Hewlett Packard Wipes Your Hard Drive To Fix A Broken Key On Your Keyboard

Here’s a story that should help to remind you to back up all your data — even if you’re just getting a key replaced on your keyboard.

Reader Marjan says HP has official policy that requires that they erase your hard drive — even if there’s nothing wrong with your computer that would require them to even turn it on.

Marjan says:

The “P” key broke off my HP laptop within one month of its purchase back in April. I asked them to send me the key so I could repair it myself, but they said I must send in my entire computer.

Fast forward to December when I (graduate student) finally have the chance/luxury to send in my computer for repair.

I just got my computer back today to find my entire hard drive deleted and re-done.

Nobody at HP even told me it was a possibility (let alone a “STANDARD POLICY”) that hard drives are erased when a computer is sent in for repair — regardless of the nature of the repair. Even ONE key on the keyboard. Even a little scratch apparently requires a full hard-drive erasing. Got my “P” key, but at the cost of my computer’s hard drive. Unnecessary. Absurd.

I feel like a hospital patient who went in for routine surgery and woke up with an effing amputated leg.

Wasted two hours debating with four different men about why I shouldn’t be punished for one idiot’s inability to inform me of this supposed standard policy. I told them they had to compensate for my losses, at least by giving me a new Norton Antivirus product key because I still had time left on the warranty. But they said once the computer was shipped to me back in April, my old product key became my responsibility: It was my fault if I lost it. I demanded some sort of compensation or credit. HP had made a mistake. But they refused.

I asked to speak to somebody higher-up. But the senior technician claimed he was the highest-up person I could speak to. He breathed heavily and in an annoyed way. Said anybody higher than him was “just in charge of scheduling bathroom breaks.”

I had zero knowledge and not even the slightest warning that HP would erase everything: “Just give us your log-in password in case something goes wrong,” the service guy told me before I sent in my computer for repair. “But they shouldn’t have to even turn your computer on.”

I am fuming. Pictures, research, creative work, personal work. All gone.

What the hell do I do, or how do I even reach someone sane at HP? Thanks.

I’m not going to pretend to know if your data can be recovered, so we’ll toss that one out to the crowd of seething internet — but we do have a few posts than can help you reach someone at HP.

This post is about how to get your laptop back from HP — but it contains contact information that might help you reach intelligent life.

And now here’s the official obligatory moral of the story: Please remember to back up your data before sending your computer in for any kind of repair.

Now that that’s out of the way, is there anything that can save this data?