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False SMART error due to Windows patch?


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#1 Atreies

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 04:08 PM

OK, so bit of a convoluted issue here that I want to clear up. I'm the type of person who if I don't 100% know every detail of a technology won't try to assume I know any part of it when challenged on my knowledge.

Had a PC come up to repair from another local business but the customer didn't care about the warranty he just wanted it done fast. On-site call at the customer's house showed a SMART error on the hard drive. PC was only 3 months old so I take the PC back to the shop and tell the customer he has a failing HDD. Find out that he is running an enterprise edition of Windows 7 with a Key pulled from the registry of all "B"'s. Call the customer up and tell him I can't reinstall Windows since I don't have a key that I can use and inform him that the copy of Windows he has is not the correct type that should be sold with a PC to a consumer. He calls up the place he bought it from and that place calls me directly trying to say that using a VLK Windows 7 Key is "OK" to do. Their customers get instructed at time of purchase that they will have to return to the place of purchase for any service....even to upgrade RAM. A warranty void sticker ensures this. Good business practice right? The owner from that shop actually called me up defending this practice and asking me if I knew what a VLK was.

Next the customer brings the PC back to the place of purchase and they again call me up insulting me saying that his HDD is fine and the smart error was easily resolved by turning the feature off in the bios and was caused by a windows update. They also recommend to the customer that he should ask me for his money back that he paid me for my trip to his house. Oh and also the PC had a PCI RAGE XL video card in it being used instead of the onboard Intel G41 graphics because "it supports a higher resolution". It was told to me that a Rage XL video card is actually a good card.


So.... sorry for wall of text but is any of this legal/possible, to my knowledge it is a massive load of horse.....but again I like to make sure before I act like I know something. Please I'd love to get some comments on this.

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#2 dpunisher

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 04:39 PM

"There are two type of SMART failures..
1) The most commonly known type are the passive "threshold" theoretical errors
that the BIOS tells you about once the drives parameters (temp, error rate,
rpms, etc) pass certain manufacturer pre-programmed thresholds (some times
you can trust.. some times they're worthless).. but it usually indicates that
there's some kind of problem.
2) The less common, real world read/write tests that you can manually tell the
drive to run and report back to you on. For this test, there is a short and
a long variety. The short test (usually less than 3 minutes) is around 93%
accurate in detecting non false positive errors.. and the long around 97%
(according to the author of smarttools)."

.....and that leads to my next question............What was the specific error you were getting? Was this error message present on the boot screen before Windows loaded?

I don't know of any Windows update that triggers S.M.A.R.T errors.

For fun, drop a dime on that computer shop with Microsoft. Microsoft would love to have a look see at what that shop is doing if they are indeed distributing VLK keys to multiple clients.

A PCI RAGE XL, in a modern system? Please.

So.... sorry for wall of text but is any of this legal/possible, to my knowledge it is a massive load of horse.....


This whole situation stinks, and I think "horse bleep" is a fair description.

EDIT: "bleep" was censored by the forum.

Edited by dpunisher, 22 March 2011 - 04:40 PM.

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#3 Atreies

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 09:07 PM

Yes the SMART error was immediatly following POST before the OS tried to load. I just can't believe the gall of this guy to call me up and try to justify any of his actions. Please more perspectives if anyone has the time. I am certainly going to call the customer up and make sure he knows that I was not the one lieing to him. The more ways I can say it to him the more likely he is to believe me. I'm even going to offer him his money back as long as he makes sure he has his data backed up....can you say imminant failure? I sleep at night with a clear conscience.

#4 Suicide King

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 09:45 PM

I don't understand why someone would just shut off SMART in the BIOS for a customer. Even if it was a failure on the part of the motherboard's ability to use SMART -- which is the only other possibility -- then the motherboard has a fault. Either the motherboard or the hard drive would need replacement, which still requires this "shop" to acknowledge there is a problem. The whole situation seems shady to me...

Edited by Suicide King, 22 March 2011 - 09:46 PM.


#5 Baltboy

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Posted 23 March 2011 - 08:48 AM

The whole SMART thing is shady. While the warning are not full proof I have yet to see a drive that did not fail within six months and most of them within a week or so. As far as the VLK goes it doesn't get more illegal than that. They are only for use inside if an organization and are still paid for on a per machine basis. Shops are suppoused to use the OEM version for distribution to customers. At a minimum I would warn the customer of both issues. As for the other shop well.........
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
Mark Twain

#6 Atreies

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 10:17 AM

At this point I have been counciled by a trusted friend that it is a small county I live in and and through personal experience a war with this company is not a good idea due to the nature of error in perspective and communication. So I'm leaving them alone for the time. I called the customer up and asked simply if everything was ok and he basically replied that it was fine for now but that he was very frustrated because he simply doesn't know how these things worked. He didn't express an malice towards myself so I told him if he wished for me to explain anything in greater detail I was always available since he was very busy at the time.

Hopefully the unsavory business will defeat themselves. Thanks for everyone's comments confirming the truth.

#7 caperjac

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 03:08 PM

So I'm leaving them alone for the time.

Hopefully the unsavory business will defeat themselves. Thanks for everyone's comments confirming the truth.

a wise decision ,but i also think you are right ,and they will eventually

My answers are my opinion only,usually





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