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Murphy's struck me too!

See MY Murphy's rant on (router and switch flake out on the same day). Today, the router REALLY died and we are off the net until a replacement arrives.

How do you protect yourself against a router going bad? I suppose you need to have two identical routers, identically configured, wired in parallel? Or perhaps it is better to have two DIFFERENT models because it is probably less likely that two different brands would both break down at the same time. Or do you just have to dual home your network? This has got to be a problem every company deals with!

On top of that, both mine and my friend/collegue's laptop's backlights are not working right. Same Compaq Presario 1800T laptops bought two weeks apart had their backlights stop working within two weeks of each other. We're not sure the cause is the same; it could be a coincedence. My friend is pressing Compaq's customer support to get some details and see if there is any history of this failure with this model - no luck so far. He was able to send his back under warranty and Compaq replaced the motherboard which lists as a $994 part. Yikes!

My warranty is expired so I had no choice but to try and fix it myself. An EE collegue and I diagnosed the problem in my machine as a bad daughter board which goes for $57 - but we're not %100 sure the daughter board is the problem.

Any ideas on how to protect yourself against laptop failures?

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

It's called life.
You cannot protect yourself against every possible contingency, all you can do is optimize, and 100% protect against catastrophy.

Laptop failure? Prey.

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Yes, the is a solution!

It is called a good warranty!

I have owned at least 4 notebooks. Virtually every single one had failures.

My dell warranty runs out in October this year. I will get a new one then.

The only people who don’t have notebook failures are the ones that get a notebook, plug it in, and NEVER move it.

Notebook computers break on a regular basis. Sorry, I wish it was other wise. They break all the time. You MUST PLAN for your notebook to break. It is a simple fact of life.

I always will purchase the full warranty when I buy a notebook. The first thing I look at when I by a notebook is the warranty.

For a desktop computer, I don’t even care if there is a warranty.

Notebook computers need warranties. They break. They fail often.  I had displays go, dvd-drive go, hard disk go, keyboards replaced. The list goes on. They are a endless source of breakage. The above list of simple failures not due to abuse, or dropping a notebook. It is also not limited to one brand. (I owed several).

My friends who own notebooks have also had the same failure rate if they actually move them.

Contrast that to my desktop computers. I have NEVER had a failure in any of my desktop computers. (never!). (and I lost count of how many desktop computers I owned).

I think the problem with notebooks is the fact that they get moved. If you move a light bulb around all day, they burn out much quicker then light bulbs that don’t’ move.

I am really careful, but my experience is that they break on a regular basis, and you have plan for that. If you can’t, then don’t use a notebook.

The above is my rule for notebooks.

Albert D. Kallal
Edmonton, Alberta,  Canada

Albert D. Kallal
Tuesday, January 28, 2003

But on the other hand, notebooks are also surprisingly rugged.

My wife is currently using my last but one notebook.  In a moment of forgetfulness I propped the bag with it in against the tyre of the Frontera I had at the time and promptly reversed over it.

It survived along with some cracks in the plastic which I made worse trying to pop the keyboard later in order to upgrade the RAM.

I bound the breakages with black electricians tape and repeated the bindings as necessary.  Now the hinge on the screen has gone (but its a nice 14" screen for the age of it), and so she uses it propped up with  Funk & Wagnall's dictionaries (published 1904). 

Its also survived my rage when I thumped it rather than the desk one morning (that cost me a new drive).

And it isn't a Dell or Compaq or HP or even Tosh its an unbranded  build made (as just about all notebooks are) in Taiwan and cost originally 999.00 pounds sterling.

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, January 28, 2003


I guess I must be unusually lucky then. I have "owned" (ok so my employer owned them) two laptops so far. The first was a Toshiba and got dragged everywhere with me for two years and the only thing that ever broke was a port flap.

I now have an Nec which gets dragged between home and work everyday, in my backpack rather than in a proper laptop back. I have been using it for two years and it was used by someone else for two years before that. The only thing that has failed is the battery, which is expected after this many charge cycles (and was of course easy to replace).

In the same time I have had two failed PSUs and one failed hard drive in my desktop machines.

Andy Norman
Tuesday, January 28, 2003

I second Albert's suggestion that one of a laptop's most important features is a good warranty.  I've been very happy with Dell's warranty service.  My laptops fail, on avergage, once per year.  Perhaps the new ones are better.  And they always fail at the worst of all times - when you have a trip scheduled.  Even still, putting the damaged equipment in a box, and having it come back in 1-3 days is a valuable asset.

Nat Ersoz
Tuesday, January 28, 2003

If you want to cut costs on buying a laptop, don't cut your warranty, buy less ram, or something else. But do not compromise on the warranty.

Prakash S
Tuesday, January 28, 2003

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