Faults in Toshiba drives cause rumours

Problems one or two users have had with hard drives on Toshiba notebooks are probably not indicative of a systematic fault, say the manufacturer and its agents.

Problems one or two users have had with hard drives on Toshiba notebooks are probably not indicative of a systematic fault, say the manufacturer and its agents.

Auckland company Information Specialists (Infospecs) had a run of faults last year in the 10GB drives on its Toshiba Tecra 8000s and a Satellite Pro.

This and rumoured similar difficulties involving an unnamed Wellington customer has led to speculation among users that a particular batch of the drives had a fault, but such reports are not borne out by hard evidence, say those in the supply chain.

“We get the occasional hard-disk failure, but we’re not having a run on any particular model,” says Toshiba’s New Zealand manager, Steve Ford.

Infospecs director Sallie Keegan says of two Tecra 8000 notebooks bought in late 1999, one had two hard-drive failures, in February and May 2000, while the other’s drive failed once, in April, and in August was replaced with a 12GB drive.

“The 10GB drive had not failed [on that occasion], but [distributor] Renaissance said there was a known problem with the 10GB drives and it would replace this one because of our previous problems,” Keegan initially told Computerworld.

However, Renaissance Toshiba products manager Chrissy Blundell says someone from her company was unlikely to have made such a remark. “If they did say that, it must have been an inexperienced support person.”

On reflection, Keegan says it may have been someone from the dealer, Easy PC, who mentioned the “known fault”.

Easy PC operations manager Bruce Hall is aware of rumours of “a problem with a particular batch of these drives”, but says they are not borne out by firm evidence.

“I am aware of [Infospecs’] position, but I’ve not heard of any other customer suffering in the same way. It may just have been really bad luck.”

Infospecs’ faulty drives were all replaced under warranty, but “sadly [Toshiba and its agents] do not reimburse us for the cost of reinstalling software, not even the OS, or restoring data and re-setting network and mail connections,” Keegan says. “At about $400 a time this amounts to around $2000 to date.”

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