HP Techs Can’t Find Answer on Own Web Site

Reader Nick A’s experiences with HP’s tech support are disappointing, to say the least, especially when he finally fixed his problem with his HP computer by finding the solution on their website himself—after calling their phone support twice.

It makes us wonder why companies don’t use a wiki-like knowledge base for all their products. Obviously, many do, but if two different support techs weren’t using their own company’s web site, it would seem that a large storehouse of knowledge is being skipped over.

We can’t think of a single reason why a company’s internal troubleshooting documents should not also live on the web in a form that can be edited or at least commented upon. And then used by techs.

Does anyone have any examples of companies that pool both their internal and external troubleshooting documents? We’re feeling generous this morning and we’d like to see a good example.

Nick’s HP tail-chasing after the jump.

This is long, and tedious. And not particularly unique. But you asked for gripes, and I require catharsis, so here we go.

I am fundamentally unimpressed with HP’s tech support.

I have a Presario desktop computer that came with a DVD burner installed – the HP 300n. The device, in combination with the ArcSoft Showbiz software that came bundled with the machine, worked just fine. I was happy as a clam.

After a long hiatus, I decided to burn another DVD a few nights ago. Much to my surprise, the ArcSoft software no longer recognized the 300n as a DVD burner. In fact, it didn’t recognize it at all.

The drive still worked – you could burn data and audio CDs, and it actually read and played DVDs. But neither the ArcSoft software nor any other DVD burning software I tried made it work.

Searched the HP site for a while – couldn’t find an answer. Searched the general Internet – lots of people with the same problem. Only solution they can find? Rerun the installation disk.

But lo, HP included no installation disks with this computer. No problem – I’ll download them from the HP site. Oops – no I wont. You can get all the drivers, but to get the installation disk you have to pay $10 so they can MAIL YOU A CD.

This seems ridiculous. So I fire up the HP live support.

Tech 1 seems reasonably competent. Seems to actually understand, more or less, what I’m trying to tell him. Gets it when I say that the problem can’t possibly be the media I’m using, as NOTHING WILL RECOGNIZE the frigging drive to begin with. Says to try reinstalling drivers and updating firmware. I’m game.

Do what tech one says, no dice. In fact, firmware update doesn’t even recognize that there’s an optical drive installed in the machine.

Fire up instant support again. Tech 2 asks me to wait 10 minutes while he reads transcript from earlier session. I tell him I’ve done what tech 1 asked and it didn’t work.

Tech 2 tells me to try different media. I tell tech 2 we’ve been through that. Tech 1 says “thank you for that information.”

Tech 2 tells me to try reinstalling the drivers. I tell tech 2 we’ve already been through that. Tech 1 says “thank you for that information.”

At this point, I realize Tech 2 will be of no help. I terminate connection.

Turns out HP has email help. I draft email explaining problem, providing reference to live chat sessions, explaining I need additional guidance. System says I’ll likely get a response to my email within an hour.

34 hours later, I got a response from HP telling me I needed to run the “Compaq System Recovery,” which “should resolve the issue” but also will “overwrite the registry and information about user accounts,” thus requiring me to reinstall all of my software and reset my preferences. This would mean a weekends worth of mucking with the machine.

Thankfully, during that 34 hour period, I figured out the solution to my problem is actually available on their website.

When one types in a simple search string like “300i arcsoft recognize” into your website’s search engine, the fourth link is to the following page:


If you use “300n arcsoft recognize” it’s the 9th link, which may be why I missed it the first time. My fault. The fact that the 300n and the 300i might be the same occurred to me only because the firmware update Tech 1 had me try to install was labeled as being for the HP 300i.

The title to that page? “HP DVD Writer – ArcSoft ShowBiz DVD Does Not Recognize the DVD Writer Is Installed”

In other words, exactly the problem I explained I was having to both live support techs and in my email.

So I have now fixed the problem. Without having to run the system restore and wiping out all of the software I installed after purchasing the computer.

So, to reemphasize: I am fundamentally unimpressed with the quality of the service I have received from HP’s tech support. I will certainly take that into consideration when it is time for me or my family to purchase a new computer.
Told you it was long and tedious.

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