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I Hate HP Computers, but I love their printers

This page has stories sent to me from readers (New one added 10-28-07)
(My story updated as well- you may call me a hypocrite)

We have bought 2 HP laptops over the last 2 years & the service has been a nightmare. I will never again buy an HP or Compaq computer. Let me tell you why.

We bought the first one for our grandson for college. It worked great, but we had to call HP for service with a minor problem. They registered the unit to us since we bought it. Since it was a laptop, we were directed to service in the US.

About 9 months later we bought a similar one for ourselves. We decided on this particular model because it came with Windows XP Pro where all the others had XP Home.

My wife needs a floppy for her business & no laptops come with built in floppies anymore, so we bought a USB external floppy. When we plugged it into the laptop, the laptop crashed and would not restart. We had to reload the operating system from the recovery disks which by the way were XP Pro from HP. This happened repeatedly. I had another USB external floppy drive that I had had for some time. We tried it & the same thing happened. We tried both ports. We were able to use other USB devices with no problems. We used a USB mouse, a USB hub, a USB printer all with no problem. But the floppy failed every time. It never worked.

We got HP service on the phone. This time we got an outsourced tech in India. The first mixup was they kept insisting this was the computer we bought for the grandson. It took a lot of arguing to get them to accept that we had bought a second one.

The tech spent 2 hours on the phone with us trying everything his book said to do. Still no good. He arranged for UPS to pick up the laptop & take it to HP for service. We got it back in a timely manner & it worked for about a month. We were in the process of moving & forgot about the problem for a few months knowing we had a 3 year service contract. We were still within the first year but getting close, so we called them again after we had it about 11 months.

We again got the run-around. They tried to say the warranty was out because they were still referring to the first one we bought. After again some very heated arguing, we finally got them to qualify the second unit. But in order to get an RMA number we had to fax them our original sales receipt. They then e-mailed us the RNA number.

We called tech support to get them to issue a pickup order based on the RMA. We got India again & they refused to issue the pickup order. They wanted to go through the whole book again to qualify that it was actually needing repair. We spent at least 2 hours on the phone being bounced from one tech to another. I asked repeatedly for a supervisor & was refused. I asked for a US tech and was refused. I had to get very rude with them & kept telling them I already had the RMA & all I wanted from them was to issue the pickup order. It took the whole 2 hours + & a lot of demanding on my part to finally get it issued.

They picked it up soon after & it was back in 2 or 3 days. We included a letter that explained the whole thing with copies of all the documents & specific instructions that if the hard drive had to be reimaged, they were to use XP Pro. Our original sales receipt showed XP Pro on the invoice.

When we got it back, it had XP Home on it. They had to update all the parts internally. It was basically a new machine. I was ticked & called tech support. They gave me another run-around. They kept saying that all HP laptops are delivered with Home version. They have never shipped a laptop with Pro & refused to reimage mine with Pro even though I had proof it came with it as shown in the following photos:













Now I ask you- Does it look like HP supplied Pro?

Well this wasn't the end of it. After deciding that I was getting nowhere with them, I just used the Pro OS disk & upgraded it to Pro. That worked fine I thought. I then got the SP2 disk from Microsoft & upgraded it. The floppy continued to work fine so that was fixed.

Then when I went to restart the laptop, it couldn't find the drivers for the video, modem or wireless network card. I discovered that the techs had just bypassed these & they were in the Other category of the Device manager. I discovered this when I tried to set up my wireless network & it did not recognize the wireless card on the laptop. Fortunately the wired NIC was recognized. I had to hard wire the laptop to the router, go on the web & let Windows find the drivers for the 3 missing items. I finally got it working, but I guarantee you I will NEVER BUY ANOTHER HP COMPUTER. Neither will I recommend one to anyone else.

Update 3-1-05. I got a call a couple of weeks ago from an exec at HP asking what the problem was. I explained it in detail & referred him to this web page. He stated that the treatment I received was ridiculous. They do in fact sell laptops with XP Pro. I said I would consider removing this page if the company would send a letter or e-mail with an apology. He did say they had a complete record of the transaction & the parties I spoke with & the record of repairs. He indicated that appropriate action would be taken. So far, I have heard nothing back from them. I will report it if I do.

As of May 2007, nothing has been heard from HP, but plenty from other unhappy customers.

I am posting examples on this page (with writer's permissions)

In addition, there are a couple of forums on PC Pitstop you might want to check as well. This one called Hall of Shame has audio links for both Gateway (which owns E-Machine) and Dell service calls. Really funny in a sick way.

While on the subject, go to the main forums page at and check out the various forums. The one referenced above is in the Tech Talk forum. You will see many postings about the new Vista operating system including mine about the missing fax program in Vista.

10-28-07 update

In October 2007, I had 3 computers fail within 2 weeks. Home built desktops, not HP. 2 at home & one at our small business. I had the option of buying or building so here is what I did. I ACTUALLY BOUGHT ANOTHER HP!!! Which I said I would never do, but here are the reasons.

With the laptops, I was lucky that I had bought the extended warranty and will never buy another piece of computer equipment without it. BTW, HP's extended warranty is as bad as their original since you still have to deal with them, so I recommend buying the store's warranty.

When the first desktop died, I decided to buy another HP because I got a lot more for the price than by any other means, but guess what? I got a 5 year warranty from Fry's.

After the second and third ones died, I decided to rebuild one of my old ones that failed. So now I have the new HP (hot machine), a rebuilt one also hot. I was able to cobble together two machines from the three busted ones. I also have a bunch of spare parts.

Here are the specs on my new machines: (if anyone is interested)

Machine 1. The new HP is AMD 64 X2 dual core 6000 with 3 GB of RAM, 500 GB SATA HD, Lightscribe DVD RAM drive and I added another DVD writer. This also had a slot for a removable hard drive & we bought a 300GB drive for it. This is the fastest USB device I've seen. Actually the whole machine screams and I don't care if it breaks because I'll never have to deal with HP! This one stays at home. It also has Vista on it. Many of my programs and devices do not work on Vista, so I had avoided the upgrade up till now, but it is nice to play with it to help others. I've helped set up a couple of new ones that friends bought so I've had some exposure to it. I work with some pretty demanding programs (Paint Shop Pro XI/ CorelDRAW X3) so I wanted a strong graphics machine. The HP has graphics on the MB but it works well. It has the ability to upgrade to a PCI-E graphics later. Certainly not the hottest machine on the market, but the best I could afford.

Machine 2. I bought an ECS motherboard that has connectors for using all 4 of my previous IDE drives plus SATA ability to upgrade later. It was made for the AMD dual core processor also. So all I had to buy was the new AMD dual core processor and new memory and combine all my old parts (at least the ones that worked). But now I have a bunch of old memory sticks. I did buy a new case as well to get a bigger power supply. This machine also screams but cost close to as much as I paid for the HP. And that with using old drives and a slower processor. It does not pay to build your own, especially since the warranty is much less. I did pop for a 1 year in-store replacement on the motherboard and processor. The AMD has a 1 year but dealing with them is no better than HP.

I had just finished building it when our machine at work took a surge hit and died. Turned out to be both MB and HD. So my new hot machine ended up going to work to replace the dead machine there. So then I looked at all the parts left over and started to play. I was able to put together 2 more machines using old parts and XP.

Machine 3. Of the 4 dead machines, one had a bad motherboard, one had a bad hard drive and one was memory, and another the video card died. So I was able to put together one nice machine as a backup to operate the devices and programs that required XP. This one had a bad fan on the processor and was overtemping, but after rebuilding, it seems to be OK. Probably had a corroded connector and replugging it solved the problem.

This one ended up with a 1.4 Ghz AMD with 1 GB RAM, dual hard drives (60 +160), and a DVD writer and a CD writer. This is my XP home backup. I run the new HP and the old XP machine with one keyboard and mouse with a KVM switch.

Machine 4 is just a basic backup. Basic XP installation, one hard drive, one CD, minimum memory. When things started dying, I backed up everything from the hard drives onto DVDs before I started rebuilding. I pulled the hard drives from the dead machines and put them in a good machine with a DVD writer. Then I reformatted the useable hard drives, loaded XP Pro ( I had 4 legal copies) and started over. The last 3 weeks have been a nightmare getting all the programs reloaded and working, but thankfully I did not lose any data. I've always kept multiple backups. Now I also have surge protection at work. My battery backup had died years ago & didn't get replaced. Dumb.

Lastly after playing with Vista for a couple of weeks, I'm glad I don't depend on it as my main machine. It has some bugs as do all new OSs. The video keeps changing itself from 1280x768 which is my choice for the 22" wide screen monitor to some other setting. Then today my icon for Dreamweaver said "This feature only works for installed programs". I had to delete the icon & reinstall it. Early on, the icons for Yahoo & Google would revert from the Y and G to a standard IE icon. This may be an IE7 problem rather than Vista. Or maybe the HP has a bug! Actually I read somewhere that the IE7 in Vista is not the same as the one you download.

Dec 2009 update: Been a real nightmare. The system crashed not due to Vista or HP but conflicts with installed programs. Had to restore the original OS & reload all my programs.

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