D&D Computers One, Best Buy Zero

I had a laptop “near death experience” over the past few days.  It actually started on Saturday (which was Halloween).  So I guess that makes this a “Halloween Hard Drive Horror Show”.

First, my Sony Vaio, which I’ve had for two years, got a little wobbly.  Windows Vista wanted to run the dreaded CHKDSK utility. Things went down hill from there very quickly.

Monday night, I went back to my hotel room after working at my client’s offices all day, and the laptop refused to boot up at all. I gave it my best “I am not a techie” try, and realized this was not something I was going to be able to resolve on my own.  No problem, I thought.  I bought this laptop at Best Buy and was smart enough (I thought) to purchase a three-year extended warranty at the time (for an additional $600).

So yesterday morning, I showed up when the local Best Buy opened their doors, with my service plan number in hand. After a brief wait, I spoke with a member of the Geek Squad. He regretted to inform me that neither hard drive failure or reinstalling Windows Vista were covered by my extended warranty. But they were kind enough to let me borrow their Yellow Pages.

I got really lucky finding D&D Computers in Huber Heights, Ohio.

Brian Dean, the Chief Tech, told me to come right over.  I got there a little after 11:00 am, and was there until just after 4:00 pm. Brian took extremely good care of me and my laptop.  At my request, he replaced my failing 150 GB hard drive with a brand new 500 GB drive, bumped my RAM up from 2 GB to 4 GB, and installed Windows 7 on the new drive.

I had to reinstall all of my applications, which took a few hours last night. But to be back up and running in less than 24 hours, and to have gotten a major laptop upgrade out of all this, was a great outcome. I even got my old hard drive installed in a little enclosure so I could hook it up to my laptop using a USB cable, to access all of my data.

The total cost was $885 ($321 at Staples for the full version of Windows 7 Professional, $500 at D&D Computers for the new hard drive, new RAM and their labor, and $64 at Best Buy for the USB drive enclosure).

The moral of the story: read the fine print of your extended warranty, let your fingers do the walking and make sure you’re current on backing up your hard drive!


2 Comments on “D&D Computers One, Best Buy Zero”

  1. Faun deHenry 11/04/2009 at 1:41 pm #

    Hi Dan — Sorry to hear about your travails with hardware. It’s truly frustrating to be totally reliant on equipment that is beyond your control. (I feel the same about cars.) Best Buy Geek Squad teams are not equal when it comes to customer service, technical support, or simple usefulness.

    In my case, the saga began in North Carolina in June and lasted through October, including 3 motherboards and 2 LCD’s as replacements. Guess what, I still had a computer that I couldn’t use!

    I tweeted my irritation about the situation and someone from Best Buy’s corporate office intervened. The issue was finally resolved to my satisfaction around mid-October.

    So not only do you need to read the fine print but also determine levels of competence and customer friendliness. Recently I heard that the BB Geek Squad in Charlotte is one of the better teams.

  2. Jim Ericson 11/11/2009 at 4:30 pm #


    Sounds like we had similar experiences. It’s hard to accept your world can turn around a bad day for a developer years ago. Glad you got yourself back up as well.

    I usually don’t buy extended warranties for the fine print and disclaimers within. I usually find I can fix a problem or find a better solution on my own. Good to have a good computer shop in your back pocket though. I will keep that in mind going forward.

    Love the header on your blog, I always knew you were the “world’s fastest” at a few things.


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