Real Life Tech Support Story: Part 1 of 2

**  When experiencing multiple problems at one time — it’s critical to take a moment to think about the following.   Are both of my problems related or are they entirely separate?   It’s also fine to ask yourself am I just imagining things?  You’re not crazy.   Simply stated, the two issues I was having were 1)  slowness and apparent overheating from my MacBook (my primary computer) and 2)  internet connectivity issues.  Audio and video would start and stop or about every 3rd or 4th website that I loaded would not open.  I really thought they were interrelated.  However, one factored caused me to firmly believe that they were distinct problems:   ALL OF OUR COMPUTERS WERE HAVING INTERNET CONNECTIVITY ISSUES.

1)  Problems with the MacBook….
There is a reason why I only recommend the MacBooks, Lenovo T series, or Dell Latitude E64xx / 65xx series.  When problems arise and the customer has a valid warranty — these companies stand behind their products!!   Does this mean I won’t help a customer who has a different laptop?  No of course not.  However, if you say to me — I’m going to buy what you recommend –then  those are the 3 product lines I would steer you toward.  It should be noted that the Dell Latitudes come with the a 3 year warranty standard, but on the Lenovo and MacBook models the 3 year warranty requires you to purchase an upgrade — an upgrade that is well worth it.   On the Dell and Lenovo laptops — their warranties — offer you the option of sending a technician to you.  The MacBook’s warranty (known as Apple Care) – requires you to bring the computer to an Apple Store or authorized service center.   If you had a full sized desktop, like a big tower, I’m not totally sure an extended warranty is necessary.  For specialty desktops like the iMac, the Mac Mini, and all laptops that you expect to get 3 to 4 years out of please buy the appropriate manufacturer warranty (not 3rd party) with onsite or local service.     Why?   Laptops have little parts.  These parts may be soldered on inside and may not be something that I could easily replace for you.   Failure of one of these parts may require the entire motherboard to be replaced which could cost $500 or  more!!   However, your warranty would cover that.   Hardware issues I deal with on laptops (especially out of warranty and abused  laptops) include hard drive upgrades / replacements, memory upgrades / replacements, many keyboard replacements, and most battery replacements.  I also deal with software issues on laptops, which typically ARE NOT covered by the warranty.

You should be aware that Apple as well as Lenovo, Dell, and others include some type of hardware testing tools with their laptops (and probably desktops as well).   These tools may come in the form of a CD or software already installed on your computer.  Apple’s included tools are called Apple Hardware Test.     I ran these tests and came up with two error codes.  Apple doesn’t give an explanation of the codes, however I was able to figure our the general nature of the codes by doing a Google search.  They were related to FAILING TEMPERATURE SENSORS.  People who had similar problems were advised on various websites to bring their laptops in for repair.

I felt confident because I bought this laptop in April 2010 and DID get the 3 year AppleCare warranty.  Upon doing just some basic tests on my computer, the Apple Store technician found out something that suspected but was not the cause of my problems.  — I had a failing battery.  Laptop batteries are NOT cheap.  They typically cost $100 or more.  Apple’s extended warranty will cover the battery, with Dell and Lenovo I believe you need to purchase additional coverage for this.  I saved $168 by having my warranty.  Unlike many other laptops, Apple’s batteries are NOT user replaceable.   The technician could not diagnose the temperature sensor issues on the fly, but he said their technicians would run an extensive hardware test 3x and replace whatever needed replacing.   All of these repairs would be covered.  It may take them 24 hours (or possibly longer) to finish this but I left being a VERY happy customer.