HP computers rock, HP service rocks, I will recommend HP notebooks to everyone who asks, and here’s why….
A month or so ago, I wounded my HP netbook 210 with a glass of red wine deposited to the keyboard, then killed it by flushing water through the keyboard in an amazingly stupid attempt to salvage the situation. But it was two years old, anyway, and the keyboard really was too small for comfortable typing. So I went to Costco and bought an HP Pavillion DM4-3000 notebook for $700.
It’s been a very good computer, and a nice bargain, but then I deposited another glass of red wine to the keyboard. What I should have done was to turn the computer upside down, so the vino would drain away from the electronics and out of the keyboard. I did no such thing, I just mopped up the residual wine and kept working. As time went by, things got flakier and flakier, until the keyboard quit working altogether.
So I went to the local PC repair shop and asked them, “How much to fix, eh?” Their answer was $100. I’ve built a lot of computers, so I figured to give it a shot myself. I found a YouTube video of how to dismantle a computer very much like mine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v03EpyGy_1s. Following the instructions, I got it taken apart, but the keyboard was stumping me.
A quick phone call to my brother (a data tech with AT&T) and the basic idea turned out to be “force it”. So I did, and the keyboard popped lose, but was still being held by something. I figure that if a little force got me this far, a bit more would finish the job. The next event was a “snap” sound from under the keyboard. A bit more internet searching turned up the actual repair manual: http://www.manualowl.com/p/Hewlett-Packard/Pavilion-dm4-3000/Manual/151516. At this point, I felt that I’d either won a small jackpot, or gotten a fair sized inheritance. Reading the friendly manual (RTFM) showed that there was a screw holding down the keyboard, and I should have removed it first. Oh, well, as they say, at least the damage appeared to be on the keyboard side of things. (I’ve since discovered that HP provides their manuals online at their business tech support site, itself an awesome resources for anyone needing to repair an HP product).
I took the keyboard to the local PC repair shop and asked them to order a replacement keyboard. Considering that I’d jilted them on the repair job, they were fairly cordial about it. A few hours later, a call from the proprietor informed me that the part I needed was not available. Not now, not ever … probably. To say I was dejected would be putting it mildly.
Dejected, resigned to a disfigured notebook with a gaping hole where the keyboard should go, and a USB keyboard dangling unceremoniously from the side, I was in despair. However, desperation seems to have sharpened my senses, for the thought occurred to me to check the HP website. Maybe there would be a contact for some obscure organization that sold otherwise unavailable HP parts. So off to www.hp.com, then a click on the “Support and Drivers” link, then OMG!!!!! there’s a ‘Replacement Parts’ link! Having the part number from the back of my old keyboard (and from the Manualowl website) I did a search by part number. Bingo, in stock and ready to ship.
I ordered the part online and paid for expedited shipping. Just four short days later, the keyboard had arrived (despite some confusion over FedEx shipping data). Lo and behold, not only had HP shipped a shiny new keyboard, they included the three manual pages describing how to remove the old keyboard and install the new keyboard. I am not that experienced with a screwdriver around notebook computers, but it’s back together and working perfectly.
And now I know that I can fix this thing, or even upgrade it if I wish (in retrospect, I wish I’d ordered the backlit keyboard … oh, well, next time). And it’s not just common, easy stuff like a keyboard, HP’s entire parts catalog is online. You just won’t find this kind of support from some offshore brand being handled by a stepchild distributor or subsidiary in the US. This is what having a big, experienced, reliable American-based company provides. My hat’s off to HP, and I am now a loyal fan.
G’day all, and may God continue to bless America!