HP Support Experience

I just had a very interesting experience with HP customer support for my new Mini 1000.

The Mini 1000 netbook comes with Microsoft Works 9 pre-installed. I think that most people pretty much dismiss Works as not very worthwhile. Well, since I had just gotten my Mini on the way to the airport, I really didn’t have the opportunity to install Word or other word processing solution.

Turns out the Works 9 word processor is pretty good. Seems to me to pretty much be Word 2003. Can read, modify, and save any Word format, including the newest docx. Supposedly the spread sheet can handle pretty much any Excel file.

But my Mini 1000 has just a 16Gig SSD, and I wanted to reduce space and put on a different word processor, so I uninstalled Works. After a bunch of messing with alternate word processors, I decided that Works 9 was actually the preferred solution for my netbook. Here comes the part about HP support.

Having a small 16Gig drive has some consequences. First, the Windows XP restore is turned off. Second, no HP recovery partition.

Almost any HP computer you buy will use part of the hard disk for a recovery partition. It allows you to restore your system from scratch, and in more recent versions, recover drivers and other included software, including Works if it was part of your original package. You also usually get a restore CD/DVD. My Mini came with a CD that had the bare OEM Windows XP installation disk, and a DVD with drivers and most of the extra software included with the Mini version of XP. But no copy of Works to reinstall.

So with no XP restore, no HP recovery partition, and no copy on the recovery DVD, I contacted HP support. The first reply from HP was a set of instructions how to use the recovery partition. I replied the 16Gig SSD did not include a recovery partition, and that the the recovery DVD didn’t have Works on it. It took another round, but after a couple of e-mail exchanges, I think I finally convinced them that I didn’t have any way to recover Works. So they bumped the case to the next higher level.

This resulted in phone calls. After the first call, the support guy said they’d send a new recovery DVD with Works. A couple of days later, the same guy called back, and wanted me to try to find Works again on some media I already had. I again explained that I really knew what I was doing, and really really did not have anyway to recover Works from the originally supplied material. So again said they’d send a recovery disk for Works. Got a call again a couple of days later from same guy saying the replacement was on the way. Sure enough, a few days later (maybe 2 weeks from my first contact), a full retail copy of Works was delivered. And then I got another call to confirm I got the package from the same support guy.

So I guess I’d have to give HP pretty high marks for ultimately solving my problem. I don’t know that in the end that getting Works was actually worth the little effort I put in, and if I had been in a hurry I’d have been unhappy. But really, they ended up doing the right thing.

So I learned a few things from this.

1. HP really depends on the hard disk recovery partition for support.
2. The recovery DVD that came with the Mini 1000 was clearly built for that specific model – there were drivers that seem exclusive to the Mini 1000.
3. Apparently Works 9 is not included on all Mini 1000 models.
4. I got my Mini 1000 at Best Buy – a special model only sold through Best Buy. So there must be a whole bunch of Mini 1000’s out there with no recovery media for Works 9.
5. Not many people (like probably no one else!) have uninstalled Works 9 from their Mini 1000 and then changed their mind and wanted it back.
6. As a last recourse, HP will actually send a full retail box to support their machines.
7. HP can still make mistakes in their manufacturing – no one figured out that there was incomplete recovery media for small SSD installations.
8. Once you’ve gotten your service support elevated to supervisor level, they seem to be very comprehensive in the support.
9. I’m more likely than before to get HP products again.

About brucewampler

I've had a long and varied careen in the computer industry. I taught computer science at the University of New Mexico for nearly 15 years. I founded two successful computer software companies. I wrote the first spelling checker and first grammar checkers for personal computers. I've lived in Glenwood Springs for 10 years. My wife, Trina, grew up here, and I've been coming to Glenwood since 1977. My kids have attended the local public schools, and have had a great experience. My son, Van, will be attending the University of Colorado starting in the fall of 2007, and my daughter is a Sophomore at Glenwood Springs High School. I've been on the Roaring Fork School District Board of Education for almost 5 years. Working with our kids, teachers, schools, principals, administrators, and the Roaring Fork community has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life.
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