Dear Lifehacker, My down arrow on my HP keyboard fell off recently as one of the hooks underneath the physical key broke off. I contacted HP and was told the company might roll back the OS from Windows 8 which I upgraded for $25 last year to Windows 7 as part of the repair. When I expressed concerns about this, the operator said that I should disable my passwords to minimise the chance of my hard drive being reset. I was wondering why such an obscure policy would exist and if it is actually legal for them to downgrade my system for no reason. Any thoughts? Thanks, Confused By Policies
Keyboard repair picture from Shutterstock
Seriously, this seems to be a very bizarre thing for HP to request. I've run teams of IT maintenance guys who have replaced dozens of keyboards on notebooks and the hard drive has never come into it.
I'd strongly advise you to make a full backup of the entire drive before you send it in for repair. And set a password on the device as well – there's no reason HP would need to access the operating system to replace a keyboard. My gut feeling says that the process is in place so that they can run a full system diagnostic of any device that's sent in to them for repair.
By the way, replacing a keyboard is not a complex repair, although some HP notebooks are more complex that others. I'm guessing that your machine is probably still under warranty which is why you're going to HP. However, if you're prepared to run the warranty gauntlet, you could do it yourself or find a decent computer tech to do the job for you. I've sourced replacement keyboards via eBay and local parts vendors for between $25 and $40. The replacement process takes about 15 minutes for someone that knows what they're doing.
HP has been in trouble for some of its warranty practices recently and wasfined $3 million by the ACCC. I'm not sure this falls into the same category as the offences there but this policy does seem a little strange, to say the least.
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