Compaq Computer Corporation Laptops

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The Compaq Presario Wasn't What I Paid For
Posted by QM on 02/27/2006
In fall of 2004 I ordered a Compaq Presario desktop computer online. I waited two weeks for the company to build my computer. When it arrived, it wouldn't boot up. I called tech support and spent hours talking to them. Their ultimate suggestion was that I wait two weeks for an appointment with an in-home technician. I asked if I could receive credit time on my warranty and virus software updates and was told "no", but that I could pay for the technician myself and receive faster service. I demanded a new tower. After two hours on the phone with customer service, Compaq agreed to send me a new computer, but they wanted me to pay more for it because, "that sale is over, ma'am." Finally, I got someone to agree to send a new computer at the same price.

Two weeks after that, my new computer arrived. It booted up! But it never worked nearly as well as the Micron I'd purchased 6 years earlier had worked, despite the fact that the Presario was supposed to be a much more powerful machine. Worn down, I just dealt with it. I had to replace the modem almost immediately. I emailed Compaq about the modem and never received a response. And so I chugged on for over a year until the computer crashed and prompted me to use my recovery disks. The recovery disks didn't work.

To my local computer repair shop I went. There, I was informed that I'd really gotten ripped off. The version of Windows XP on the computer wasn't the correct, more expensive, version that I'd paid for. The motherboard was junk. The fan that cools the processor hadn't been screwed down properly. A screw had snapped off during installation. The fan was never cooling the entire processor chip.

A few hundred dollars later, I have a computer that works better than it did when it came from the factory. I'm reading a lot of similar complaints about Compaq and HP...computers that just don't work at all and support that is most unhelpful and certainly not apologetic. I'm hoping that adding my 3 cents will save at least one person from the grief I've had. As for me, I plan to purchase next computer from my small local shop. Because customers can complain personally, because small local shops have a reputation to uphold in the community, and because they actually UNDERSTAND the products they sell, I feel it is the safest way to go.

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Posted by KateM on 2006-02-27:
I agree with you entirely. Local places are the best to shop because of all the reasons you stated. Unfortunately this country has such a "Wal-Mart" mentatlity about it. Its really no wonder why customer service has gone down the tubes.
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Send your Hard Drive or Else!
Posted by Mmroberts on 02/09/2004
PENSACOLA, FLORIDA -- This is a two-part review of the Compaq Presario 8000.


This computer was the Wal-Mart $498 special, so I didn't expect it to be a powerhouse. I just needed a computer for my daughter's college work. I have been a computer support tech and programmer for many years and usually build my own, but I went against that rule in the name of simplicity. That was a mistake.

As soon as I got the computer installed I realized that something wasn't quite right. Windows XP took over five minutes to boot and another five minutes to get to the point where I could actually click on an icon. For a 1.8 GHZ Machine, that seemed pretty slow. I did some (slow) research and discovered that the 128 MB of RAM that Compaq puts in these machines standard is not really enough to run XP well. So I went out and bought another 128 MB of RAM the next week. As I said, I knew it was a basic machine when I bought it, so I didn't complain much.

About five months later my wife was going to check her email and it wouldn't boot. The fans came on but I got no video and it never attempted to access any of the drives. I opened it up and reseated everything, but it refused to do anything. "Good thing it’s under warranty", I thought. Wrong.


My wife called me at work the next day and told me that there are no local service centers for Compaq anymore. The deal is that they send you an empty box and you send them your computer. They "fix" it (which means it is sent somewhere to be refurbished and resold) and they "send it back" (which means you get a different computer). She was concerned about sending our hard drive since all of our accounting and banking information and passwords were stored on it. I agreed.

I called Compaq support and they told me that I had to send the hard drive even though I offered to purchase an identical drive and send it in.

When I explained that I could not afford to lose the data I was told to back up the drive to another drive and send in the original. When I expressed concern about sending my personal data to some repair center in (where?), I was told I should format the drive.

I asked him how he wanted me to back it up without pulling it out (which would void the warranty according to him), he actually told me to "find a friend who will let you install the drive in his computer and just do a drive copy. It really isn't that hard. Really."

I told him that I had no friends that were trusting enough to allow me to take their computer apart so he then told me that I should make a backup to CD. I pointed out that the computer STILL wouldn't boot up, so that still didn't solve the problem. How could I burn it to the CD drive if it wouldn't even boot?

The next ingenious suggestion was that I should remove the drive and take it so some shop in the area and have them back it up to CD. I pointed out that I had been told that if I removed the drive (just took it out of the PC), it would void the warranty. The tech said that it was OK to pull it to make a backup. Go figure. I asked him if I took it somewhere and they did make a successful backup, wouldn't that prove that the hard drive was good?

I told him that whether I made a backup or not, I was not going to be able to run any of my applications when I got the new machine back without reinstalling them all and copying thousands of files over. I thought that this was pointless when I knew that the problem was not the hard drive. Besides, why would I trust the underpaid tech down the street any more than I trust the underpaid contractors they use to "repair" their computers? He told me that if the ORIGINAL drive was not in the computer, they would not service it. When I pointed out that I could have upgraded the hard drive. Would that void the warranty? I was told it would.

After three days our case was forwarded to someone named Anthony (Extension 3114 at Site 79. He refused to give his last name). He was a "case resolution manager" for Compaq. We got an email telling us that he would call us, which he did several days later. Since I run several web sites and all of my maintenance software was on the hard drive that they insisted they needed. I couldn’t afford to have my computer down for two or three weeks.

I started looking around for a replacement Compaq motherboard on the Internet and made a very interesting discovery. The Compaq Presario (maybe others?) uses a generic design motherboard. In the past, name-brand computers required factory-supplied parts. However I took the bad motherboard out of the Presario and took it to a local computer shop. They had a motherboard in stock that fit it perfectly. The only differences were that the backplane did not line up with the factory backplane and the power switch plug required an adapter to fit the plug in the Compaq chassis. The backplane was no problem because the new motherboard came with one and I just popped the old one out and replaced it. The adapter was also a very easy swap.

This self-fix cost me $90 for the motherboard and $90 for the processor (they were both bad, it turns out). So now my $498 deal was a $678 deal.

Two days after I replaced the motherboard and chip Anthony from Compaq called me to “resolve my complaint”. I explained the situation and he wasted no time telling me that since I did not return the unit as required by the warranty rules (i.e. with the ORIGINAL hard drive), there was nothing that they could do. I asked them if they could reimburse my expenses, replace the bad motherboard, or do anything at all and they said that there was nothing they could do to resolve the problem. In fact, I specifically asked him “Are you telling me that there is nothing that can be done to resolve this problem”? He said “There is nothing.” His justification was that I didn’t do it their way, so they didn’t have to honor the warranty.

Thanks for nothing Compaq.

My advice for anyone who is looking for a computer is:

"Steer clear of the Compaq".

If you already have one and have discovered how useless their support is, or you are like me and refuse to send your bank account information on a hard drive that is just going to be sold off to a refurbishing company (and then maybe found by a dumpster diver in India), my advice is to get a motherboard from a computer store and chalk this one up to experience.

The motherboard I purchased is a very common Asus A7V8X-MX. They run about $90. I know for a fact that they work in this machine because I wrote this review using it. And it is even much faster than the original motherboard even though I got the identical processor for it.

I now have a new motherboard with a three year full replacement warranty from Asus that doesn’t require me to send in a hard drive with it to get service.
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Posted by on 08/16/2002
INDUSTRY, CALIFORNIA -- Here's why I'm writing. My name is Robert Murray I am a resident of California but my problem lies in Texas with COMPAQ. I ordered a laptop computer, Presario 1500T from a local retailer BEST BUY about three and a half weeks ago. I purchased the notebook for 1850.00 under your new "CTO" program. My first run-in with COMPAQ was a phone call from someone in customer service explaining my order was going to be late. I picked up the notebook from BEST BUY about two weeks ago. The notebook worked fine for about 1 hour then it started to freeze up, eventually the notebook would not turn on at all. With under two hours of use the notebook was useless. I immediately contacted tech support at COMPAQ, I was put on hold for a very long time eventually the tech gets on the phone and asks me to hold down the power button. I guess this was his idea of tech support, things I have already tried? The end result after about 2 minutes of troubleshooting was to have it sent back ASAP for repairs, being the computer is not even 1 day old. The next day I send it AIRBORNE EXPRESS, keep in mind the computer is brand new not a scratch on it. Several days pass and I decide to give COMPAQ a call, after going thru the customer service shuffle speaking with a dozen people or so I get assigned to MARLYN STEWART he explains to me that the keyboard, screen, motherboard and case all have extensive heat damage. The cost for COMPAQ to fix my brand new laptop $1200.00. I explain to him that the notebook is hours old and it's obviously some sort of mechanical failure? He said he will investigate. I get a phone call the next day, they will not fix my laptop, period. It falls under accidental damage not covered by warranty. Knowing he is wrong and accusing me of leaving it in the sun or "by a fireplace" I get the number to the executive office. I speak with a customer relations manager STACY FRANCIOS. She appeared helpful at first explains since it has not been 14 days yet I could still take it back to BEST BUY for a return. They ship me my unit back, upon opening the box I find the laptop keyboard cracked missing about half the buttons, the case was warped, DVD/CDRW would not close I mean this laptop looked like it had been dropped off a building. I immediately call STACY FRACIOS at the executive office. She said the damage could of been caused by AIRBORNE? She said she will look at the photographs from the repair facility and get back to me. With the amount of damage and none of the keys in the box I found it hard to believe. So I take the laptop to BEST BUY, they will not take it due to extensive physical damage. I can't get a hold of STACY she is either out to lunch or busy? I get a call from MARLYN STEWART, who very rudly says the laptop came in partial to my desription, COMPAQ will charge me to fix the new damage on top of the $1200.00 from the initial damage.These people are no help to me. I am stuck with a broken mangled 1850.00 laptop that is less then a day old.
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Posted by Anonymous on 2002-08-28:
I must admit, I would have taken the unit straight back to the retailer!
Posted by Anonymous on 2002-09-16:
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Great Computer for the Price
Posted by Augustus2099 on 07/17/2011
I purchased this computer on July 4, 2011 at Walmart and basically it just what I need to do my school work in the semester it has wireless capability which I can go to any Wireless hotspot and search the Internet and Submit my work. I have Dial up and Home And probably will never have Broadband in my area. It only has 2 GB of memory which I will expand to 4 GB in the fall and a 250 GB hard drive and AMD Vision Dual Core Processor. On Broad band it is fast and even on dial up it is pretty fast. Just say no to the Norton's Anti-Virus Software and you won't have a problem.

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Posted by Anonymous on 2011-08-11:
Excellent review. I'm glad things worked out for you.
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Very good product
Posted by Sayjessejames on 01/22/2011
I would like to comment on your laptops, this is my second one. I bought one two years ago and I loved it, but having kids and well liquid messes, it shot the hard drive and the mother board. so I bought another one, because of your quality and support. I always recommend your product to others and they have been very happy also. your tech and support team are wonderful and very understanding with someone who is not computer savvy..they take their time and walk you through every step.

I can not say enough about your computers or your support team, thank you for providing a good quality product. I will continue to use and recommend your company and services.
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Compaq Presario Motherboard Fires after 2 years
Posted by Arperez on 11/06/2010
Our laptop motherboard has failed, as identified by a tech person who looked at it. We had it less than two years, and have found it surprisingly similar to the same problem in other HP laptops that were recalled, supported by our research and feedback from the tech person. The case officer offered to replace for more than half of the original cost of the laptop, which we find insulting.

Very disappointed with the equipment and with the company response.
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Posted by leet60 on 2010-11-06:
Unfortunately, this is not only a problem with Compaq laptops.

Laptops, by design are poorly ventilated and suffer from much higher internal temperatures than desktop computers.

This is complicated by the fact that the manufacturers place air vents on the bottom of the unit and then the unit is placed on a desk or lap impeding air flow. I have been puzzled for years why the manufacturers have not designed a laptop case with ventilation and a cooling fan on the top of the unit.
Posted by trmn8r on 2010-11-06:
leet60 -> Annoying air flow? Noise?

You make good points, but for some reason the only thing I CAN'T complain about with my Dell is the cooling system. The case stays at room temperature, and I only occasionally hear the fan. I use it on my lap.
Posted by leet60 on 2010-11-06:
@trmn8r. I agree the air flow and the noise of the cooling fan driving it could be annorying, however, the annoyance is little in comparison to the cost of replacing the motherboard or the laptop itself.

There are quiet cooling fans available for desktop PC's, I am not certain if so for laptops but it seems to be an engineering possibility.
Posted by arperez on 2010-11-07:
Thanks for all your comments, if only I had to deal with an annoying fan, I would be happy because at least I would have a laptop. It no longer turns on and is completely dead. A Dell may be where I need to look next. Thanks for your ideas.
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Compaq Warranty Service Designed to Get You to Buy Something Else
Posted by Hpe123 on 05/25/2010
I had some keys fall off my 7 month old Compaq laptop keyboard. Went through the warranty reporting India merry-go-round, paid $19.95 to ship my laptop in for warranty service. About a week later I got a call from a rude Compaq employee to tell me that the damage was caused by abuse and not covered under warranty and that I needed to pay over $335 to have them repair the keyboard. Laptop only cost about $400. What a great deal, what a joke.

I buy a lot of laptops for my business every year and Compaq/HP has just convinced me to buy Dell from now on. They will never get another nickel from me or my company and I will tell this story to all my friends and acquaintances. No more Compaq/HP laptops, printers, printer refills, no more anything. There is plenty of competition to pick from where you are not treated like a criminal for trying to get warranty service.
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Posted by MDSasquatch on 2010-05-25:
if you think Dell is any better, you may want to prepare yourself for more disappointment
Posted by PepperElf on 2010-05-25:
dude, if the computer still works, consider an external keyboard.

seriously. it's a lot cheaper.

might not be convenient, but cheaper.

i mean a wired usb keyboard sells for like... 11 bucks?

sure it might not be fun, might make it look like a kludge... but 11 bucks vs 300+?
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Hp, Compaq, Recovery Disks, Vista & the BSOD
Posted by AbsolutelySky on 02/16/2010
I've been trying to fix my Mom's computer for 2 weeks. It’s a Compaq 32 bit with Vista preinstalled. 4 Calls and 14 emails later, I have it finished finally. It's not just a problem with an update, it's a problem with the recovery discs as well. I paid for 1 set, they sent me a free set after that, never acknowledging there was a blue screen of death. I guess I just wasn’t asking the right questions, though I explained to them time and again that I had an installation stuck at the blue first time installation screen for hours, numerous times. Both sets of discs arrived between the 2nd and the 9th. I also downloaded there disc fix. No luck. Now I have XP Pro on it and its fine. There is NOT a problem with the 32 bit, unless it's a compatibility issue with 32 bit and Vista. They've known this for a long, long time. Years. Mom's computer is 2 to 3 years old, I bought an HP 64 bit with Vista loaded on it last year. All I can say at this point is Thanks Microsoft, and Thanks HP. For nothing!!! Oh and let’s not leave out customer support, but of course they are trained to first try to sell you things you don’t need. Second try to give you generic garbage as a solution to your problems. Third say it’s a hardware issue. Forth accuse me of NOT buying disks, then trying to sell me more. Guess it’s time to learn Linux. That’s real sad considering all computers come preloaded with all that garbage. My Mom couldn’t learn it and why should she? Good luck Windows 7 users! By the way is it just me or did I read this right…”Forum posts complaining about the problem mostly coming from XP users but there are a few from Windows 7 customers too.” Add Compaq and Vista, and recovery disks to that list. Goodbye Vista, hello Microsoft’s next fumble! I think I will go fill out my customer support survey now and take Mom back her computer.

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Posted by Anonymous on 2010-02-16:
Mom's computer may not be compatible for an upgrade. Hp is not to blame for that. Neither is Microsoft.
Posted by AbsolutelySky on 2010-02-16:
The computer was loaded with Vista. I wasn't trying to upgrade. Just do a recovery with recovery discs that I bought from HP.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-02-16:
OP, I misunderstood. Your mention of XP threw me off.
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Defect in the Computer
Posted by Nikstik06 on 08/26/2006
I am a 20 year old college student who purchased a Compaq Presario 2100 laptop in May of 2004, and after only a little more than 2 years it has completely stopped working. When I took the computer to circuit city to be diagnosed, the informed me that it had a faulty motherboard, which resulted in the computer no longer turning on. When I asked what would cause this kind of problem after only 2 years, the man told me that it is not a common problem and it is a defect in the computer, nothing something I did to it at all. This made me even more infuriated knowing that my computer is not working due to something Compaq did when manufacturing the computer. The man from Circuit City informed me that it would be quite costly to fix this problem, and may be wise to buy a new computer for a similar price. As a result, I called Compaq because just the thought of having to spend that much money on another computer made me sick. After waiting on hold forever, I was finally transferred to a woman who had a very thick accent in which I could hardly understand. Eventually I had to just get the case number and have someone else call back because I couldn't understand what she was saying anymore. At the next call, the woman became very snippy and irritated with the call. Even after telling her numerous times that the computer would not even turn on she still proceeded to try to get us to pay $45 to try to fix it over the phone. Eventually she told us that it would cost at least $650 to replace the motherboard and possibly more depending on what else they would find. I realize that my warranty is up because it was only for one year, but still this seems outrageous because it was something they did in the first place. For all I know this computer could have slowly started to die during the period my computer was covered, but just fully stopped working now. This is completely ridiculous, for all I know this Compaq could be manufacturing computers that only last for a couple years, in order to make more money. I am a college student who does not have extra money to buy another computer because Compaq is careless when manufacturing their computers, and ultimately I get screwed because of it. Compaq needs to acknowledge their mistakes and fix them. Its not like i'm asking them to fix a 3 or 4 year old computer, this is a 2 year old computer that should still be in perfect working condition. I have no idea where to go from here or who to contact, I feel like Compaq has left me high and dry. I have no idea what I am going to do for a computer for school this semester and feel its all because Compaq will not take responsibility for their actions. Please help a poor college student take on Compaq and make them take responsibility for their mistakes!
Thank You
Nicole Herrmann

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Posted by Anonymous on 2006-08-26:
The factory warrants these laptops for a year, because they know it should at least last that long. Consider yourself lucky you made it 2 years.

The extended warranty, which is expensive, is very close to covering the cost of a new motherboard. Hmmmm...

They know it's going to fail.

The circuit city salesman already knows it's a commom problem, he's just trying to get a new sell.

You are probably gonna have to buy a new laptop..recommend HP. I personally always use desktop custom-made...they get lots less of abuse.

Good luck!
Posted by Anonymous on 2006-08-26:
Yeah I gotta agree with your outrage, Nikstik. Sell as many as possible and clean up the within warranty messes later. I just expect that anymore. My previous laptop lasted all of 20 months. I replaced it with a wal-mart econo special I bought along with my frosted flakes and low fat yogert.. Heck, anymore it view it as a 40 dollar a month expense akin to the cable or phone bill. A view I'm sure not lost on the corporate bean counters and engineers.
Posted by *Brenda* on 2006-08-26:
Hmm I don't know if I would trust what someone at Circuit City said, especially if they were trying to get me to buy a new computer. A defect just showing up after 2 years of use (probably heavy use due to you being a student) doesn't seem realistic.
Posted by nanomarket on 2006-08-27:
I think you would be better off buying another laptop rather than replacing the mother board. Do not buy another Compaq or Hewlett Packard. The two companies merged about a year ago and are now producing the same computers. Also, do not buy a DELL. They have been loosing market share to HP because, among other reasons, their customer service is so lousy. Based on some reviews here and elsewhere, I am considering an IBM laptop. I realize that as a college student, you don't have much money, but a good, reliable computer can make a difference in your grades.
Posted by photoshootme on 2007-08-02:
I know what you mean. I'm having the exact same problem, and it's so frustrating. I don't want to buy another laptop for fear it will happen again. Maybe an Apple because it happened to my friend and they fixed it (well somewhat) it's still a little messed up. At least it turns on which is more then I can say for my notebook. I don't think it's right that I have to pay another 300-600 dollars to fix the motherboard. Ugh I will never buy from HP again.
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Compaq Presario Power Connector
Posted by Richardb42 on 04/21/2006
I bought this laptop new from CC about a year and a half ago and the power connector in the laptop cracked and busted off the mother board. I had to buy a whole new motherboard for this laptop because of the poor design of the power connector. I'll never buy another laptop with a barrel pin power connector. Dell laptops's have much better power connectors.
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Posted by viperpa33s on 2006-04-21:
You would only have a problem with the power connector if you abuse it. Laptops aren't made like tanks. If you take care of it, they can last you a long time. I own 1 laptop that's 4 years old and still works like a charm.
Posted by Sparticus on 2006-06-10:
Not always true Viper. Some laptops are made with cheap power plug ports that just aren't designed for long term use (few years). It is not a feature they focus on when spending money on good parts.
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