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!