What do you do when your computer manufacturer announces a hardware recall? There are several steps you can take to find out the details and protect your data during the repair process.
Most major hardware recalls are announced by the manufacturer. That’s particularly true if the recall involves battery or power cord problems, because of the risk of fire or other damage. If your computer or other electronic device has a power problem, it’s critical that you have it repaired as soon as possible.
Recalls that pose extreme risks are usually publicized. But sometimes smaller-scale recalls of non-critical components are not as widely known. That’s why it’s a good idea to fill out the registration information when you buy your computer, so you can receive information about recalls for your specific model. You can also check your manufacturer’s support site to see if your computer is affected by a recall. Remember, recalls can affect smart phones, tablets, and other electronics too.
For example, there have been several notable recalls lately, including:
- Battery problems affecting certain MacBook models sold between September 2015 and February 2017. If you are affected, you should have your computer repaired immediately.
- Battery problems affecting certain HP laptops. Again, if you are affected, you should have your computer repaired immediately.
- The MacBook “butterfly keyboard” problem, which affects some MacBook models which use the butterfly keyboard mechanism. Symptoms include typed characters which may repeat themselves or fail to appear.
- The MacBook “Flexgate” problem, a screen flaw in which the cord connecting laptop to its display fails over time, leading to a “spotlight” effect on the screen.
Fixing a recalled computer may be free or low-cost, if your computer is under warranty or if you submit your claim within the specified timeframe. Don’t let cost or inconvenience stop you from having serious problems repaired, especially if the recall involves the physical risk of fire or other damage.
Repairing your computer, whether due to recalls or other hardware problems, can sometimes take days if not weeks. I recommend that you make multiple backups of your data before sending your computer in for repair. There’s always a risk of data loss when hardware repair is involved. Depending on the problem, they may have to reset your computer to factory default, or you might end up with a different computer entirely (although they should notify you if that is the case). I also recommend that you remove any private or sensitive information from your computer before you send it in.
Before you send in your computer, make note of the model and serial number (you will need this information to process the recall). Keep a log of all correspondence including dates, times, names of people to whom you spoke, any trouble ticket numbers, and a brief description of what was discussed. This will help you document the recall and repair process.
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