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Toshiba tech support really sucks

Published: 02/03/2008

I've had the fortunate experience of working in companies that over time has allowed me to get experience with almost all the major vendors who produce business-line laptops, including IBM / Lenovo, HP / Compaq, and Dell.

And then there's Toshiba.

I've worked with various models of Toshiba machines since the old Tecra 8000 series, all the way to the newer M(x) lines. Strictly from a hardware design perspective, I've never liked how their machines were put together. Something about them feels a bit cheap and a lot of times their driver support implementations enacts "retail end-user" conveniences such as automatic installs which masks the underlying install processes. I prefer having the choice of extracting all the individual files that make up a driver and saving that for later (for a manual installation through Device Manager and not via setup.exe). Of course, even with these automatic-install packages, I could just look into %tmp% for those files, but it's just another side-step that I'd have to deal with. Plus, I like having a lot of detailed, well-documented information about an updated driver version before I decide to use it.

Toshiba has slowly improved over the years, but I still think they could be better.

But the bad impression really hit me one day when I called their tech support to figure out an issue with Windows XP. This was several years ago so I don't remember the exact problem. When I got their first-line support, they asked me for the serial number of the unit in question. No problem, of course, since this is a standard query for any support validation so I provided them with that information. Then I explained my issue that I was experiencing on Windows XP. After a minute, they informed me that the specific machine I was referring to had been purchased with a Windows 2000 license, therefore the question would have to be regarding that platform.

Keep in mind that this was probably around 2005 and XP drivers were available for this machine.

When I pressed further about this, they explained that it was their policy to support only the specific operating system that the machine was originally purchased with, regardless of the availability of drivers for newer platforms for the same hardware model.

I've never experienced this from any other manufacturer. So that was that. I didn't even bother requesting escalation to the next level since I've dealt with equally incompetent support personnel and policy statements from them previously.

In other words, if I ever run my own IT shop, Toshiba will never be a consideration of mine. Period. I don't care for their hardware, their support mechanisms, and the caliber of their first-line support staff. Granted, any support organization's first-tier isn't going to be as efficient as I'd want, but I've never had to deal with such ridiculous support from any laptop manufacturer who caters to the enterprise.

Toshiba should stick to the consumer market and get out of the business market entirely. They're too incompetent to understand the needs of large corporate organizations.

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