is not a warranty situation.

Despite what people may tend to think, computers do not have a personality, they do not create malice toward their own users and they cannot change their own settings without an update or a virus or user intervention.  If PC’s worked to the contrary then we would have planes falling out of the sky and a whole host of other problems.

Next week we will look at the difference between a computer warranty and a computer support agreement. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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