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Topic # 171952 6-May-2015 18:21
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Called to support a brand new client who was not getting the response they needed from their current support company.  Reception PC (which acts as a file server for other network computers) takes an hour to start - basically unusable even then.  Client unable to install our remote diagnostic utility.  Hard drive failing was near the top of a short list of possible causes.

Had a look at the 18 month old machine - a Dell business slim desktop (SFF not USDT size).  Went into BIOS.  Once again, I find that SMART is deliberately disabled by the computer manufacturer.  Have seen this before from Dell - many times in the last 4 years - on machines clients have purchased themselves.

Ran the onboard diagnostics and these confirmed a faulty hard drive.

Checked 3 identical machines in the office - SMART also turned off on these machines.  Explained this to the company owner.

The only conclusion I have been able to come to in the past, and reinforced again today, is that Dell would rather their clients lose data than get warnings about a failing hard drive during the warranty period.  If the warnings were enabled, clients might lodge a warranty claim which costs Dell money.  With the alerts turned off, they are likely hoping that the drive may be indicating that it is about to fail (but the BIOS is not listening) but does not actually fail until the machine is out of warranty, at which time they could charge for the repair.  Unfortunately for the client, the data on their drive is likely to be unrecoverable (and they may not have sufficient backups).

You would need rocks in your head to buy a computer from a company who is going out of their way to create a circumstance in which their clients can lose data.






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  Reply # 1299330 6-May-2015 18:32
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The Data is not Dells responsibility, The business should have backups

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  Reply # 1299333 6-May-2015 18:47
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Windows tells you when there are smart errors anyway IME.




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  Reply # 1299334 6-May-2015 18:48
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Yes any computer owner should have backups.  You and I both know this is not always done by all businesses or consumers, and backups are rarely completed every hour of the day.  A computer giving SMART warnings eliminates the potential for data loss in many circumstances because a repair can be done before a drive failure.

Dell are deliberately hiding from their warranty responsibilities and significantly increasing the likelihood of data loss.




"4 wheels move the body.  2 wheels move the soul."

“Don't believe anything you read on the net. Except this. Well, including this, I suppose.” Douglas Adams



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  Reply # 1299336 6-May-2015 18:53
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richms: Windows tells you when there are smart errors anyway IME.

My 18 years of commercial desktop IT experience disagrees with you.  SMART has of course only been common in hard drives for the last 8 (?) years or so.




"4 wheels move the body.  2 wheels move the soul."

“Don't believe anything you read on the net. Except this. Well, including this, I suppose.” Douglas Adams

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  Reply # 1299338 6-May-2015 18:58
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Dynamic:
richms: Windows tells you when there are smart errors anyway IME.

My 18 years of commercial desktop IT experience disagrees with you.  SMART has of course only been common in hard drives for the last 8 (?) years or so.


My downloading machine pops up a warning shortly after boot if I have the duff drive connected, telling me that stuffs at risk and to back it up and offering to launch windows backup. Might be part of the intel drivers or something but its a pretty stock 7 professional installation with just all the intel motherboard guff installed.




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  Reply # 1299342 6-May-2015 19:06
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richms: My downloading machine pops up a warning shortly after boot if I have the duff drive connected, telling me that stuffs at risk and to back it up and offering to launch windows backup. Might be part of the intel drivers or something but its a pretty stock 7 professional installation with just all the intel motherboard guff installed.

Yes the Intel motherboards and their AHCI drivers and utilities are pretty good for that.  This is unfortunately the exception and not the rule.




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  Reply # 1299343 6-May-2015 19:09
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Actually that drive was on an aweful silicon image PCIe card not the onboard so thats another point of where it came from, but I have had the same or similar dialog appear on a crappy laptop with a spinning rust drive as well. That one it was obvious it was dying because it took about 10 mins to boot to the login screen and another 5 after that.




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  Reply # 1299345 6-May-2015 19:09
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Dynamic: Dell are deliberately hiding from their warranty responsibilities and significantly increasing the likelihood of data loss.


"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."







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  Reply # 1299346 6-May-2015 19:12
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freitasm:
Dynamic: Dell are deliberately hiding from their warranty responsibilities and significantly increasing the likelihood of data loss.


"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

I've always liked that quote.  In this case, my experience indicates it is the former.




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  Reply # 1299355 6-May-2015 19:25
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freitasm:
Dynamic: Dell are deliberately hiding from their warranty responsibilities and significantly increasing the likelihood of data loss.


"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."



I'd agree with almost every other company but my extensive experience with Dell suggests both could apply and usually does.

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  Reply # 1299356 6-May-2015 19:27
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Stupidity for sure.

They are top of my s..t list for the fiasco over the computer order that they decided to cancel and refund to me all at the same time the social media people were telling me was on its way and would be delivered soon.




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  Reply # 1299368 6-May-2015 19:46
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I've seen this across multiple series of Dell machines for 4+ years.  It's not stupidity.  It's policy.

I've also seen it with local computer assemblers aiming to avoid warranty claims.  Motherboards I know come with the defaults of SMART checking enabled but when the same motherboard has gone into a locally assembled computer and then delivered to and end user, the SMART checking is disabled.  Reset the BIOS to defaults and the SMART check is re-enabled.




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  Reply # 1299561 7-May-2015 00:02
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Dynamic:

You may well be 100% right - but personally I would not be quick to make that judgement without fully understanding the reasons for that decision.

I'm not going to pick either way in this argument without knowing more but here's some background:

SMART has been around a lot longer than 8 years. IIRC and IME during its progress once or twice it has suffered from issues itself.

+there is actual hdd failure and predicted x probability of hdd failure and these are two different things.

(& http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.M.A.R.T.)

Don't take this a defence of Dell - it is not, but there might be just a little more to understand about reasons for this decision and if they are valid reasons (or not).

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  Reply # 1299614 7-May-2015 08:02
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richms: Stupidity for sure.

They are top of my s..t list for the fiasco over the computer order that they decided to cancel and refund to me all at the same time the social media people were telling me was on its way and would be delivered soon.


They are certainly up there on my faecal list, right behind a certain ISP and courier company, for sending a sub-standard refurbished part to replace a DOA part, taking a week to do so when the product had an overnight replacement warranty, and then a further two months to get a refund to me.

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  Reply # 1299673 7-May-2015 09:16
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Being a business slim desktop I wouldn't expect that any data should be held on it and maybe this is Dells reasoning for not enabling SMART? Its not a server and as a business machine you could reasonably expect it to be connecting to a server for critical files etc.

I would hope that you have either sold them a server with some form of drive redundancy or moved all of their data to a cloud service and informed them that desktops are not for storing critical data.




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