Run Linux on HP Computers, Lose Warranty

Apparently, installing any distro of Linux on a new HP system could actually void your warranty. That’s exactly what happened to a lady named Laura Breeden when she called HP about an hardware issue on her new Compaq Presario laptop and mentioned that she was running Ubuntu to the support agent.

When she called Compaq — the unit comes with a one-year warranty on the hardware — they asked what operating system she was running. When she told them Linux, they said, “Sorry, we do not honor our hardware warranty when you run Linux.” In order to get warranty service, she was told, she would have to remove Linux and reinstall the original OS.

After reading this, I searched Google for stories of people who experienced similar situations with other hardware manufacturers and wasn’t really surprised to see that HP wasn’t the only company that had a “no-linux” policy. Since most of these corporations are focused on Windows, they can’t really afford to train their personal on two different platforms without having to invest huge sums of money, so they choose the most profitable option. Sad isn’t it?

Run Linux, lose warranty (Linux.com)

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19 Responses to Run Linux on HP Computers, Lose Warranty

  1. I personally don't think it's unfair or unrealistic. In order to provide support for a computer, support reps are going to ask you to do various things in the software to try to fix the problem before stepping up to more expensive and difficult hardware solutions. And supporting Windows is difficult enough; things get all the more complicated when another OS is thrown into the mix. Limited "official" support comes with the territory of switching to Linux…

    • If I put myself on the company side, I can understand their position. Having to train support people on both OS would very costly at first, and support agent would probably start asking higher salary later. In the end, consumers would end up paying more for a computer, which clearly is something that nobody wants.

      However, computer manufacturers usually ask customers to run a diagnostic CD before digging further into any problems. This kind of procedure does not need windows and will detect most hardware failures right away, so running linux on a box should not really be considered if the person calling for support reports a hardware problem that was discovered via this CD.

  2. I personally don’t think it’s unfair or unrealistic. In order to provide support for a computer, support reps are going to ask you to do various things in the software to try to fix the problem before stepping up to more expensive and difficult hardware solutions. And supporting Windows is difficult enough; things get all the more complicated when another OS is thrown into the mix. Limited “official” support comes with the territory of switching to Linux…

    • If I put myself on the company side, I can understand their position. Having to train support people on both OS would very costly at first, and support agent would probably start asking higher salary later. In the end, consumers would end up paying more for a computer, which clearly is something that nobody wants.

      However, computer manufacturers usually ask customers to run a diagnostic CD before digging further into any problems. This kind of procedure does not need windows and will detect most hardware failures right away, so running linux on a box should not really be considered if the person calling for support reports a hardware problem that was discovered via this CD.

  3. If keys are physically sticking, that is obviously nothing to do with the OS and there is no way clicking any amount of things in the OS will fix it. Likewise, if the hard drive is clicking or whirring, the OS has nothing to do with it. "My video card doesn't work under Linux"? Okay, that can either be drivers OR the card. Test the card.

    I've had Gateway tell me I would have to reinstall Windows. I backed up my Linux install and did so. Their solution to an overheating laptop? Reinstall Windows. Excuse me? Reinstalling Windows is not going to magically give my laptop a better heatsink and ventilation. I gave up and got a laptop cooling pad. IMO, the only way to get them to stop pussy-footing and claiming it's configuration and actually replace your stuff with working hardware is to send it without a hard drive. Other techs have said it too. If you send your hard drive, they can see your stuff, so privacy is a concern. If you send your hard drive, they'll reinstall Windows (jeez, I coulda done something stupid like that myself) as a "solution." That's only a solution if it's a software problem (in which case, why's that going on warranty? that probably means you need a proper virus scan and rootkit detector). They don't need your hard drive to replace a keyboard, graphics card, or sound card.

    • Oh, and this reinforces my belief that HP has the worst customer service. I mean, Gateway and HP are on equal footing on the Linux thing. However, Gateway's tech support A) never told me that formatting the hard drive would leave all data intact (yes, HP's said this) B) speaks fluent, understandable English.

  4. If keys are physically sticking, that is obviously nothing to do with the OS and there is no way clicking any amount of things in the OS will fix it. Likewise, if the hard drive is clicking or whirring, the OS has nothing to do with it. “My video card doesn’t work under Linux”? Okay, that can either be drivers OR the card. Test the card.

    I’ve had Gateway tell me I would have to reinstall Windows. I backed up my Linux install and did so. Their solution to an overheating laptop? Reinstall Windows. Excuse me? Reinstalling Windows is not going to magically give my laptop a better heatsink and ventilation. I gave up and got a laptop cooling pad. IMO, the only way to get them to stop pussy-footing and claiming it’s configuration and actually replace your stuff with working hardware is to send it without a hard drive. Other techs have said it too. If you send your hard drive, they can see your stuff, so privacy is a concern. If you send your hard drive, they’ll reinstall Windows (jeez, I coulda done something stupid like that myself) as a “solution.” That’s only a solution if it’s a software problem (in which case, why’s that going on warranty? that probably means you need a proper virus scan and rootkit detector). They don’t need your hard drive to replace a keyboard, graphics card, or sound card.

    • Oh, and this reinforces my belief that HP has the worst customer service. I mean, Gateway and HP are on equal footing on the Linux thing. However, Gateway’s tech support A) never told me that formatting the hard drive would leave all data intact (yes, HP’s said this) B) speaks fluent, understandable English.

  5. I use Linux on HP laptop too. Just make them clear what hardware is defect without telling them you use Linux. I sent those b****rds my laptop for reparation with a new harddisk in it, Vista nicely fresh installed via recovery DVD. No one even complained it was another brand harddisk :-). When I got my laptop back I changed harddisk back again and voila, Linux I'm back!

    My next laptop will be a Dell, with Linux of course!

  6. I use Linux on HP laptop too. Just make them clear what hardware is defect without telling them you use Linux. I sent those b****rds my laptop for reparation with a new harddisk in it, Vista nicely fresh installed via recovery DVD. No one even complained it was another brand harddisk :-). When I got my laptop back I changed harddisk back again and voila, Linux I’m back!

    My next laptop will be a Dell, with Linux of course!

  7. 1 – Why would you buy a new laptop? Especially Dell or HP. Buy a used Lenovo, Thinkpad, Fujitsu, Panasonic, something of good quality. Then load it up with a Linux distro.

    2 – Why would you call support for answers when you can Google almost all problems with a Linux machine and get solutions?

    Consumers must change their behavior and be smart about their technology.

    Besides, any support person who is not conversant in Linux is not worth their paycheck.

    • Because of HARDWARE problems. If you need to replace hardware and it's still under warranty, would you rather deal with tech support and get it replaced free, or pay on ebay to get a questionable part?

  8. 1 – Why would you buy a new laptop? Especially Dell or HP. Buy a used Lenovo, Thinkpad, Fujitsu, Panasonic, something of good quality. Then load it up with a Linux distro.

    2 – Why would you call support for answers when you can Google almost all problems with a Linux machine and get solutions?

    Consumers must change their behavior and be smart about their technology.
    Besides, any support person who is not conversant in Linux is not worth their paycheck.

    • Because of HARDWARE problems. If you need to replace hardware and it’s still under warranty, would you rather deal with tech support and get it replaced free, or pay on ebay to get a questionable part?

  9. I contacted their voice support line, and they told me the same thing once. I don't remember exactly what I said, but it amounted to "Are you stupid? I'm talking about hardware." Ignored his arguments, and continued to ask about the hardware problem until he finally answered me. This was at least 8 months ago, so I have no idea if it will still work.

  10. I contacted their voice support line, and they told me the same thing once. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but it amounted to “Are you stupid? I’m talking about hardware.” Ignored his arguments, and continued to ask about the hardware problem until he finally answered me. This was at least 8 months ago, so I have no idea if it will still work.

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