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Thread: Does removing a laptop hard drive invalidate the warranty?

  1. #1
    Regular Member RSV_Ecosse's Avatar
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    Default Does removing a laptop hard drive invalidate the warranty?

    In a bit of dilema here.

    Friend has a 2 month old HP DV2500 laptop that has went kaput.

    I've ran a series of test on it using Hirens BootCD and MinePEXT discs and it looks like there is a problem with the hard drive itself.

    I've tried recovering some much needed data from the laptop for her, but when you use a PE ( Pre Environment ) CD it appears to only give you the option to transfer data to 3 drives:-

    "A:" I have no idea what drive this is.

    "C:" Upon looking into the drive itself, this appears to be the BootCD itself.

    "R:" I'm assuming is some sort of "Ramdrive".

    The problem being is that under a Pre Environment setup, like DOS, USB and Firewire connections appear to be not supported.

    So, how are you supposed to recover the required files and to what destination/media?. What am I meant to connect up to the PC to remove the files?.

    This is really frustrating as we can see the files needed right in front of us but can not work out how to get them off the faulty hard drive to somewhere else!!!.

    So the last resort would be to remove the laptop hard drive and fit it into a USB enclosure, hook it up to another PC and work on recovery from there.

    However I'm concerned this will invalidate the HP warranty?.

    A fella on another forum suggested that RAM and HDD's in laptops can be removed for upgrades etc, and not invalidate the warranty. But I'm really not so sure. Its an expensive laptop and I would hate to think I remove the drive and recover her files only to find that HP will subsequently refuse to honor any warranty on it because of this.

    The reasons we are thinking about this is because whilst she was on the phone to HP, they gave the impression that they were either not interested in recovering any of her data and then supplying a new hard drive or that it would be a seriously expensive option to recover the data. They of course, would say that, but I have the means to view the files here and I'm sure I could recover the data if I whipped the drive out to do so.

    So as you see, a bit of a dilema.

    She uses the laptop for her business and there are a load of files on it she really cant afford to lose. And yeah, I did mention backing up important files, but you know how some people are!!!.

    So what do you reckon?. The hard drive, once you open the cover up, has a small rectangular sticker on it with no wrting or warnings on it but it is joined between the base of the laptop and the drive itself. I reckon I could carefully peel it back and remove, then refit and it would not look untoward.

    But as I said, not sure on how HP would view this.

    Anyone any experience of warranties and drive removal?.

  2. #2
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    All a warranty engineer will do is remove it and slave it if that's part of the warranty. Then recover any data matey. Most warranties don't cover recovering any data however. So removing it yourself and recovering any data shouldn't invalidate any warranty.

    What a decent engineer will do is check the serial number on the drive to make sure it's not from a different system. He/she won't be bothered if the drive's been removed previously or not.

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    Regular Member cameraman's Avatar
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    I'd stick it in a USB enclosure & see what you can salvage from there, I bought one off e-bay a couple of weeks back for 1p (£4.30 delivered) works a treat.

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    Regular Member RSV_Ecosse's Avatar
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    Default

    Cheers, AJA.

    As I said, I just did not want to chance removing it just in case.

    I'll get her to ask on the phone if they are bothered about her removing the drive to have data recovered from it before sending the whole laptop back for replacement. See what they say then, before I decide to take it out and grab her data.

    Should not be difficult to do so if its in a USB caddy and out of the laptop, but whilst its still inside the laptop itself, it appears impossible to do so.

    It was just that wee silver sticker on the thing that made me think twice about removing the thing.

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    Ex Vec-C Admin ed taylor's Avatar
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    I would say only if they found out it had been tampered with.

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    [Ex]Admin Duncan's Avatar
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    Is the drive on the laptop not something like this?.......



    ..where you remove a cover on the laptop and lift the hard drive out and disconnect the cable, allowing you to then just plug it into another computer.

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    Regular Member JuzzyD's Avatar
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    HP won't offer to recover any data due to liabilities etc. I'd take the drive out (take care not to bend/damage any adaptor frame its sat it, they can be funny about that sort of thing), see if you can recover anything (good luck if its one of the new Seagate one's - think Maxtor!) and either stick it back in and send the laptop in for repair or (what I would do) see if you can just send the drive back for direct replacement and in the meantime buy a WD drive and reload the laptop (I assume that she has burnt the recovery disks? If not then she may have to buy them from HP...) to minimise downtime. When the replacement drive arrives just keep it as a spare.

    If the drive can't be seen by the PXE and then plays up in a caddy I would say she's lost the data. File recovery by a company like Vogon will cost about £300 just for them to confirm if they can recover anything, then they will charge per gb recovered. I've yet to see any truly successful recovery this method though.

    EDIT: Re Duncan's photo above, all the HP's I've seen have a kind of slide in caddy that the drive has to be removed from before you can get to the connector

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    Regular Member RSV_Ecosse's Avatar
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    Yes Dunc, it is.

    Problem being when you remove the cover, there is a silver metallic sticker attached to the drive body itself and also the chassis of the laptop. It would need to be peeled off a little to facilitate removal of the drive and to me, it looks like some sort of security seal so they can tell if you have taken it out or not.

    The girl who has asked me to attempt to recover her data is my best mates wife, but to be honest, I really didnt want to chance blowing just under a grand of laptop if HP refuse to honour the warranty because I had removed the laptop drive, hence my concern.

    I'm getting her to clarify with HP when she calls tomorrow, if it would be ok with them for the drive to be removed prior to it being sent back, in order to facilitate data recovery.

    I cant see a problem with it, but you just dunno how large corporates like HP will react.

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    Regular Member RSV_Ecosse's Avatar
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    And here's a strange thing too.

    Initially, I used the current version of MiniPE XT to attempt data recovery.

    None of the data recovery progs on there would detect the laptop physical drive that had the files on it I needed to grab.

    They all detected the USB drives I had plugged in ready to transfer the files to, but not the main lappy drive that I needed to delve into.

    So I booted up with Hirens BootCD, a reasonably older version and used Ontrack Data Recovery to search for the files.

    It was the only one that actually found the drive and allowed me to browse for the files. Yet going back to my first post in this thread, it only showed up 3 drives to transfer to, A, C and R. It blankly refused to detect any USB drives attached to the laptop.

    Whats that all about?. Its why I havent managed to recover the files needed from the laptop so far, with the drive still in situ in a PE environment.

    Running a data recovery prog in Windows itself on another PC with the drive attached to it out of the laptop would give me a few more powerful options but as previous, did not want to remove the thing just in case.

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    Regular Member JuzzyD's Avatar
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    Just a thought - have you tried a Linux live distribution disk? (something like Knoppix?) You may be able to boot from the Linux disk, mount an external HDD and copy files across assuming the linux distro can read NTFS partitions.

    Or, and another option, you may be able to take a full disk image of the drive and hence use something like R-Studio to recover the files.

    Anyway, what problem is the laptop having? Is it just Windows thats corrupt?

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