How to avoid losing HP warranty while installing FreeBSD

taromaru

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Hi folks

I just got myself a brand new HP 6735s laptop. I've used Vista (and, btw, suffered the "endless-update-loop on boot" bug) during the test period while which I could just have my money back without any further questions. That period is over and I refuse to run Vista anymore.

As far as I was told by the support guy on the computer shop, installing any other OS, or, for this matter, changing the disk layout, would void my warranty, and would loose support just because the Restore Discs wont work anymore. I understand that if I have the same layout (even if empty), these crappy discs would work.

I wonder if I can backup my MBR+partition table (by using dd) to a file, write down the exact CHS geometry of my disc (by using fdisk) on a piece of paper, and try to replicate it exactly (by using fdisk and dd from a live cd) if I happen to go into troubles with my hardware and need my warranty.

I think this would work, what do you think?
Would my master plan trick them?
Can they notice the difference?

Any suggestion/advice/previous experiences on this subject are highly appreciated.

Thanks in advance

:stud
 

SirDice

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You cannot void your warranty by installing a different OS on a machine.
Of course HP will not give you support on an OS it doesn't know so if you run into trouble you're pretty much on your own (or you can come here ;) ).

The hardware however is still covered by the warranty and they better fix it when it broken.
 

fronclynne

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SirDice said:
The hardware however is still covered by the warranty and they better fix it when it broken.
Be prepared for conversations like:
"FreeBSD doesn't support the voltages that we recommend for your motherboard so that is probably what caused the capacitor to fail. We can't cover user error under warranty."
"Err, what? You can't be serious."
"Well, we have no way of verifying that FreeBSD could never possibly have caused your problem, therefore FreeBSD caused your problem and it is no longer our problem."

And if you have to send it in for warranty repair:
  • Back up (or image) & wipe the hard drive
  • or
  • pull the hard drive and send the computer without one
 
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taromaru

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I first thought about making an image out of my drive using TrueImage or dd.

However, I realized I didnt have any external usb drive able to hold the whole image, thats why I moved to the "modular" aproach of recreating the disk, even if it stays empty, as I assumed the recovery disc would do the rest, provided I restore the disk exactly as it was manufactured and formated.

Anyway, I find the restore discs pretty unlikely to check the exact geometry of the disc, but just checking I have the same number of partitions (Local drive, HP_Tools and HP_Recovery) in that order.

So... what should I do? I am really excited towards testing yongari@ patch to provide support for the NIC these laptops are using (Marvell Yukon 88E8042, currently not supported by msk(4) under FreeBSD).
 

tkjacobsen

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If you can afford an extra drive you can just replace the original one. This also solves any problems with restoring your drive to the original after the hardware stopped working!
 
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taromaru

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tkjacobsen said:
If you can afford an extra drive you can just replace the original one. This also solves any problems with restoring your drive to the original after the hardware stopped working!

Actually, I have a spare drive of my previous laptop, the one that stopped working. I wasnt able to troubleshoot the main problem, though. I think the drive is ok, memtest wasnt showing any errors, but the laptop kept failing at very different moments, throwing differente errors and stuff like that.

Also, I am afraid of spoiling any inner-something. I just dont want to mess around, Im not such a hardware person. I've tinkered with workstations like a lot, but laptops are definitely something completely new. I used my previous laptop to play with but... I am not so sure about my skills :\
 

phoenix

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They can't void your hardware warranty for installing software.
 

vivek

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I agree, HP cannot void your warranty. You paid for it, install whatever you want
 

SirDice

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fronclynne said:
Be prepared for conversations like:
"FreeBSD doesn't support the voltages that we recommend for your motherboard so that is probably what caused the capacitor to fail. We can't cover user error under warranty."
"Err, what? You can't be serious."
"Well, we have no way of verifying that FreeBSD could never possibly have caused your problem, therefore FreeBSD caused your problem and it is no longer our problem."
If they come up with crap like that they'd better prepare for a lawsuit :e

At least in Holland when a manufacturer cannot prove the fault is caused by misuse (which is very hard to do unless it's bleeding obvious) they simply have no choice and need to repair or replace it.
 

dennylin93

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From what I've seen, the "support guys" in the shop don't know how to use anything but Windows (at least in Taiwan most people still use Windows). They might be mistaken about the details of the warranty. You can always read it carefully yourself.
 

Alt

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I think their reaction will be different in different cases.
For example, if you install FreeBSD and OS or some prog will 'freeze' - they will say about 'voltage' or other crap.. If laptop is not turning on at all, they will fix it without knowledge about OS on it / or with own hard disk =) So, in some cases you will lose warranty, but in some cases it is does not matter..
I think if you come with 'freeze/kernel panic' bug, they will not help you any way..
 
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taromaru

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dennylin93 said:
From what I've seen, the "support guys" in the shop don't know how to use anything but Windows (at least in Taiwan most people still use Windows). They might be mistaken about the details of the warranty. You can always read it carefully yourself.

From what I understood he (shopping guy) said, if, for instance, my screen ever stopped working, I wouldnt have the chance of having it replaced or anything if HP (support guy) noticed I dont have the stock OS when I send it to their "HQs".

I do know its nuts, but it seems this is the way they use to work.

Anyway, according to this post at hp.com Recovery Discs can perform low level formats and running any Windows OS without the HP_RECOVERY partition is not unsupported, but just not recommended, so I will just go down that road.

I will, still, backup my full MBR and disk layout before installing -current.

Thanks everyone for your input :)
 

Carpetsmoker

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At least in Holland when a manufacturer cannot prove the fault is caused by
misuse (which is very hard to do unless it's bleeding obvious) they simply
have no choice and need to repair or replace it.

Is this also valid for the rest of the Netherlands of just the Holland
province?

Ehm, anyway, the law is not Dutch but from the EU, and it isn't quite what you say.

If a product fails in the first 6 months, then the manufacturer needs to prove
the defect was *not* caused by a manufacturing defect but by misuse.
But *after* 6 months it is the customer that needs to prove the defect was
caused by a manufacturing error and not by misuse.

I work at a computer store, and I've had this discussion many times , the
``right for two year warranty defined in the law'' so many people talk about
comes with certain obligations. (People always talk about consumer right,
never about consumer obligations.)

Ehm, Anyway,

Whenever I send in a laptop for repair, I usually send it without hard disk
(Or any other removable parts for that matter) unless the problem is of course
related to this part. AFAIK Only Toshiba always wants absolute *complete*
notebooks, for other brands (including HP) it's no problem. If the problem
isn't related to this part, then the only thing that can happen to it is get
wiped or lost.

Even if they require your disk for whatever reason, just back it up and
overwrite with random data. I would do this anyway whenever I would send in a
laptop for repair because they have no business with my data. If they really
want they can just put back the Vista preinstall and use that for testing.
This really isn't much of a deal.

(I send in notebooks for repairs on daily basis for customers)

To sum it up:
Never had any such problems, nothing to worry about, just relax ;)
 

saxon3049

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Carpetsmoker - I up until recently owned a computer shop and sold all computers I built with a two year parts and labour warranty covering all manufacturing problems (user caused faults not included) as standard. Most of the time when dealing with laptops if it was a faulty ram stick or damaged hard drive I replaced on the spot and billed the supplier of the device for a new one and oddly they are more than happy to pay as it costs them more in time to find the fault again on there end and then rma it I save them time and hassle down the line and they are more than willing to save £70 in staff wages for a £30 charge from me. It might be worth trying for you dude.
 

Carpetsmoker

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It really depends on the manufactorer, some like HP or Asus are pretty relaxed about it and send everything from hard drives to mainboards to bottom cases and have no problem if I replace it for them under warrenty.

Others, like Acer, Toshiba, or HP for consumer Notebooks (pavillion etc.) are pretty tight-arsed, even for basic stuff like broken hard disk or memory. I *have* to send in the notebook and let them do the repair.
I don't really understand why though ...

FWIW, I *always* have problems with Apple, their warranty is complete crap.

Most HP's have either one or three year warrenty BTW, the more expensive xxxxb series have three year, the cheaper ones (i.e. >90%) are 1 year. You can expand warranty though to two years for 40 or 50 euro IIRC. Only Asus has a two year warranty by default.
 

saxon3049

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I am lucky with apple I have a apple store in town and one of my friends works there on the genius bar and I have worked for them so I can get my hands on parts cheep and fast, I call John say I need XYZ he pops round my house and a few beers later it's sorted :p

I deal direct with the suppliers not the companies and they are the ones who honour RMA's etc so it's easier than with HP, Acer or Dell etc
 
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