Not Even Geek Squad's CEO Can Get Your Computer Fixed

On May 3, 2007 a reader wrote in to explain an issue he was having with Best Buy’s Geek Squad. His computer was randomly shutting off and generally acting crazy. His warranty was with Geek Squad so he took the computer in for repair. Geek Squad wiped his hard drive and returned the computer without fixing the problem.

We suggested he write Geek Squad’s founder, Robert Stephens, for help. In the 9 months and 8 days since we received his first email, no further repair work has been done, despite a friendly email from Robert promising a “credit for further service,” and that he would “ask that they keep me posted until it is resolved to your complete satisfaction.”

May 3, 2007:

Here is my best buy horror story. I sent it to Robert Stephens today. I’ll let you know if he gets back to me…

My computer was running slowly generally and shutting down completely at times, so, as I had it under warranty with Geek Squad (and still do), I brought it in to be fixed. When I brought it in, they said it would take about five days to fix, and I said that would be fine.

Five days later, I called to ask if my computer was ready, and they said it was. After making the trek to Best Buy (I had to leave work to do so, and it takes about 45 minutes to get there) the Geek Squad representative said that actually it wasn’t ready, and they would need another seven days, and, as an afterthought, almost, that my hard drive had died while in GeekSquad’s care. When I asked how, as they hadn’t even begun to try to fix the problem yet, the Geek Squad representative couldn’t tell me. I asked if they could save the files on the hard drive, and the Geek Squad representative said they would.

Seven days later, when I came back, after calling again and being told my computer was ready, I was told that, actually, they couldn’t save any of the files on my hard drive, and that I would need to go back to my apartment and get the original cd so they could reload windows. I had to go all the way home and all the way back – an hour and a half trip that was totally unnecessary, as they could have just told me to bring the cd on the phone.

When I got back, the Geek Squad representative reloaded Windows on my pc, but I had lost all of my files, many of which were (needless to say) very important to me. Worse than this, soon after I got home, I found that my computer still shuts down randomly at times. So, not only did Geek Squad destroy my hard drive; they also failed to fix my computer.

At this point I don’t know what to do. My computer still needs to be fixed, as it cannot remain in this state, but I don’t feel comfortable bringing it to GeekSquad, which has already cost me hundreds of dollars in lost files and software. I had such a bad experience with GeekSquad that, even though I am still covered by its warranty, I feel that sending my computer to GeekSquad at this point would be comparable to sending my computer to a butcher.

Bezalel

May 8, 2007:

Here is Robert’s reply to me, followed by my re-reply to Robert. I’ll let you know when I hear back from him.

Bezalel

Thank you for taking the time to send me your letter. I rely on direct feedback from our customers like you to let us know how The Geek Squad is doing. I know the store management would very much like to resolve this for you. I am including them on this e-mail so they can work to prevent this from happening again.
In addition to refunding all of your service money, I will ask that the store give you a credit for future service if you will please accept it from us. If you or anyone you know ever has any experience that is less than perfect, I want to know about it. We care very much about quality and I hope you’ll give us another chance. I will ask that they keep me posted until it is resolved to your complete satisfaction.
Regards,
Robert Stephens
Founder and Chief Inspector
The Geek Squad
“Serving the Public, Policing Technology, and Protecting the World”

Dear Robert,

Thank you for your email. I can’t tell you how glad I am to hear that someone at Geek Squad actually cares about my problems. However, it is not clear from your email just what you or Geek Squad will do to alleviate my problem. Please elaborate.

In addition to refunding my service money (which I take to mean refunding the cost of the warranty), I think the best way to fix this problem would be for Geek Squad to restore my hard drive. I have my hard drive (it is currently in a box, as I mentioned in my last email), and the people at Geek Squad said that they could restore it, but it would be expensive. If you could cover this service, I would very much appreciate it.

Additionally, while you write that the store will give me a credit for future service, you don’t make clear what this service is – as I am already under warranty, I don’t know how much I need credit for future service. My issue isn’t bringing my computer to Geek Squad – which I can do already as my computer is under warranty – but trusting Geek Squad to fix my computer. In this, unfortunately, you have yet to alleviate my concerns. Please do so.

Thank you again for your concern, and for your help. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,
Bezalel

June 8, 2007:

I just wanted to follow up with you regarding my awful experience with Best Buy and Geek Squad. They have only gotten worse.

While Robert Stephens sent me a friendly email telling me he would do everything he could to fix my problem, the people he passed the problem on to (my local NY Geek Squad and Best Buy representatives) have just passed the buck for the past two and a half weeks.

After a constant barrage of emails from me, they finally two weeks ago asked me for my computer’s information, which I gave them promptly. However, since then, I haven’t heard from them at all, even after having sent numerous emails to everyone cc’d by Robert Stephens (including Stephens himself). In fact, when I called Best Buy this morning at the number included in the email of the woman supposed to help me, her extension didn’t work and the phone service, at least, had no knowledge of her employment at Best Buy. Uch. Robert Stephen might mean well, but his (former) company sure does suck.

Bezalel

February 10, 2008:

Here’s an update on my Geek Squad horror story. It isn’t pretty: The short of it is Geek Squad screwed up my computer, Robert Stephens (former CEO of Geek Squad), told them to fix it, and the Best Buy/Geek Squad people refused to. My latest email to Robert follows:

Unfortunately, I write this email bearing more bad news regarding the atrocious service I have received at the Geek Squad at 86th and Lexington, in New York. I brought my computer in this afternoon to get fixed, as you advised me to do in the email below. However, Andre [redacted] told me that they would not fix my computer, as per your instructions in the email below. Instead, Andre said that all that Geek Squad would do is run a diagnostic test, and I would have to pay for fixing the hardware. Andre claims that when you wrote that “I will ask that the store give you a credit for future service” you only meant giving the computer a diagnostic test, but not actually fixing the computer.

Forgive me my outrage, but this is downright ridiculous. I already know what is wrong with my computer. My computer has the same problem that it did when I brought it in to get it fixed originally – and when, I might add, Geek Squad failed to fix it the first time. For me to have to pay for all but the most basic services now is both outrageous and runs counter to the letter and the spirit of your email to me. Please make clear to Andre [redacted] that Geek Squad and Best Buy should cover both the diagnostic test AND the hardware issues that Geek Squad failed to fix the first time around.

As Andre [redacted] has said that Best Buy and Geek Squad would not fix the hardware issues on my computer without clear instructions from you to do so, I would appreciate you letting them know that my computer should be fixed as soon as possible.

Thank you very much for your help. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

How awful! If we were you, we’d begin thinking seriously about small claims court.

Does anyone out there have suggestions for Bezalel?

(Photo:meghannmarco)

Comments

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  1. ARPRINCE says:

    Yup…forget about GEEK SQUAD repairs and their imbecilic CEO. Just go ahead to small claims court as well as filing a complaint at BBB.

  2. mrbiggsndatx says:

    Looks like you have one last trip to make, to the county clerks office to file the lawsuit!

  3. Beerad says:

    Ah, this makes total sense if it’s the 86th and Lexington BB. I have suspicions that that location is actually the model store where they send other Best Buy managers/employees to learn how to suck.

    In my experience, it’s hands-down worse than any other Best Buy, which is already a terribly low expectations bar to fail.

  4. darkrose says:

    It’s probably a heat related issue. Just guessing, but I bet it’s full of dust and/or the heat sink fins are covered in dust which acts like an insulator (doesn’t allow the processor to cool properly).

  5. Randy says:

    Better Business Bureau and/or file a complaint with the State Attorney’s office governing the jurisdiction for fraudulent practices (without knowing the full details of the contract, I’d say it was fraudulent practices just from what is listed).

    I’d say Small Claims Court is the final resort. Perhaps he should consult a lawyer in his area for assistance.

  6. rabiddachshund says:

    There’s really nothing you can do about the lost files because they say in their warranty information that it is your responsibility to make a backup. However if it were me, I’d threaten with a lawsuit for not providing the service that I’m paying for and I’d demand a cash refund instead of any sort of credit.

  7. B says:

    @darkrose: That was my assumption too. If not heat, it could be a bad power supply, or faulty memory.

  8. misteral says:

    >> “Serving the Public, Policing Technology, and Protecting the World”

    Wow, what a signature! Someone thinks mighty highly of themselves.

  9. misteral says:

    “Serving the Public, Policing Technology, and Protecting the World”

    Wow, someone thinks quite higly of themselves!

  10. NightSteel says:

    They are probably saying they can restore your data because they made a copy of it before wiping the drive. I hear this is common practice in shops like that; have a disclaimer that indemnifies them from data loss, copy the drive, wipe it, then hold the customer’s data for ransom.

  11. lawlz0r says:

    I understand bigbox stores giving crappy service. However, the files on your Hard drive is YOUR responsibility. If you read any type of check in sheet at ANY store, they will tell you this. They can delete your files for FUN and not be held liable. Also, the Recovery cd’s are your responsibility as well. How can 1 store hold recovery cds/dvds for each make/model of computer that goes through there? I understand geek squad sucks ass, but, c’mon, claim SOME type of responsibility. You really want some high-school kid to handle your important files? I sure as hell wouldn’t!

  12. Brad2723 says:

    Here’s my suggestion. Cut your losses and run. Buy something else from another vendor and swear off Geek Squad for as long as you live. Is pursuing this matter any further really worth the stress?

  13. mopar_man says:

    It baffles me that people still shop at BB, especially readers of Consumerist. I have to agree with the others. BBB and a letter to the state attorney.

  14. Coelacanth says:

    Yuck. Thanks for the heads-up for not going to my local Best Buy location =/

  15. NoWin says:

    @Brad2723: I’m with you. Take it to a local shop, bat also BACKUP your files!

  16. NoWin says:

    whooops: bat=but (bats in the belfry)

  17. MDSasquatch says:

    Three words: Apple Power Book

  18. Rando says:

    lol @ wiping the harddrive after restarting issues

    #1 cause of computing shutting down is overheating

  19. Rando says:

    @MDSasquatch: ya so they can charge $90 to install itunes!

  20. wellfleet says:

    ummm… BBY employee here… I’m sorry your comp is dead. I’m sorry we can’t fix it. This reminds me of something my grandfather went through. It was cancer. We kept sending him to the doctor, to surgery, kept getting the runaround being sent for chemo, then more surgery, then prescriptions. And after all that bullshit, he still freakin’ died and we still had to pay the doctor for the measly five hours he spent operating. What a ripoff. It’s totally the surgeon’s fault that my grandfather didn’t follow any medical advice he’s ever received about not smoking.

    Dude, you definitely got terrible service, and you should get a refund, but just because you WANT your comp fixed, doesn’t always mean it CAN be fixed. And back up your data! That paper you signed, will the 10 clauses, one of which says you need to backup your data because it may be lost, remember that? Call 888 best buy, ask for *consumer relations*, be firm and polite, and get your refund. I would give it to you. Good luck.

  21. Zaphâ„¢ says:

    If they refuse basic support for items under warrenty then you should follow Meg’s advise and start small claims proceedings for the cost of the computer, time lost, and data/software lost during blundered support.

  22. redhelix says:

    As a Geek Squad vet, I used to fight on behalf of the customer over this kind of bullshit. Here’s a lowdown on why Bezalel can file a BBB and small court claim:

    The BBY service plan is actually an AIG insurance policy, which is defined in that tri-fold card they give you when you purchase the plan.
    In non-legalese, the contract clearly states: All hardware repairs, including the labor to diagnose the issue, is covered under the service plan. Physical abuse is the ONLY exception.
    They are not fulfilling the contract by refusing to look at it; knowing what I know about the store services policies, I’d already be suing.

  23. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    @wellfleet:

    Interesting analogy…

  24. MDSasquatch says:

    $90 to install iTunes? Installing software on a Mac requires nothing more than two mouse clicks, if you paid for the service, someone took you to the cleaners. Got a mac issue in the future drop me a line kingcletus at gmail dot com

  25. SOhp101 says:

    From the sound of this guy’s problem, it can either be a overheating (too much dust inside) issue, device conflict issue (did he install any new hardware recently?), or the power supply issue might be shot. I don’t see how any rational computer tech would say “you just need to reformat” in this situation.

  26. backbroken says:

    Why do folks expect the former CEO to be able to do anything?

  27. Android8675 says:

    @MDSasquatch: The BBY in my area sells and services Apple’s now. They even service notebooks at the store, no 2-3 week turnaround unless parts are needed.

  28. MDSasquatch says:

    I still think Apple Care is the best buy around; for what it is worth, rebooting a computer usually fixes 99% of the problems. Hardware problems are mostly done via swapping the parts, doesn’t take a genius to fix the things.

    Dollar for Dollar, Apple is still far superior in my mind

  29. darkrose says:

    Oh, and another thing.. If you don’t like Geek Squad or any of these other tech support/computer repair ripoff places, learn to fix your own computer. Computers really aren’t that complex when you’re looking at a pile of parts…

    Also, avoid boxed/branded computers. Parts is parts.

  30. GearheadGeek says:

    @wellfleet: A supposedly professional group selling extended warranties and service plans on computers should be able to tell him what’s wrong with the computer on which he has such a service plan, and if they can’t fix it should at least be able to tell him that it needs to be replaced (and cover that replacement if it’s included in the service plan.) Yes, he should have a backup of his files in any event, I agree that’s not really the Geek Squad’s problem, though they’re obviously not too useful if they don’t have an OEM Windows CD for models BestBuy sells, the license is on a Microsoft tag on the machine, they could use any OEM restore or install CD for that model and key in the license for the install. It sounds like the service policy isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, which fits the recent reputation of the Geek Squad.

  31. Tankueray says:

    @misteral: At least they admit they’re looking for kiddy porn on your computer to turn you in.

  32. Nighthawke says:

    @wellfleet:
    No, cuz he paid the company you work for and entrusted you and your colleagues to FIX the bloody wanker and you FAILED in the process. There is no parallel to your surgeon bit comparing your sainted granpa with repairing computers. The main issue here is QOS (Quality Of Service), pure and simple. If your company is not service oriented, but sales, you WILL fail at service, no argument. Your company owes the consumer a fat wad of refunds and a duty to us all to CLEAN UP your act!

  33. royal72 says:

    “Does anyone out there have suggestions for Bezalel?”

    yes… call your local news anchor, the one that covers consumer issues, tell them your story, and have them meet you at bestbuy. then grab that p.o.s. laptop, a big ass hammer, and a garbage bag. tell your story on camera from across the street with bestbuy in the background. next you’ll be smashing the shit outta the soon-to-be-ex-laptop in front of the door.

    then you’ll go inside and ask to talk andre and the manager(s). when they ask what the problem is, you’ll be dumping the pc pieces on the counter and with as straight of face as possible, “there seems to be something wrong with my laptop” (note to cameraman: be sure to get close up on andre’s and the manager’s faces). next you’ll let our trusty reporter do their job and bust their balls and get outta there.

    does this get you a new laptop or resolve your problem, no probably not, but it’ll sure make you feel much better, will probably hurt their sales, and if you’re lucky, the publicity you may even get you a new computer.

    ps. it may not be such a bad idea to get robert down there as well and ask him on camera, “why you’re company, that you make a crap load of money from, is screwing people on a daily basis?”

  34. W10002 says:

    On a side note….if your PC turns off randomly, there is a chance it has a faulty power supply. I’ve had friends where they either had a faulty power supply, or did not put in the power supply properly when they built their PC that had the exact same problem.

  35. GSCOPgirl says:

    As a former geek squad employee, I can’t say I agree with most of what they do. The business is designed to help the financially more-than-comfortable computer illiterate. At the same time, it is a part of an international multi-billion dollar company. Did you really expect the CEO to care about your little problem? We’ve had people threaten to sue us on an almost daily basis. You said your computer was randomly shutting down. Do you have any idea how hard that is to duplicate? Even with the stress tests we run, we can’t always get it to do it. You would have probably gotten much further staying within the store’s management then by contacting the CEO. The country is filled with people who are pissed of at GS, but you have to realize that, in the end, GS is a business.

  36. Rusted says:

    @darkrose: Amen to that. Build em’ too. Not much cheaper but I have brand name parts inside.

  37. sp00nix says:

    Besides the common sense to backup anything near and dear to you, does anyone read the paperwork that we give to the customers? Anyway sometimes mistakes are made. I cant speak for those at that particular store you went to, but my team is VERY competent.

  38. axiomatic says:

    Apple zealots: He does not have a Mac nor does he need to know that Apple will fellate him and his PC if he would just go ahead and switch to ChristiApplety.

  39. ShadowFalls says:

    Erm, liar? hard drive died but they can recover files? Who are they fooling?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they never even replaced the drive…

    So basically, you take the computer in to get fixed, they failed to do so, and charged you anyway. When you come back in to get them to fix the problem they never fixed, they want to charge you again… wow.

    I guess this is why you don’t hire sales people to do a tech’s job.

  40. CaptainConsumer says:

    And when you do sue, make SURE to include Robert Stephens name in the suit now since he has involved himself in the process

  41. tailspinrage says:

    Advice…Read this website more often maybe ?

    Almost anyone who has dealt with the geek squad knows their half hour training classes leave a lot to be desired. If replacing it, reinstalling it, or running AV/spyware scan on it don’t fix it, They are pretty much out of options. “Sorry sir, you will have to buy a new one”

    I am coping data onto DVD for a new client right now, He brought his hard drive in because the Geek Squad told him it was dead, and his data was all gone. He wanted a second opinion, we plugged the drive in and started coping data right off it, the drive has a SMART warning, and is likely failing, but getting the data off is trivial, It is clear they did not even try. They also didn’t offer him ( or you ) any of the more advanced data recovery options like Drive Savers or On Track. Instead they just told him his data was GONE, lazy or ignorant ? I am not sure, and I am not sure it matters either way.

    Cut your losses with BB, go find yourself a local computer store, their dumbest technicians can usually run circles around a bakers dozen of the geek squad. In addition to better training and experience, they won’t give you the run around and, bonus, they actually tend to care about your return biz and satisfaction.

  42. chiieddy says:

    I think he’s way at the point of small claims court, but he should call them ONE more time and give them a solid deadline as to when he will file if the matter is not fixed immediately. This way he’s duly tried all avenues prior to court. I think it’s going to go to court anyway, but I believe in covering legal bases here. Oh, and go through your contract line by line so you can highlight the facts to the judge on how they breached the contract.

    On another note, please buy either a 2 GB USB keychain drive and backup all your important documents and files to it or purchase a external hard drive to backup your entire system regularly.

    I recommend a wonderful company, with great customer service, called NewEgg.

  43. LikeYourFace says:

    @wellfleet: OMFG! You’re so right! Giving him the run around and astonishingly bad service is like DYING OF CANCER! Now I see!

    I should get a traumatic brain injury so I can work for Best Buy (and be proud of it) too.

  44. KJones says:

    This won’t help the person who got screwed, but for anyone else, this is advice: Learn how to make your computer a multi-OS system!

    Having two OSes can enable you to recover your own files (unless the hard drive is well and truly toast); just a 1GB partition is enough. It’s quite easy to do:

    1. Create at least two partitions on the drive.

    2. Install either Lose95, Lose98 or even FreeDOS or DOS 5.0/6.0 in the C: drive.

    3. Install NT/Lose2000/XP/Vista on the D: drive.

    That’s it. You can boot from the C: drive to recover the system if NT/Lose2000/XP/Vista screw up. There are even freeware NTFS disk readers if you choose to use that file system; I avoid that problem by using FAT32 with Lose2000 instead of NTFS.

    Just remember to copy the C:*.* files (NTDETECT.COM, etc.) to a floppy so you can copy them to the C: drive in case of an NT failure.

    [support.microsoft.com]
    [www.abc.se]
    [www.bootdisk.com]

    Remember, DOS is your friend when Windows screws up…which it often does.

  45. IrisMR says:

    It’s lawsuit time!

  46. chrisbacke says:

    @Royal72 – brilliant, just brilliant. Sometimes those local news shows have the consumers investigation snippet where they show some ripoff or bad company… Whatever you do, make sure gets a video and uploads it to YouTube to let the world see it :)

  47. TechCheck says:

    I work at the Geek Squad part time, (just a couple of days a week)( Yes, the discount is good) But during the day, I also work for a real IT corporation. The clowns that they call their so called geeks or tech’s are quite comical. They follow a script for technical work in which my 14 year old child can. And better I might add. They do not have trouble shooting skills, but will try and convince you of it. It’s a shame to be quite honest. The infomercial attitude and style these moron’s have are disgraceful to the real IT professional. If your laptop is still under warranty through the manufacture, deal with them. That’s the best advice I can deal out to you.
    ~~TechCheck~~~

  48. Techno Viking says:

    Best Buy sucks people and here’s why. A while ago had a similar problem with my new pc. For some reason some system files were deleted and I could not start my computer. It would ask me for those missing files only because I chose to do it through the recovery console. Never choose recovery console. Anyway, I called best buy to see if they could tell me over the phone which files I need to copy from my windows cd to the computer. A tech guy said he could do it for 50 bucks and I was ok with that. But, the manger said that they would do it for $120. I said screw it and went to Kinkos to get the info. Paid like 3 bucks, and 10 minutes later was back in business. Moral of the story, do it yourself. Never go to best buy .

  49. jamesdmacaulay says:

    The comment by dark rose, that it may be a heat related item, is a very good lead. I opened up my mother’s PC at Christmas to add some new memory, and the two year old machine was clogged with dust that had become deeply deposited on all of the surfaces, but especially the power supply and CPU cooling fan blades and air ducts; those ducts were so badly clogged no fresh air was getting in. With a vacuum cleaner & dust brush hose attachment i was able to remove most of the accumulated dust, but the actual fan blades of the two cooling fans (or more) hade to be meticulously and thoroughly cleaned by hand to prevent the rapid re-accumulation of dust.
    Try doing this! It is well known that overheating will cause a CPU to shut down, just like yours is doing. Maybe the Geeks even knew that, and didn’t want to clean out your dirt! (It can be even much, much worse if you are a pet owner: my sister has dogs and cats, and you can just imagine what it looked like inside their computer!) :)

  50. KingTaco23 says:

    The best way to avoid this sort of thing in the future is to learn to fix your own PC. It’s not that difficult. Pick up a how to build your own PC book and you’ll be all set. I’ve never taken a computer in to be fixed anywhere and I’ve never been burned like this.

  51. Shannon says:

    Sounds like a similar story I had with them.

  52. josh42042 says:

    check the fan that’s inside your power supply – make sure it’s spinning – i had a very similar problem with my pc and fixing this cheap part fixed it.

  53. MrEvil says:

    It sounds to me that Robert Stephens is merely for decorative purposes only and the ONLY reason Best Buy keeps him around is to give Geek Squad “street cred”. In order to keep Stephen’s nose out of BBY’s bottom line, Best Buy insulates him from what’s really going on behind the scenes.

    Seriously, if they can’t fix a machine under warranty, they do have to replace it, that’s federal law. Anybody that sells a warranty has to provide the services stated in the warranty for the time period stated in the warranty. You can’t just say “I can’t fix it” and wash your hands of it. If you can’t fix it you have to give a refund for the item, or replace the item.

  54. strife1012 says:

    I hope its not the HP DV6000 or DV9000

    [h10025.www1.hp.com]

    The laptops have had their warranties extended

    This came out last week, via Circuit City Employee Forum.

    It definitely is a hardware issue, much like the Dell Desktop X-top Capacitor issue on the motherboard. causing the computer to power off after 5-10 mins. then the computer fan will sound “like a jet engine”

    Circuit City Policy:
    After 3 failed repair attempts, the warranted item will be refunded, and the warranty will be pro-rated. Thus you can go buy another computer.

  55. wellfleet says:

    @LikeYourFace: I was just trying to make the point that we can’t always fix everything that comes in. Also, he may not even have the Best Buy service plan. What he *may* have, and the story is vague on this, is simply the 30 or 90-day warranty on labor after having a Geek Squad service performed.

    Folks, I openly and freely agreed that he got terrible service, but to draw a parallel from that to an entire company doesn’t make sense. Consumerist posted a news item about an undercover (hot) chick taking her computer to be fixed at several LA tech benches. *Only* GS did not check out her foxy pictures and other files, and only GS diagnosed the problem correctly as a simple, unplugged power supply. Did you people go and lavish praise on GS for this solitary act of competence? Nope. So why do these piddly issues keep coming up as a giant branding iron over a company that employes thousands? @Nighthawke: Yep, we entrusted gramps to the surgeon and he failed at saving him. Guess what, we weren’t mad at the surgeon.

    There are idiots and Mensa members at every retail operation you walk into.

  56. Aesteval says:

    I’m going to second anyone that mentioned that it’s likely a heat
    related issue. Check the ventilation and increase cooling capibilities.
    A computer will begin to run very slowly when it gets to overheating
    and will then automatically shut itself down to prevent excessive
    damage.

  57. BrentNewland says:

    Other than heat or PS, could be defective RAM. I would boot from something like BartPE and run one of the tools to test system components – helped me figure out why XP wouldn’t install when I had a bad kingston stick.

  58. Phantom_Photon says:

    Sounds like his power supply is dropping voltage across one of the rails, or he has a bad CPU core. And that is just an initial, quicky estimate from scanning his letter online. A _real_ technician would be able to resolve this sort of issue, and know a hard drive wipe would be the least likely solution…

  59. athala says:

    I just want to take a moment to clear up a few things regarding Bezalel’s service at a Geek Squad location. The above postings are correct that when you went to GS to get your computer serviced, you signed off on the fact that you are supposed to make backups of your data before hand because we cannot guarantee the data depending on the type of service performed. Secondly, if you do have a PSP, you should not have been charged at all for any service you came into the store to get done, UNLESS you asked them to support some sort of software issue which is not covered by a PSP (even says so in the brochure). Now, as for your harddrive. GS can recover the data from it if it is just a dead drive that has not been demagnatized or damaged to the point that the data is irrecoverable. If you wanted the data off of it, you would have to send it in for quite a lengthy process where a specialized technitian takes it apart, pulls off the disk, applies it to a working stripped harddrive, and pulls the data off manually. Lastly, it is quite obvious as a seasoned technitian that your issue does lay in the hardware, and why it has not been serviced accordingly by the first technitian is beynod me. Please do not lose hope though, your issue is fixable. You should have been given the correct knowledge from the get-go and given the customer service that you deserve. All Geek Squads are not created equally, if you spoke to anyone on my team, it would have been fixed right the first time.

  60. RvLeshrac says:

    @NightSteel:

    BS. “Random” psshhhh.

    The service contract indemnifies us service techs from data loss concerns because otherwise ever person who shows up will say that the drive was “WORKING FINE BEFORE YOU ASSHOLES RUINED IT!!!!!!!!111!!1111!ONEONEONEONEONE”.

    They *ALREADY* do that constantly, even WITH the clauses in place. They’re not even in small print, they’re one of the LARGEST THINGS on the forms you fill out.

  61. RvLeshrac says:

    @wellfleet:

    In all my years, I have *NEVER* heard anyone praise Geek Squad, save for a few isolated bits of intelligence here and there (OMG, they actually managed to plug the power supply in!).

    I’ve recovered data from DVDs they’ve ruined (the disc wasn’t ‘good’ to begin with, but the Geek Squad dork managed to create a nice pinwheel on the disc by improperly using a resurfacer – the ass certainly made my job a lot more difficult. Bad enough trying to recover 8.5 gigs of data from a DVD that wasn’t written quite right without having to endure EXTRAORDINARILY long read times due to bad resurfacing. It would’ve been better for me if he’d simply cracked the disc in half.), recovered data from HDDs they’ve wiped for no good reason (HP and Sony are still the KINGS of this practice. What the hell does the HDD have to do with REPLACING THE HINGES ON THE LAPTOP CASE, idiots?!), and recovered OSes they’ve somehow managed to hose despite the “Geek Squad” repair CD simply being a bunch of commercial tools they never paid for.

    I’m all for cutting the service tech some slack (no, Geek Squad probably didn’t cause your HDD to die. No, they didn’t cause your power supply to catch on fire), but this is a pattern of incompetence from techs who were hired purely because they had one BS cert or another, as opposed to hiring people who know how to do the work.

    If you’re competent, you don’t stay at Geek Squad *OR* Best Buy for long.

  62. theantidote says:

    I recommend finding a local shop and getting it fixed there. There are plenty in NYC so look up a reliable one on Yelp.com or the likes and then take it there. A good way to test them is to tell them your problem and have them make a rough estimate of what it may be. If they tell you that it’s probably overheating then they’re an okay shop to go to because random shutdowns are almost always an overheating issue and any competent technician should be able to tell you that.

    Unfortunately overheating can be difficult to cure. Besides cleaning out all the dust bunnies and cleaning off and reapplying any thermal grease inside the computer, there isn’t much more that can be done.

  63. RvLeshrac says:

    @theantidote:

    Larger HS, bigger fans, more powerful fans, more fans, less fans, wrapped cables… Lots of things to help overheating!

    “Random” shutdowns aren’t usually overheating, though. Overheating would be suspected if the machine shuts down during periods of high activity, or if the machine stays up for less time with each successive boot, until it is allowed to rest/cool.

    Truly random shutdowns are caused by bad hardware.

  64. Aesteval says:

    @athala: Not that I try and go about
    correcting the internet’s spelling mistakes, but after the repeated
    mispellings of the same word in your post I really do feel inclined to
    mention that it’s technician, not technitian. Sorry about the spelling
    outburst, it probably won’t happen again.

  65. masterasia says:

    Never save important stuff on your “boot” hard drive. I have a 2 drive raid-1 for storing my files and a 3 drive raid-5 for doing backups. Always make copies and backups and then another copy or backup of that. Your data is priceless so take the extra precautions to make sure it’s safe.

    If one of my computer crashes, it’s not the end of the world because all I lost was the operating system and a few programs. I can have it back up in running in no time. I use Acronis to make images of my computers so that if I get infected with a virus or need to clone a hard drive, I can have a fresh install in minutes. This is coming from someone in the IT Field and that’s how we do it in the professional world.