Follow-up on Dell On-Site service

Outcome: Repaired.

The Dell Inspiron 8500 which had a fried hard drive is now back up and running with Windows XP Service Pack 1 and all updates, and network, sound, video and processor drivers re-installed.

We opened the incident with Dell service on Tuesday. They promised to overnight a replacement drive. The replacement arrived early Thursday.Thursday evening I called back, and was on the phone for about 45 minutes replacing the drive, and starting the Windows XP restoration from the Dell supplied OEM version of Windows XP. Once XP was installed, I then used the Dell Drivers disk to restore all of the software specific to the hardware contained in the Inspiron 8500. (This process was not particularly clear or intuitive).

This took another hour. Today, I’ll bring the unit back into the office and install all of their applications. With luck the user will be up and running.

Rough totals, then of the time:

Diagnostics: 1 hour

Windows XP replacement 1 hour

Applications replacement 2 hours

Lost time for the user: 4 days.

Estimated Total cost to client for repair: $400+

Since these units cost almost $3000 for the laptop plus peripherals this represents a 13.3% cost of the purchase price to replace a major part in a 14 month old machine. Since the machine had a 1 year warranty, a replacement disk might have been $250 or so.. with some extra legwork in finding one. You could argue that in this case, the service contract was not justified. If the user has to replace a motherboard, or the laptop screen, however, the parts replacement cost would be much higher.

One possible mitigation might be to have created a drive image of the disk using Ghost. This would allow the restoration of all of the office applications in about 15 minutes. Of course, the restore point will be current only back to the time that the image was made.

And yeah, the service was provided on-site alright. By me.

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