Toshiba HDD RMA process



  • So I'm working on an uncle's laptop whose HDD decided to go bad, and go to the Toshiba site to check its warranty status. The process worked fine (I think), but the WTF is the process itself. Most other HDD companies who provide online warranty checks have a simple web interface. Provide a serial number and maybe a model number and they'll say yes/no if it's covered.

    But not Toshiba. Looks like they never considered the possibility that you might want to check only a single drive's status. They make you whip up a tab-delimted text file, with specific headers, and upload that to the site. At least there's a help button which kinda gives you instructions on what to do.  But how many people out there will know what a "TAB Delimited Text File Format" is?

    And once you've got the file ready and uploaded and accepted, does it give you a nice list of all the serial numbers it found in the file with a yes/no status? No. It just gives you a little chart with "In-Warranty" and "Out-Warranty" counts (0/0 in my case). Not having a Toshiba drive that's still in-warranty, I can't tell what happens when you submit a valid serial number, but still.. yeesh. You'd think they could make it a bit more friendly. 



  •  Pfff, don't people know how to do basic stuff like that?  I thought [b]everyone[/b] just browsed the web by loading pages with netcat and forming a mental image from the raw HTML.



  • I bought a set of Toshiba branded Bluetooth headphones directly from Toshiba two years ago.  After 4 months of use they went belly up.  So, I called their support line to get an RMA.  I was literally transferred in round robin style through 7 different departments.  Each one saying that they had no idea what the product was... 

    On the third go around (I was very patient), I found someone who was at least willing to admit that they did indeed sell the product on their website.  Feeling as if I was getting somewhere I asked if Toshiba simply rebranded Logitech’s Bluetooth headphones.  The guy on the phone said "it was a distinct possibility and I might have better luck with them."  So, I hung up and called Logitech. 

    Within 5 minutes of calling Logitech, I had an RMA number.  In the end, Logitech refunded me about $150 for headphones that I bought directly from Toshiba with Toshiba's name on them. 

    Toshiba's support is definitely below industry standards, which is generally low to begin with.

     



  • I suspected that buying from Toshiba was TRWTF all along 



  •  I now feel slightly less of a moron for losing the warranty paperwork for a Toshiba laptop I subsequently wrecked after getting tangled up in the power cable.



  • I guess you missed the "Quantity Serial Number Lookup" option.  Enter a 1 and submit and you could have just typed in the single serial number.  The other option makes sense to me if I'm a tech support guy for an enterprise network.  I may a few thousand laptops to support and it's a lot easier to maintain a spreadsheet of drives I swap and then dump to CSV for upload during the monthly RMA cycle.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>



  • @El_Heffe said:

    I suspected that buying from Toshiba was TRWTF all along 
     

    Well, Toshiba bought out IBM's hdd business. They're actually quite nice drives. In this case, it was the drive that came with an HP laptop.

    @reasons68 said:

    I guess you missed the "Quantity Serial Number Lookup" option

    Probably. But it's still a badly designed page. I'll agree it's useful to be able to check serials in bulk, but the first thing that should have been visible on that page was "enter your serial number here" followed by a "if you want to check multiple numbers, then do....." section. Read the text there: "You can either Enter the Quantity Serial Number Function". umm whaaaa? What's this function? There's no function on the drive's sticker. There's a serial number, but it's not a "quantity serial number function".

    How about saying "Please enter the number of drives you'd like to check the serial numbers of". Toshiba's a somewhat decent sized mom 'n pop operation. You'd think they could hire a translator or two to take a stab at cleaning up their engrish. 



  • @El_Heffe said:

    I suspected that buying from Toshiba was TRWTF all along 

    My first laptop was a Toshiba; as soon as it exited warranty, the cooling fan failed. Replaced that myself, then the the power brick caught fire (if I hadn't been working on the floor and hence had it next to me, I probably wouldn't have noticed until it had spread to the rest of the room). Replaced that with a third-party component (rather more robust and with provisions for cooling itself), then the hard drive head crashed. I finally dumped it then.



  • @homsar said:

    then the the power brick caught fire
    /me is scared because he runs his laptop power cables under the couch to keep the laptops on the coffee table.  The bricks are almost right under my butt.



  • @belgariontheking said:

    @homsar said:

    then the the power brick caught fire
    /me is scared because he runs his laptop power cables under the couch to keep the laptops on the coffee table.  The bricks are almost right under my butt.

     

    Considering the 'brick' is where the load is and therefore where the heat is generated, having the 'brick' under your couch is pretty stupid.

     



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Considering the 'brick' is where the load is and therefore where the heat is generated, having the 'brick' under your couch is pretty stupid.
     

    Well, either you cook your nads via the couch fire below, or via the burning hot laptop up above. Either way you're cooking the jewels. At least with the couch fire the rest of the family has rump roast to look forward to. Geek/nerd is apparently quite lean and tender when cooked over a polyeurethane foam fire.



  • @MarcB said:

    Geek/nerd is apparently quite lean and tender when cooked over a polyeurethane foam fire.

    How many nerds do you know?  They are usually morbidly obese.  Which actually means tender and succulent like veal... mmm... 



  • @MarcB said:

    @El_Heffe said:

    I suspected that buying from Toshiba was TRWTF all along 
     

    Well, Toshiba bought out IBM's hdd business. They're actually quite nice drives.

    Actually, it was Hitachi who bought IBM's hard drive business.  Including the consumer "deskstar" line, known by most users as "deathstar" due to high failure rates.

     



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    How many nerds do you know?

    Hmm, come to think of it, actually I don't know any in person. Of course, there's the stereotypical version of them here. Dressing up as Darth Vader seems to have its perks... 

    @morbiuswilters said:

    Which actually means tender and succulent like veal... mmm...

    How many people could Comic Store Guy feed? Best. Butt. Ever... 

    @el_heffe said:

    Actually, it was Hitachi who bought IBM's hard drive business. 
    Including the consumer "deskstar" line, known by most users as
    "deathstar" due to high failure rates.

    D'oh. You're right, my bad. Wasn't it just one particular model of Deskstar that failed with around 10,000% of the time, though? I've had a 200gig Deskstar running 24x7 in my Linux box for around 6 years now without any trouble, though the every-24-hours head reset took some getting used to. 



  • @MarcB said:

    D'oh. You're right, my bad. Wasn't it just one particular model of Deskstar that failed with around 10,000% of the time, though? I've had a 200gig Deskstar running 24x7 in my Linux box for around 6 years now without any trouble, though the every-24-hours head reset took some getting used to.
    Yeah, it was one particular 80GB model that caused the nickname deathstar. I've had several deskstar drives (from 40 to 250GB - but no 80GB, both IBM and Hitachi), and none of them failed.



  • @ender said:

    I've had several deskstar drives (from 40 to 250GB - but no 80GB, both IBM and Hitachi), and none of them failed.
     

    Let's see, out of all the various sizes of drives I've had over the years, so far the absolute worst brand in terms of failure has been Western Digital. Every single one of them has failed with rampant bad sectors, without exception. I once had a particular drive replaced 3 times, giving me around 4 years of warranty coverage on what was a 1year warranty to begin with.

    Lately I've been using Seagates and loving those. Very quiet and not a peep of trouble so far. 



  • @MarcB said:

    Let's see, out of all the various sizes of drives I've had over the years, so far the absolute worst brand in terms of failure has been Western Digital. Every single one of them has failed with rampant bad sectors, without exception. I once had a particular drive replaced 3 times, giving me around 4 years of warranty coverage on what was a 1year warranty to begin with.

     <hints id="hah_hints"></hints>
    I've had the opposite experience.  Go figure.  I started buying WD after two Seagate drives both failed and one never worked quite right off the shelf (everything checked out OK in the diagnostics but you couldn't [I]boot[/I] from it, even though the Windows setup reported everything OK, and I tried 3 different Windows versions).

    I do still have two Seagate drives which are fine.  I'm not inclined to believe that they're any worse a manufacturer than the others, I just got bad disks.  I've come to realize that all of the hard disk stories on the internet only really prove that everyone's experience is different, and that you can't judge a manufacturer by those stories or even by the actual track record of one or two of its models.  Pretty well every company has put out a few duds, and the "big three" (Seagate, WD, Maxtor) are essentially on par with each other when you look at them in the aggregate.  Off-brands like Hitachi and Fujitsu (are they even still around?) are a little more risky but it's still possible to get a perfectly good drive.  If you make regular backups and don't mind the occasional hassle of a restore, there's nothing wrong with saving a few bucks on one of those.



  • @Aaron said:

    ... and Fujitsu (are they even still around?)
     

    Yep. I replaced the HD that started off this post with a Fujitsu. Seems to run a lot quieter and somewhat cooler than the Hitachi (which has since completely died - won't even power up now).



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    @belgariontheking said:

    @homsar said:

    then the the power brick caught fire
    /me is scared because he runs his laptop power cables under the couch to keep the laptops on the coffee table.  The bricks are almost right under my butt.

     

    Considering the 'brick' is where the load is and therefore where the heat is generated, having the 'brick' under your couch is pretty stupid.

     

     

    Have you ever heard of this new-fangled thingy they a "power extension" ? 



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @MarcB said:

    Geek/nerd is apparently quite lean and tender when cooked over a polyeurethane foam fire.

    How many nerds do you know?  They are usually morbidly obese.  Which actually means tender and succulent like veal... mmm... 

     

    Hmmmmm - roasted long pig with scorched gonads. 



  • @ender said:

    Lately I've been using Seagates and loving those. Very quiet and not a peep of trouble so far. 
    A few years ago i had nothing but trouble with Maxtor drives.  Since then I've bought nothing but Seagate and I've never yet had to try out their warranty.



  • @El_Heffe said:

    @ender said:

    Lately I've been using Seagates and loving those. Very quiet and not a peep of trouble so far. 
    A few years ago i had nothing but trouble with Maxtor drives.  Since then I've bought nothing but Seagate and I've never yet had to try out their warranty.

    I'm waiting for Samsung to get those 256 gig SSD drives out.  I'll probably hold off buying a new laptop until then, but man will it be worth it! 



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    I'm waiting for Samsung to get those 256 gig SSD drives out.  I'll probably hold off buying a new laptop until then, but man will it be worth it! 
     

    Will that be cash, Visa, first born, or both testicles? 



  •  I'm with Marc on that one; I'm in the process of assembling a new PC, and briefly looked at the idea of getting an SSD to hold my OS and program files. The biggest one on the market at that time -64GB, which is admittedly rather generous even for the elaborate triple-boot arrangement I'm planning- had a price tag slightly larger than my entire computer equipment budget for the next five years, including the price of a cheap laptop.



  • @Jake Grey said:

    I'm with Marc on that one; I'm in the process of assembling a new PC, and briefly looked at the idea of getting an SSD to hold my OS and program files. The biggest one on the market at that time -64GB, which is admittedly rather generous even for the elaborate triple-boot arrangement I'm planning- had a price tag slightly larger than my entire computer equipment budget for the next five years, including the price of a cheap laptop.

    If it's under $2k I'm buying it.  Right now the 64gb samsung drives add $900 or so to a laptop through Dell.  I already plan to spend $3k on a laptop as it is so I might as well get an awesome hard drive to go with it. 



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    I already plan to spend $3k on a laptop as it is

    Now that is what I call a WTF...



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    If it's under $2k I'm buying it.  Right now the 64gb samsung drives add $900 or so to a laptop through Dell.  I already plan to spend $3k on a laptop as it is so I might as well get an awesome hard drive to go with it.
    You might be interested in this then.



  • TRWTF is that they didn't request the file in XML format. Tab delimited is soooooooo last century.



  • @ender said:

    @morbiuswilters said:
    If it's under $2k I'm buying it.  Right now the 64gb samsung drives add $900 or so to a laptop through Dell.  I already plan to spend $3k on a laptop as it is so I might as well get an awesome hard drive to go with it. 
    You might be interested in this then.

    That one has good capacity but the read/write speed isn't much better than a decent HDD.  I'm mostly wanting this for speed and power consumption, volume doesn't matter a whole lot because I store most of my media on a colo server, so all I have locally are a few apps and some source code. 



  • @Jake Grey said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    I already plan to spend $3k on a laptop as it is

    Now that is what I call a WTF...

    So buying top-of-the-line hardware is a WTF now?  Crap, nobody even told me!  I hope eMachines is still in business... 



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    So buying top-of-the-line hardware is a WTF now?  Crap, nobody even told me!  I hope eMachines is still in business... 

    I have an old Packard Bell from 1999 I could be persuaded to part with...



  • @bstorer said:

    I have an old Packard Bell from 1999 I could be persuaded to part with...

    Will you take $2999?  Apparently that's the maximum that is reasonable to spend. 



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    That one has good capacity but the read/write speed isn't much better than a decent HDD.
    In my experience, flash never was fast at reading/writing, what makes it appear fast is the almost instant seek time.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    So buying top-of-the-line hardware is a WTF now? 

    No, but spending three grand on an off-the-shelf PC when you could build yourself a bitchin' system for about a third of that sure is. 



  • @Jake Grey said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    So buying top-of-the-line hardware is a WTF now? 

    No, but spending three grand on an off-the-shelf PC when you could build yourself a bitchin' system for about a third of that sure is. 

    Are you actually suggesting I build my own laptop? 



  • @ender said:

    @morbiuswilters said:
    That one has good capacity but the read/write speed isn't much better than a decent HDD.
    In my experience, flash never was fast at reading/writing, what makes it appear fast is the almost instant seek time.

    The samsung drive I was talking about has 200Mbps read speed and 160Mbps write speed, which is blazing fast.  SSDs vary a lot, though, so many are slower than a 7200rpm drive, but they have the potential to be quite fast. 



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @Jake Grey said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    So buying top-of-the-line hardware is a WTF now? 

    No, but spending three grand on an off-the-shelf PC when you could build yourself a bitchin' system for about a third of that sure is. 

    Are you actually suggesting I build my own laptop? 

    A real man builds his own integrated circuits... So you can stick to buying laptops off-the-shelf.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Are you actually suggesting I build my own laptop?

      Unless you absolutely need all that performance in the field for some
    reason I'd counsel against getting a laptop at all; taking the casing
    off can be even more awkward than a desktop and your upgrade options
    are painfully limited.



  • @Jake Grey said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    Are you actually suggesting I build my own laptop?

      Unless you absolutely need all that performance in the field for some
    reason I'd counsel against getting a laptop at all; taking the casing
    off can be even more awkward than a desktop and your upgrade options
    are painfully limited.

    All of which I'm fairly certain morbius is aware of. Also, a $3k laptop shouldn't need upgrades for some time, one would hope.



  • @Jake Grey said:

    Unless you absolutely need all that performance in the field for some
    reason I'd counsel against getting a laptop at all; taking the casing
    off can be even more awkward than a desktop and your upgrade options
    are painfully limited.
    Funny.  I'd advise against getting a desktop unless you need gaming performance and upgradability.  Not that the performance couldn't be attained with a laptop, it'd just be more expensive and less upgradable.  With wi-fi and bluetooth, desktops are really falling out of favor. 

    Also, since when is taking the case off a desktop awkward?  Did you once lick the power source while it was plugged in, Jake?  Never could look that desktop in the face again?



  • @ender said:

    In my experience, flash never was fast
     

    That's mostly because USB keys and CF cards and whatnot tend to have only a single flash chip on them. They don't make 200+gig single chips, so SDD drives gang together multiple ones. The controller can do all kinds of interesting stuff once that happens, like spreading the writes around across multiple chips.

    Hmm. what would that be called. RAEC? redundant array of expensive chips?

    It's already doing something like that anyways as part of the wear levelling algorithm, so might as well double-purpose it and get a write speed increase as well. 



  • @Jake Grey said:

    Unless you absolutely need all that performance in the field for some
    reason I'd counsel against getting a laptop at all; taking the casing
    off can be even more awkward than a desktop and your upgrade options
    are painfully limited.

    I only have one machine I use for everything.  I prefer a laptop because I can pick it up and take it anywhere or just sit on the couch and use it.  I don't game and I don't need the hassle of maintaining settings on two different machines.  All of my audio/video/etc.. is stored on a colo'd server and is accessible via the Internet.  The only actual electronic equipment in my house is a cable modem and a wifi router.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    I only have one machine I use for everything.  I prefer a laptop because I can pick it up and take it anywhere or just sit on the couch and use it.  I don't game and I don't need the hassle of maintaining settings on two different machines.  All of my audio/video/etc.. is stored on a colo'd server and is accessible via the Internet.  The only actual electronic equipment in my house is a cable modem and a wifi router.
    If you didn't waste all that money on colo servers and $3k laptops, maybe you could afford some furniture and/or prostitutes.



  • @bstorer said:

    If you didn't waste all that money on colo servers and $3k laptops, maybe you could afford some furniture and/or prostitutes.

    The lack of furniture is an aesthetic choice but I wouldn't expect someone living in Virginia to understand.  Also, your mother's rates are quite reasonable so there's no problem there.

     

    I didn't have enough money for ketchup because of my love of expensive laptops.



  • @bstorer said:

    maybe you could afford some furniture and/or prostitutes.
     

    Not to mention ketchup...



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    The lack of furniture is an aesthetic choice but I wouldn't expect someone living in Virginia to understand.  Also, your mother's rates are quite reasonable so there's no problem there.
    You're awfully cocky for a guy whose water was shut off for not paying the bill.



  • @bstorer said:

    You're awfully cocky for a guy whose water was shut off for not paying the bill.

    It was shut off because someone was doing maintenance.  I don't actually pay for my own water anyway, but I guess the idea of indoor plumbing is so new in the south that they have to bill you or else you'd just sit gawking at the running faucet for hours. 



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    It was shut off because someone was doing maintenance.  I don't actually pay for my own water anyway, but I guess the idea of indoor plumbing is so new in the south that they have to bill you or else you'd just sit gawking at the running faucet for hours. 
    I'm sorry, you'll have to speak up! I can't hear you over the sound of running water!



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    you'd just sit gawking at the running faucet for hours. 

    That's only if they can pry themselves away from the fancy new traffic light that was installed downtown on the corner next to JimBob's Bait and Wedding Tackle Store and the Dollarama (You know, the one that's nice because you don't have to get all dressed up like you do for Walmart). "Hey, Cletus! Betcha a shiney dime it'll turn yeller after da red light goes out!"



  •  Belgariontheking: No, but I once had to resort to employing a small hammer to dislodge a jammed side panel. Still, they might be getting better these days but opening up the laptops I've owned over the years to clean the fans and heatsink involved a ridiculous number of screws, at least one of which I was told would void the warranty (which had admittedly expired by that point) if I removed it. 

     

    Morbiuswriters: Maybe it's just a question of personal taste, but I prefer not to keep all my metaphorical eggs in one basket; being mugged or falling down a flight of stairs whilst carrying one's laptop would be unpleasant enough if it was a cheap little notebook used only for email, last-minute alterations to the Powerpoint presentation or whatever and playing Freecell on the train.


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