Sunday, January 20, 2008

Lenovo woes

Two years ago our then head of IT decided to swtich our company over to "IBM" hardware from Dell. At the time I went into it with optimism, having never had an IBM laptop before. Myself and my team were the first to get new machines, getting T60p laptops. That's when I discovered that they were no longer made by IBM, but by a company I hadn't heard of before called Lenovo. My new laptop arrived and the specs had it at the top of what was available at the time. Here's where the sequence of issues began. My laptop kept blue-screening at random times, wouldn't hibernate correctly, as well as a long list of other issues. Once I realized that Lenovo had preloaded the machine with tons of software completely redundant to what windows could do, I uninstalled almost all of it. My favorite is the power center, which interferes with the Windows power settings making it so that neither worked right. Well, the issues never went away, so our IT concluded that I had a lemon machine and gave me a replacement.

The replacement only had 1GB of RAM in it, so I had them order me another Gig. However, after experience random bluescreens after putting it in, I played musical RAM seats with the cards and learned that the second RAM seat in the laptop was faulty. So I live with 1GB of RAM, it could be worse. Meanwhile, I had gone through 3, yes 3 docking stations. Unlike Dell, they put a built-in power supply into the station itself instead of just giving you another power adapter with a brick. Well, it was the power supply that went out twice. Since all that, the headphone jack has partially failed leaving me with sound only for the right channel (love that when on long plane flights). The best was when the laptop overheated this last thursday when running a CPU intensive performance test. It bluescreened and tried to restart. However, it kept freezing when the windows logo showed up in the dim state and never proceeded from there. I undocked it and almost burned my hand on the bottom of the case. That's also when I realized that the geniuses at Lenovo designed the docking station in such a way that while docked the fan intake was partially blocked (definitely didn't help when trying to stay cool). So after letting it cool down for a while, it finally booted again and "seems" ok. I'm worried that something got warped or fried from the overheat, and our current (and very useful) head of IT said that he thinks total machine failure is imminent. (side note that he also told me they are seeing a 10% failure rate per month on Lenovo hardware, and for a company with 100 employees, that's 10 people a month with failed machines)

The good news is that the overheat prompted the need for a new laptop, and my squeaky wheel (ok, whining) about Lenovo over the past 2 years finally paid off. They're ordering me a new Dell D830 laptop this next week and it should be ready for me when I get back from Europe. I'm almost giddy with the thought of having a laptop that actually works again.

Lesson to learn from this? Never buy a Lenovo if you can do ANYTHING else.


Unknown said...


I'm sorry to hear about your troubles, and that Lenovo appears to have lost you as a customer.

I'd like to talk to you in more depth about some of your experiences.

I'd also like to learn more about the situations where you have heard about a 10% failure rate. I would certainly like to get that organization some help and it sounds like your in a position to help them here.

Hopefully you can contact me through my associated email with this comment, of visit the lenovo blogs for forums and reach me there.

Mark Hopkins

Scott Lasica said...

Mark, thanks for the offer. I sent your info over to our Director of IT. He said he has plenty of machines that have something broken on them and welcomes help from Lenovo.