BIOS confirms it: ThinkPad is dying

I turned my laptop on earlier to hear two beeps, followed by the insightful message ‘Fan error’, before my machine quickly shut off.
Thankful of my most recent backup, I safely stored the SD card I backed up onto in an Altoids tin in my desk and wrote ‘Backup’ on the lid with a Sharpie. No kidding.
I scrambled for my cellphone, grabbed my wife’s laptop and found the support number for Lenovo, hoping someone out there would take pity on me and quickly sell me a new fan. After less than a minute on hold, and with no annoying menus to jump through save for pressing 1 to confirm I really did have a laptop and wasn’t calling to tell them my AS/400 was on fire, I got through to a real-life-person, who helped me locate the serial number in my BIOS, took my name, address and phone number and offered me the option of going to a Lenovo service center, or having them collect my laptop for repair. I didn’t really want either — I didn’t want some Windows dude fiddling with my machine and I certainly didn’t want to send it away — knowing that we have a hardworking sysadmin at work who must have taken apart dozens of ThinkPads during his time there, and another who used to work for IBM and has the very same ThinkPad that I do, I asked the guy if they would be able to send me the fan instead… “Sure!” he said, and went off to check out how they’d do that… he came back a few moments
later with “Actually, that laptop looks like it has two fans… We’ll send both of them to you, just send us your broken one and the unused one back when you’re done…” — he even set up and extended my warranty for me, enquired when I’d moved to the US and asked how I was enjoying it — all this from a serial number!
So yeah. Lenovo. Wow. Shame they still don’t sell a laptop running GNU/Linux — it looks like they sold one with SuSE for a while, but that appears to have gone away too. Still, there are people like Los Alamos Computers who will sell you one with gNewSense preinstalled these days, so if I do ever get around to replacing this one, I know what I’ll be getting.

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2 comments

  1. Shred · January 23, 2009

    At least here in Germany, you can give your Windows license back to Lenovo for a (small) refund. OK, you’re still giving some money to M$, but it’s better than nothing.

  2. Jon Pritchard · January 23, 2009

    That’s why I always buy Thinkpads: the warranty.
    There’s also such a wealth of knowledge about the hardware and the software alike that I’m reassured that even if I was out of warranty I’d be able to fix it somehow.
    I’m glad it all worked out for you.

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