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takeahike
Premium
join:2005-01-07
Woodland Hills, CA

1 edit

F**k Dell

Sorry for my language but there's little other way to express it. I've been working on their laptops since they started producing them (I have 22 years in the biz) and they've always made removing the hard drive a two screws and pull it out matter. No more! You have to tear the whole thing apart (at great risk of course) to remove it. Much of my work involves recovering data and re-formating, so how is one to easily recover data from a system that won't boot without secondarily hooking up the hard drive to a desktop? And I also re-load OS's with images--I've had limited success doing this with USB drives.

Now I can see how manufacturers try new things to make improvements and that those improvements don't always work out. Those changes may make repairs more difficult but that is the trade-off. Now, how could burying the hard drive vs. making it easily accessible in a laptop conceivably in anyone's mind be an attempt at improving the system? There are only two possible explanations for this and that is it was ten cents cheaper to produce the system or they just want all software repairs to go back to them. Any suggestions would help!
--
"The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry . . . " --Robert Burns

Expand your moderator at work

AsherN
Premium
join:2010-08-23
Thornhill, ON
reply to takeahike

Re: Fuck Dell

Folks want small, with a lot of expension ports. The width of the hard drive on the side of the laptop is wasted space. The emergence of docking stations make the back a no slot zone.

Funny, I can remove the HDD just about as fast. It's generally behind a panel in the bottom of the unit. 2 or 4 screws. AAMOF, I work with a lot of Latitudes E520s. 4 screws take out a panel at the bottom, exposing HDD, RAM, NIC, Wi-Fi adapters, etc. 4 screws and all easily changeble parts are there. It's actually easier.



takeahike
Premium
join:2005-01-07
Woodland Hills, CA

This one is an Inspiron N5030. At least they have the service manual on line and it instructs you to get the keyboard (always very fragile) out first and then I believe it's under the palm rest. I've seen what you're talking about and the newest ones are not like that (no panel exists). Actually the first I saw of this was when I bought one within the last year or so. I always wind up giving up out of fear of destroying the thing.
--
"The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry . . . " --Robert Burns



BK3

join:2001-04-10
Geneva, IL
Reviews:
·AT&T Yahoo

said by takeahike:

This one is an Inspiron N5030.

This is your problem. The Inspiron line are the "consumer level" machines, designed to be inexpensive. This often equates to "difficult to work on"

I work with Latitudes on a daily basis (D620, D630, E6400, E6410, E6420 and E6220 and soon the new E6430 and E6230). The HDDs in these are simple to pull and replace.
Plus the Lats are far better built than the Inspirons. Yes, they cost more but are worth it.
--
Learn from the past and look to the future.

Max_War

join:2002-11-30
Scarborough, ON
reply to takeahike

I know HP has done the same with some of their models, and probably the other manufacturers as well.

They are just following Apple's exterior case designs. Unlike Apple, at least you can open a PC laptop to do repairs.


H_T_R_N
Premium
join:2011-12-06
Valencia, PA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·voip.ms
reply to takeahike

I make my living off of people not being able to get to the hard drive.
Price your repair acordlingly and infor the client that you might have to destroy the keyboard to get to the drive and that if you do there will be an additional charge. Simple!



takeahike
Premium
join:2005-01-07
Woodland Hills, CA
reply to BK3

said by BK3:

said by takeahike:

This one is an Inspiron N5030.

This is your problem. The Inspiron line are the "consumer level" machines, designed to be inexpensive. This often equates to "difficult to work on"

I work with Latitudes on a daily basis (D620, D630, E6400, E6410, E6420 and E6220 and soon the new E6430 and E6230). The HDDs in these are simple to pull and replace.
Plus the Lats are far better built than the Inspirons. Yes, they cost more but are worth it.

I just fix them--I don't pick what people decide to buy.
--
"The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry . . . " --Robert Burns


takeahike
Premium
join:2005-01-07
Woodland Hills, CA
reply to H_T_R_N

said by H_T_R_N:

I make my living off of people not being able to get to the hard drive.
Price your repair acordlingly and infor the client that you might have to destroy the keyboard to get to the drive and that if you do there will be an additional charge. Simple!

Haven't you heard the line: For that, I'll just buy a new computer!
--
"The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry . . . " --Robert Burns

Oedipus

join:2005-05-09
kudos:1

said by takeahike:

said by H_T_R_N:

I make my living off of people not being able to get to the hard drive.
Price your repair acordlingly and infor the client that you might have to destroy the keyboard to get to the drive and that if you do there will be an additional charge. Simple!

Haven't you heard the line: For that, I'll just buy a new computer!

If that's the case, it sounds like you're overcharging.


ilikeme
I live in a van down by the river.
Premium
join:2002-08-27
Sugar Land, TX
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Vonage
reply to Max_War

said by Max_War:

They are just following Apple's exterior case designs. Unlike Apple, at least you can open a PC laptop to do repairs.

I take it you have never actually opened a mac. Don't knock it until you actually have. I have, and they are quite easy to access everything (HDD, RAM, Disc Drive, ETC.) Easier than many PC laptops.


takeahike
Premium
join:2005-01-07
Woodland Hills, CA

1 edit
reply to Oedipus

said by Oedipus:

said by takeahike:

said by H_T_R_N:

Haven't you heard the line: For that, I'll just buy a new computer!

If that's the case, it sounds like you're overcharging.

Haven't you heard: laptops start at $200-$300 dollars. I charge $130 to recover anything less than an extreme amount of data, format the drive and re-load the OS, with of course all drivers, updates and plug-ins, like adobe flash, java, winrar, a burning program, an anti-virus and usually iTunes. Sounds reasonable to me. If I added more on top of that the client would be thinking new system (on which I'd make virtually nothing if I tried to compete with the likes of Dell, etc.) The way I'm often able to convince them that the repair makes more sense is by educating them to the fact that the new system will not come with all their docs, pics and other data and that they'd have to pay up-wards of $100 to get that data transferred, which I of course "include" in the repair service. To be honest, if you're fixing systems and you haven't heard that famous line I'd like to move to your neighborhood.

By the way, on the deal that prompted me to start this thread it turned out that the hard drive was bad so I had to get it out somehow. Just got more aggressive with the keyboard and then the palm-rest came off easily after removing the ten (yes, ten) screws on the backside. I was lucky that the client didn't stop the deal when I told them it was going to cost the original $120 I quoted them plus $100 for a new drive, especially since they really had no data that they were concerned about recovering. Well, now that I've done one of these, maybe it won't be as intimidating the next time.
--
"The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry . . . " --Robert Burns


BK3

join:2001-04-10
Geneva, IL
Reviews:
·AT&T Yahoo

said by takeahike:

Haven't you heard: laptops start at $200-$300 dollars. I charge $130 to recover anything less than an extreme amount of data, format the drive and re-load the OS, with of course all drivers, updates and plug-ins, like adobe flash, java, winrar, a burning program, an anti-virus and usually iTunes. Sounds reasonable to me.

Wow, you charge twice the amount I do for the same work.
--
Learn from the past and look to the future.

Oedipus

join:2005-05-09
kudos:1

said by BK3:

said by takeahike:

Haven't you heard: laptops start at $200-$300 dollars. I charge $130 to recover anything less than an extreme amount of data, format the drive and re-load the OS, with of course all drivers, updates and plug-ins, like adobe flash, java, winrar, a burning program, an anti-virus and usually iTunes. Sounds reasonable to me.

Wow, you charge twice the amount I do for the same work.

Yes, case in point.

OP, even if you charged $150 for the "more difficult" models, you'll still make out like a bandit.


OmenQ
Spazz
Premium
join:2003-03-21
Continuum
reply to BK3

He's still charging less than Geek Squad.
Since PC repairs aren't my primary line of work, when people want me to fix their computers I quote them "Half of what Geek Squad would charge for similar work."
Works out to about $75 for a virus removal job, or $125 for saving their files, wiping and reloading. That doesn't include any hardware they might need, of course.
--
Cogito Ergo Nom



BK3

join:2001-04-10
Geneva, IL

1 recommendation

I don't mind geek squad. I make good "beer and pizza" money cleaning up the messes they make.
--
Learn from the past and look to the future.


H_T_R_N
Premium
join:2011-12-06
Valencia, PA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·voip.ms
reply to takeahike

said by takeahike:

said by H_T_R_N:

I make my living off of people not being able to get to the hard drive.
Price your repair acordlingly and infor the client that you might have to destroy the keyboard to get to the drive and that if you do there will be an additional charge. Simple!

Haven't you heard the line: For that, I'll just buy a new computer!

That still does not address the original issue they brought the device to you in the first place, the data. If they are willing to throw the data away then it wasn't that important to them in the first place. And if they hadn't thought that far ahead, its your job to enlighten them. Remember they brought it to you for your "expert" help. Provide it to them and they will be willing to pay. Act like they are the smart ones in the conversation and you will lose every time.

And yes I have heard that line. I usually make the original amount for the data recovery, plus a margin on the new laptop, up-selling some hardware, software and a backup service, a bit of extra on the disposal fee and the resale of the parts on eBay. So when I hear that they would rather buy a new device, I hear $ signs!

AsherN
Premium
join:2010-08-23
Thornhill, ON
reply to takeahike

Re: F**k Dell

Something has to give somewhere. People want small. They also want an ooptical drive, 2-3 USB, VGA, HDMI, mic and headphones jacks. Add a physical switch for wireless, eSATA, memory cards, 1394 ports, and somewhere you need a vent for the fan. Side accessible HDD takes 2.5 inches of space. For an item that most users will never have to remove.

Price accordingly.


nonymous
Premium
join:2003-09-08
Glendale, AZ
reply to takeahike

Re: Fuck Dell

said by takeahike:

By the way, on the deal that prompted me to start this thread it turned out that the hard drive was bad so I had to get it out somehow. Just got more aggressive with the keyboard and then the palm-rest came off easily after removing the ten (yes, ten) screws on the backside. I was lucky that the client didn't stop the deal when I told them it was going to cost the original $120 I quoted them plus $100 for a new drive, especially since they really had no data that they were concerned about recovering. Well, now that I've done one of these, maybe it won't be as intimidating the next time.

I bought one of those cheap Dells then found out about the hard drive. There are a few youtube videos that make it look relatively easy though if I ever have to replace the drive even with the keyboard. Just step by step and reverse to put back together.


takeahike
Premium
join:2005-01-07
Woodland Hills, CA
reply to BK3

said by BK3:

said by takeahike:

Haven't you heard: laptops start at $200-$300 dollars. I charge $130 to recover anything less than an extreme amount of data, format the drive and re-load the OS, with of course all drivers, updates and plug-ins, like adobe flash, java, winrar, a burning program, an anti-virus and usually iTunes. Sounds reasonable to me.

Wow, you charge twice the amount I do for the same work.

Well, if I was doing this just for beer and pizza half the amount would be fine. Do you have a "day" job that pays the mortgage? Do you just work out of your house? If your answers are affirmative and this is just your sideline it is a totally different matter. This is my full-time "job." I also have a retail shop to pay rent on plus of course I have my house and everything that goes along with that. My prices are very competitive, way lower than Geek Squad or Staples, and are commonplace for this part of the country.
--
"The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry . . . " --Robert Burns


takeahike
Premium
join:2005-01-07
Woodland Hills, CA

1 edit
reply to H_T_R_N

People are constantly comparing your charge to the deals they've seen in the paper or on-line. Yes, if you educate them about their data (as I pointed out before as a way to get jobs) you can collect more. But with everything that you're adding on the total is often going to chase them away. I usually try to make the price in a range that I can get them to justify to themselves.

I'll tell you, after 22 years and selling lots of systems, I really prefer to concentrate on repairs (and the market has changed such that that is the reality). Like I said I used to sell a lot more systems, and while it was definitely more money in my pocket the stress level from the expectations the client subsequently has of you was really almost more than I could take, particularly with laptops that you may have to depend on someone other than yourself, i.e., the manufacturer, to fix.
--
"The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry . . . " --Robert Burns



takeahike
Premium
join:2005-01-07
Woodland Hills, CA
reply to AsherN

Re: F**k Dell

said by AsherN:

Side accessible HDD takes 2.5 inches of space. For an item that most users will never have to remove.

Well, this one was more or less in the same space in the lower right-hand corner as a side accessible drive. All it was missing was the accessibility, so I don't see how it would have taken up any more space if they just had placed a handle there to pull it out. The user may not remove it but--especially with all the software problems that are bound to occur--removing the drive is far and away the most common device that will need this access.
--
"The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry . . . " --Robert Burns


Wily_One
Premium
join:2002-11-24
San Jose, CA
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse

1 recommendation

reply to takeahike

Re: Fuck Dell

said by takeahike:

This is my full-time "job."

And thus not Enterprise IT related. Your post is about the hassles of fixing people's #@$!! computers, when the very NAME of this forum is "No, I Will Not Fix Your #@$!! Computer!"

I used to do side work along these lines, and for me it was more trouble than it was worth. (and I charged $90-100/hr) I only work for family now.

Bottom line is if you choose to do jobs like this, then you choose to work on all the craptastic low-end Dells, HPs, etc. no matter how cheaply made or hard to work on they are. As others have said, most companies have a standard model or set of models, which I guarantee their tech support staff have learned how to work on with their eyes closed.


BK3

join:2001-04-10
Geneva, IL
Reviews:
·AT&T Yahoo
reply to takeahike

said by takeahike:

said by BK3:

said by takeahike:

Wow, you charge twice the amount I do for the same work.

Well, if I was doing this just for beer and pizza half the amount would be fine. Do you have a "day" job that pays the mortgage? Do you just work out of your house?

Yes, Global corp IT support.
Yes
If anyone tried to charge the prices you do here in my neck of the woods, my side work would jump to such an amount that I would not be able to keep up, nor would I try. I try to limit myself to 1 or 2 a week, that's all I want. I don't sell systems, software or add-ons, and only the occasional repair part (not marked up).

95% of the computers people bring to me to work on are Dell, (mostly software issues) plus where I work is a Dell shop. So all day and into the night it is Dell, Dell, Dell. So, I have gotten quite proficient at working with Dells of all models.
--
Learn from the past and look to the future.


takeahike
Premium
join:2005-01-07
Woodland Hills, CA

4 edits
reply to Wily_One

said by Wily_One:

said by takeahike:

This is my full-time "job."

And thus not Enterprise IT related. Your post is about the hassles of fixing people's #@$!! computers, when the very NAME of this forum is "No, I Will Not Fix Your #@$!! Computer!"

Well, where's the right forum? I haven't seen anything close except this one for this type of discussion. "Choosing" a line of work is not quite as simple as deciding what to eat for dinner. I have to avoid starving to death during any career changes to a cushy corporate job.
--
"The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry . . . " --Robert Burns


takeahike
Premium
join:2005-01-07
Woodland Hills, CA
reply to BK3

I guess different parts of the country have different rates. What are major retailers--for example, Geek Squad or Staples--or small independent shops in your area charging?
--
"The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry . . . " --Robert Burns



Wily_One
Premium
join:2002-11-24
San Jose, CA
reply to takeahike

I'd say the »Computer Hardware Help forum.



takeahike
Premium
join:2005-01-07
Woodland Hills, CA

I wanted opinions from those who work on systems, not from potential customers trying to do it themselves. Looks like there really is no forum for my line of work.
--
"The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry . . . " --Robert Burns



BK3

join:2001-04-10
Geneva, IL
Reviews:
·AT&T Yahoo

1 edit
reply to takeahike

said by takeahike:

I guess different parts of the country have different rates. What are major retailers--for example, Geek Squad or Staples--or small independent shops in your area charging?

The only big box near me is Best Buy - The rates are set by the BB corp. I don't track them. They don't have a sign out displaying the rates. Several people have come to me after GS really messed up their computer. The GS reputation around here is very low. People seem to like me when I do the service work.

OOOps - forgot - There is a Staples near me, but I have never seen or heard of anyone getting a computer serviced there. I don't remember a sign or advertisement telling the rates.

There used to be a CompUSA near here. They were charging $100.00 up front to look at a machine, then applying that to the labor if you accepted the estimate. They are now out of business - need I say more?

Edit - spelling
--
Learn from the past and look to the future.


takeahike
Premium
join:2005-01-07
Woodland Hills, CA

Thanks! The big box stores are out-of-business more because of on-line pricing of components. Probably their service kept them in business as long as it could, similar to car dealerships who often have to sell their inventory at cut-rate prices. I'm sure you've noticed in the business news that Best Buy is in deep trouble and is making it into articles discussing brands that may no longer be here at the end of 2013.
--
"The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry . . . " --Robert Burns