The Lenovo X-240 Ordeal
A little off topic but an important post that could affect you at some point!
Let’s face it this blog would not exist if my laptop was non-existent. I initially launched the blog using my trusty HP Pavilion laptop which was 5 years old. Eventually, an issue with the heat sync caused a system overheat issue and there was really no point in getting it fixed.
I’ve been tinkering with computers ever since I got my first Syncomp 286 in 1992 and years later went on to work for Dell and sold desktops, laptops, servers, storage and switches and other network gear for a few years before selling SAS at Akamai. Techonology has always been a part of my life and these days you can’t really survive in an urban environment without some form of technology. For Tales Of Froth, a smartphone, laptop and tablet are vital!
In early 2015, I opted to buy a replacement laptop keeping in mind the following:
- Portable & fairly lightweight – I had a hunch frequent trips would happen eventually.
- Durable – travel, shuttling in out of meetings in cafes, bars and restaurants would dictate a machine with a strong chassis and long lasting hinges.
- Computing Power – enough for blog posts, minimal photo/video editing, surfing the internet and a few occasional games.
I could have easily gone the Mac route with my budget of 70-80,000 rupees but opted to buy the business class Lenovo X-240 laptop. With a 13 inch screen, magnesium alloy casing, HDD shock protection, Windows 8 Pro (upgraded to Win 10 Pro) and a host of other features, this seemed like the best choice for a Windows user.
The machine worked well initially during my trips and was performed well at the Tales Of Froth HQ but started to give trouble at the start of the summer season in 2016. The first sign of trouble were keys that worked intermittently – an entire column of keys. This slowly became highly annoying and just last week another serious problem surfaced.
On July 17th, my Hard Disk Drive (HDD) crashed/froze/killed itself. I could not get past the bootloader screen or do a recovery – nothing would work! It was certainly a helpless feeling.
Lenovo Service – The Nightmare Begins!
July 17: As soon as I had the HDD crash on the night of the 17th, I logged on to Lenovo’s support site on another computer and chose the option of having customer service contact me first thing in the morning as the phone support center was closed.
July 18: 11 am zoomed past with no phone call. I had errands to run and kept checking my phone but no call came. The next morning I decided to email Lenovo and got my first acknowledgement that I would be contacted.
July 19: Lenovo customer support called and said they would get back to me shortly.
July 20: In an email from customer support on the evening of the 20th, I was told to expect a techincian on-site once parts were available.
I get another email stating the order was cancelled but that was due to an internal error and a fresh order generated.
System Serial number: PF00GR2P
Old Service Order: 7007469123
New Service Order:7007470847
July 21: Technician arrives on site an hour late. Keyboard is replaced but then I am told the HDD can only be replaced after I do a data back up on the faulty drive. This was news to me. I had no prior intimation that this was the case. Great! Technician leaves the old HDD behind and asks me to find another vendor to do a data backup.
July 23: Technician is back on site to install the new HDD. The new HDD is blank with no OS on it – once again news to me. I was expecting a new HDD with an OEM version and Lenovo software. The technician DOES NOT make an effort to assist or explain how to go about getting an OS installed. He instructs me to call Lenovo customer care. The customer care office is closed and the technician leaves. I have a laptop with a new HDD but no OS. In other words, I am not able to work! This is the 6th day without a functioning machine.
July 25: Emails to Lenovo support are sent over and a few posts on their social media channels. A representative from their Social Media team calls me to inform me that they will not assist me further and since I am individual not a business with considerable numbers, I must buy the Lenovo recovery DVD from my local Lenovo service center and this will cost me anywhere from 3,000-5,000 Rupees. He wasn’t empathetic whatsoever.
Mr. Ravi Ranjan blamed me for not making a recovery disc and asked me to go ahead and make the purchase and sent me this email shortly afterwards:
Why Lenovo are Liars, Cheats & Thieves!
Lenovo support refuse to budge – they want me to spend 3-5K on a recovery DVD and that’s there policy.
Here’s the way I look at it:
Productivity Loss: 7 + Days. Tales Of Froth is more than just a blog. As I venture into consulting and publishing roles, the number of emails, write ups has increased ten fold. If you think I drink Beer all day long – you are wrong. Outings and events are a few days during a typical week and only in the evenings. The rest of my time is spent on my phone and computer – working!
Emotional Duress: If a company really cares, their priority should be to get their customer’s machine up and running as quickly as possible to minimize business down time and negative branding. Talking over the phone ,in-person and emailing Lenovo’s customer care with no results is darn right frustrating and highly annoying.
When some pencil pusher on the other end of the line thinks he is smart by rattling off policy and doesn’t realize the damage he is doing to his brand, you really have to label him a genius. Perhaps someone from Lenovo reading this will realize that such employees are doing more harm than good to your brand.
THE SOLUTION – HOW DO INSTALL YOUR OS FOR FREE!
I knew my Outlook account would have a listing of what system I was using and what type of OS. So the search began there. I noticed that this X 240 did not have a Windows Product Key on the bottom nor in the supporting literature or emails I had received from Lenovo/Windows upon product registration.
Revelation Number 1
Lenovo’s website pulls up the answer once you search for the right term. New laptops such as the X-240 and even other brands have the Windows Product Key embedded in the BIOS. Your motherboard has the key stored in it!
Revelation Number 2
You can create your own Recovery Disk for Windows 10 using any available laptop. Google Search “Windows Media Creation Tool” and download this file from the Microsoft website.
- Run it on the surrogate laptop and follow these guidelines from the Windows Club – Click Here
Once you have the recovery disc/USB drive ready here’s what you do:
- Insert Key into laptop where you want to Install Win 10.
- Follow instructions on screen for a fresh install.
- The software will detect your Win 10 OEM Product Key automatically from the BIOS – no need to worry.
- Reboot as requested.
- On Reboot, tap any key repeatedly till you see the Windows installation screen.
- You’re good to go!
I hope you guys find this useful, should you find yourself in a similar situation!
Am I letting Lenovo get away with this? Of course not. The way Lenovo India handled this situation was unprofessional and a total waste of a customer’s time and because of this I will never buy a Lenovo again nor will I recommend the brand to family, friends and business acquaintances.
It is surprising that an 80,000 rupee laptop from Lenovo with the ThinkPad branding on it would have 2 successive hardware failures in just over a year of use. What is the use of on-site customer support if they aren’t really there to help and just want to make a few measly bucks off you?
Buy a laptop that has a better durability record and more importantly better customer support that actually cares and is efficient at solving issues not aggravating them!
Cheers and Remember Say NO to Lenovo!!!!