I'm taking the time to post this, not to whine, but to raise the awareness level of how vendors, in this case, Toshiba, could take simple steps to create satisfied customers. (Of course that supposes that vendors read blogs to find out what their customers and people who recommend their products have to say.) Perhaps Lora, Warner, JK, Rob, or Marc will make some noise about this and kick this into the mainstream. [Hint.] If Toshiba (or any vendor wants to talk with me, I would be happy to receive your call. You know where to find me.)
Summary of my call to Toshiba Tech Support.
I decided to call Toshiba Support today; I wanted to learn how they would assist me with my problem. I called 800-457-7777 just after 4:00 PM, PST. I pressed 1 for English, and 3 for tech support. I was quickly connected to Amir in tech Support. That's probably the shortest hold time I've encountered anywhere. Amir politely informed me that he was familiar with my problem (a corrupt file in Windows) and that what I needed was the Retail Version of Windows XP with which to run the console recovery program. I informed Amir that I understood this and that was the purpose of my call - to get the retail disks so that I could fix my system. Amir explained that Toshiba does not sell the retail version of Windows XP and that my only option (other than reformatting my system from scratch using my self-created product recovery CDs) is to go and purchase a retail version of Windows XP PRO, Tablet Edition. I explained to Amir that the Tablet PC version of Windows XP is only available to OEMs, like Toshiba and Fujitsu and that it is unavailable for retail purchase. Amir put me on hold for a few minutes and returned to explain that since the Tablet PC and Media Center are add-on editions to standard XP, I could probably put one of those disks in my system and run rconsole from there. Amir apologized for the fact that there is no way to extract the file that I need from the recovery CDs. (OK, I know how I'll fix this, and I'll get it done quickly, but I won't be publishing it on my blog.)
I decided to push my luck and see if I could eradicate the spamware and UFOs from my Tablet PC
While I had Toshiba Support on the line, I decided to ask about two other nagging problems: the UFO under my screen and my desire for a new set of recovery disks sans Toshiba-provided spamware.
I was pleased to learn that laptop is fully covered for the dust problem - the extended warranty will cover dispatching a technician to fix my M4 screen. I'll arrange to do this sometime, soon. (I did not deal with this sooner because I did not want to give up my tablet.)
As far as the spamware, I was not as pleased with the answer. I was told that the "free bonus software" is included on all Toshiba product recovery CDs. I explained that Michael Sampson has an international version that did not come with the free spamware. I explained that if I have to reload, I did not want to invest half a day removing what Warner Crocker calls ... Oh, nevermind. There's no getting around spamware; too bad.
In short, Toshiba Tech Support was fast and courteous and completely unable to assist me with the two problems that were most important to me.
OK, time to drop this for today. I've got much more important work to do than whine about my M4. I still like the Tablet and I will continue to work with the M4 in order to find the ideal solution for my clients.
Meanwhile, it's back to paper while I reload or repair the M4.
Fortunately, pencils are inexpensive and plentiful.
(* Marc, TCFDTLAIDBWFS means Tablet Customer Frustration Due to Lack of Adequate Install Disks But With Free Spamware. No, I can't pronounce it.)