Computer repair work is filtering in again now that quarantine has been relaxed a tad. However, I’m not going into customers’ houses and am combining it with my motorcycle courier service, so in many ways, it’s the best of both worlds. Naturally, I charge for this kind of premium door-to-door service. So it’s PC tech on wheels, so to speak.
A woman called me yesterday because she couldn’t copy some files from a DVD and needed my help. In fact, it wasn’t just any woman, but one of my wife’s clients of many years’ standing and I knew her to be reliable, in the sense that I wouldn’t have any trouble getting paid. One has to take such matters into consideration in these difficult times you know, so we quickly decided that I would give her the premium service which includes collection and delivery. It transpires that she needed to copy some security film of an apartment parking garage where an accident is alleged to have occurred involving an entering car and a woman pushing a stroller. Stay with me here because not even I was expecting this one.
After riding into the city and collecting the DVD, all the files were easily visible through my LG external DVD drive. I was specifically instructed to verify that each and every security video was accessible, bearing in mind that there were several hours of nothing happening in a view of an up-and-over garage door. I was also asked to buy two pen-drives and within a few minutes was able to copy all the videos over to each with no hitches at all and zoom back into the city having turned the job around in less than three hours, which I was quite chuffed about if I’m honest. But here’s the thing– as a rule, I never look at customer’s personal files, but if asked to verify, I have no choice and on this occasion, I found it a little tedious until I spotted the contents of the stroller. I was, naturally, expecting a gurgling baby to be sitting in it, but to my joyful surprise, I saw a West Highland Terrier languishing in the perambulator, seemingly perfectly accustomed to being wheeled about in such a fashion. It wouldn’t be ethical for me to go into further details, but the end result of a seemingly mundane job arrived with a cherry on top and so, for illustration purposes only…
A Lenovo Odyssey
This saga began in July when I was contacted by an American lady whose Lenovo Thinkpad P52S — a very high-end laptop — would not boot and just sat there with a UEFI Windows Boot Manager listing and nothing more. I soon discovered that it contained a 1TB Samsung NVMe, with nine months of international warranty left, a major bonus as far as I was concerned. I then submitted a Lenovo service ticket and a few days later jumped on my bike and left the Thinkpad with the service centre, confident that the issue would be fixed. The following week I was informed that the problem had indeed been fixed and so I rode back into town where the techies advised me that they had simply replaced the flex cable that connects the NVMe to the motherboard. In fact, we tested the machine before I left and it booted to Windows in seconds, just as it should do. Problem solved, or so I thought.
This customer was also receiving the premium service, so I delivered it back to her and she was delighted that the problem had been fixed. However, a couple of days later, the very same problem appeared and I would need to go through the entire process all over again. Meanwhile, she had moved from a house some thirty miles away to an apartment in town, which is much closer. Oddly enough, I had a gut feeling that this particular exercise was never going to go smoothly. So, for the second time, I returned to the service centre with the Thinkpad, and this time they replaced the plastic base, saying that it had been ‘impinging’ on the flex, which I didn’t believe for a moment. They also applied a Lenovo UEFI hotfix which they said had solved the problem. I didn’t believe that either, but the machine booted up just fine before I took it away. What was I supposed to do?
During the time I had the machine working in my workshop, I was able to test the NVMe with the Samsung SSD software suite and it reported no issues. I also considered buying another adaptor like the one I already have for M.2 SATA drives, but the cost is very high so I may well get one in the future.
Anyway, back to the Thinkpad and yes, you guessed it, the same problem appeared a couple of days later, I’ve submitted a third ticket and am due to take the machine to the Lenovo service centre on Friday for what I hope is the last time. In the meantime, I’ve been scouring Lenovo forums for anyone who has had the same issue as well as preparing the case for my Friday visit when I shall have to really put my foot down with a heavy hand. I will also be asking for a transcript of the hotfix because the link they provided was beyond my pay grade and I couldn’t access it. Hopefully, I’ll be able to provide a positive update in my next report, so please come back for all the gory details.
Catch up with all Marc’s terrific A Day In The Life Of A PC Technician series of articles.