Tecra M4 Repair Adventure Begins - Day One

Wednesday, June 21st, 2006
I would normally not blog about this, but I continue to receive emails and blog inquiries, asking about the status of my Tecra M4 repair and my experience with Toshiba Technical support. You may recall that I recently became an unhappy Tablet PC user. The truth is that, up until today, I've done nothing about it, other than to copy my mission critical data to a Thinkpad so I can continue working. For me, the idea of calling overseas support ranks right up there with a root canal. To me, calling for my own computer repair is even worse, because it means unproductive and unbillable time. Most of my blog readers will probably want to skip over this post. For those, who are passionate about Tablet PC's or Toshiba (or both), you can follow my support call ...
DAY ONE: June 21, 2006
Today, is the first day that I've both had the time and have been willing to approach Toshiba to get my Tecra M4 repaired. I made a list of the six problems and called Toshiba Technical support to arrange for the repair of my Tecra M4. I was pleased that the wait time on hold was minimal. I first spoke with Zi, and I informed him that just that they would be recording my call for "quality assurance purposes," I too, was recording this call for the same purpose. He was fine with this, and listened as I carefully reported all of the problems that I wanted repaired (see below). After 30 minutes, I had a case number and at 45 minutes I was transferred to a level one tech support specialist. (Somehow, I thought that Zi was a level one specialist, but I guess I was wrong. He must have been level zero.) In any case, I next spoke with Miss Dawn.

I'm  not sure Miss Dawn what to say when I informed her that I was recording the call for quality assurances purposes, but we went through the review of the problems. We agreed that the unit needed to be sent in for repair and I explained that I need the unit back as soon as possible and that I did not want to send it to an "Authorized repair center," preferring to send it directly to the capable and parts-equipped folks at Toshiba. Dawn agreed. For the most part the call went well, until I happened to mention that I did not want to send in my hard drive with my sensitive corporate data on it. She insisted that the drive must be sent in and told me that nothing would be done to the drive and that it would be safe and that I could trust my data to the technicians ; they do not look at private data. Further, she said that it was essential that they have the drive because if they replace the motherboard - which they probably would - the hard drive would not work without a new drive image. I will skip the obvious contradiction and tell you that we spent another 30 minutes of discussion, during which she had to go to several managers for advice.

Reluctantly, we both agreed that I would "wipe" the drive using drive erase software and that she would have them deploy a fresh image from the factory. (Can anyone say spamware all over again?) It appears I have no choice, if I want to get my unit fixed. After a lengthy discussion about getting a set of recovery CD's - just in case they would not restore the image, I agreed to simply take my chances and accept the assurances of Miss Dawn.

I could blog more,  but I'm frustrated and I'm sure I will have more reasons to do so in the coming days.

Here's where I left things.

1. I will erase (bit-wipe) my hard drive and remove the battery pack
2. Toshiba will send me a box, which I should receive tomorrow; I will use this box to return the computer to them.
3. They will repair the unit in 5-7 business days.
4. Should I have any questions or concerns, I'm welcome to call their support department with my service order #
5. When I receive the unit back, I can then reinstall all of my applications (not a problem - just another 10-16 hours)

So, if all goes well, I should be YABHTU in about 10 days - just in time to bring the M4 to my next client presentation.

If I can truly get the Tablet PC back in 10-12 days, I will be reasonably pleased and I will be happy to share this positive experience with my corporate clients. If I don't get it back in 10-12 days, I will also share my experience with my corporate clients.

Here's to hoping that all goes well and to becoming YABHTU again!


P.S. If you are curious about the details, I've attached the cover letter that I will include with my M4 Tablet PC, along with photographs of the screen problems. 20060621 - Toshiba Tecra M4 Repair Letter.pdf

Discussion/Comments (29):

Tecra M4 Repair Adventure Begins - Day One

I had upgraded the hard drive in my M200 and still have the old one laying around as a backup drive. If I was going to send mine in, I think I would wipe the backup drive clean and send that one.

Do you happen to have a drive laying around that you could use. It might be worth purchasing one. Afterwards you could use it as a portable backup drive.

-- Cary

Posted at 06/21/2006 16:49:07 by Cary

Tecra M4 Repair Adventure Begins - Day One

Thanks, Cory.

When the tech support rep stated that my data would be fine but that they might reformat my hard drive, if needed, I knew that I needed to take drastic steps.

I have a clone of the system. I would have preferred, however, not to have sent in my hard drive. After an hour and a half with support, I decided that it was not worth arguing about it. Hopefully, I'll see my tablet soon.

Posted at 06/21/2006 17:00:54 by Eric Mack

Tecra M4 Repair Adventure Begins - Day One

If you have contacts that I can have I would appreciate it.

I have posted to your prior report about being unhappy about my case. I've had my notebook sent in 3 times now to be unsuccessfully repaired 3 times. Each time the notebook returns broken, either having the same problems, new problems, or a combination of both. I can't get through to anyone successfully in customer support or customer relations; I keep getting passed to someone else, or put on hold endlessly and hung up on. I can't keep going on these huge phone calls on my cell phone (since I am at work during the time their office is open) and I am feeling extremely frustrated because I am out of a computer suitable to do the work I need to do and frustrated because I supposedly paid to be run around like this.

Posted at 06/21/2006 17:10:25 by Sean

Tecra M4 Repair Adventure Begins - Day One

Was imaging the drive not an option for you? Considering that the work done was replacing components with the same parts, I would think that imaging the machine to an external drive (I recommend Acronis TrueImage (www.acronis.com) for this) and restoring the image when you get the machine back would save several hours of work.

Posted at 07/05/2006 20:51:52 by Chris Magnusson

Tecra M4 Repair Adventure Begins - Day One

I just bought a Toshiba laptop and their customer service is a joke.


Posted at 08/09/2006 5:33:40 by Bob Griffith

Tecra M4 Repair Adventure Begins - Day One

I just found this blog and was amazed!!!

I haven't been able to use my Toshiba M4 since I bought it over two months ago because it has gone back for a 3rd time to be repaired. Each time it comes back worse then I sent it. Toshiba support website has hundreds of patches and fixes for this unit and no help as to what each one does so their customers have to spend two days installing all of them. I have found many other people on the Internet complaining about this M4 model as well. Toshiba has created a lemon with this one combined with terrible support.

Posted at 08/19/2006 12:01:26 by Dave

Tecra M4 Repair Adventure Begins - Day One

I am very sad for those of you who, like me, have bought a tecra with thier *amazing* tech support.

I bought one. 2 weeks later it broke: the graphics card overheated. I sent it back to be returned after I was informed it would take until late September to fix the part [it was the whole motherboard]. They said I'd get it in time for the start of classes here at college. It is 3 days into classes, and I have recently been informed they have discontinued the Tecra and are giving me a 'better' computer. I paid $3500 ... NOT so my computer would break within 2 weeks. Probably so I could use it.

If they give me something like a *brand new tecra m5! geforce 7900! 4 gigs of ram!* I'll be ... still angry, but at least, they'll have kept thier promise this time. However, as I am a gamer, I'm worried they'll send me a Satellite without the graphics card ... hadn't seen this blog until it was too "late" to get a refund.

I wonder if silent prayer will fix the customer service?

Posted at 08/23/2006 11:50:02 by Sam

I wonder of Toshiba has anyone reading blogs?

They are missing a great opportunity to hear from their customers.

As for me, I never intended to become a host for Toshiba support issues. Like so many who have shared their experiences, I simply want my Tablet back.

Posted at 08/23/2006 11:53:21 by Eric Mack

Tecra M4 Repair Adventure Begins - Day One

It appears that Toshiba has phased the Tecra M4 completely out, instead offering the Tecra M7, which will either fix problems or introduce new ones.

I'm hoping it fixes them, because they're giving me an M7 instead of an M4. Only time will tell ...

Posted at 08/23/2006 16:43:52 by Sam

Tecra M4 Repair Adventure Begins - Day One

My Tecra M4 died on my today. Three more days and it would have been a year old. Fortunately, I bought mine in the UK, and got a three year warranty on parts and labour, so I'll just get it fixed.

For the record, mine has been without problems from day 1 and until now. A little noisy perhaps, but anyone that has used a PowerBook or iBook, let alone the Apple desktops wouldn't complain :)

I know I'm waking a ghost thread, but how did your experience with Toshiba support go ? ( I have to take mine to an authorized repair center since we don't have a real Toshiba center on this godforsaken rock in the middle of the arctic ocean :-/ )

Posted at 11/18/2006 16:10:16 by Þór Sigurðsson

Tecra M4 Repair Adventure Begins - Day One

Sorry for waking the ghost :)

I saw your other post on how quickly you got the tablet back.

Thanks for keeping us informed :-D

Posted at 11/18/2006 16:34:55 by Þór Sigurðsson

re: Tecra M4 Repair Adventure Begins - Day One

I ultimately got my M4 repaired and I'm pleased with it. The greater challenge, for me, was communicating with Toshiba Support and their "standard answers to unrelated questions."

My Tecra M4 works well now. As a side note, I have since been in correspondence with Toshiba. I've asked them to consider responding to some of the users who have posted their problems. I don't want this personal blog to become a Toshiba support blog, but I would like to find some help for frustrated Toshiba cutomers that have posted here. - Eric

Posted at 11/20/2006 22:58:59 by Eric Mack

Tecra M4 Repair Adventure Begins - Day One

I think you all are not alone. We have a problem with Toshiba customer service from the begining ... well actually with the whole toshiba "buy online" service - which just does not work. Lucky for us our laptops still do work ... !!!

And lucky for you Eric - you have managed to work your way out from the customer service hell, which I did not and my last order from toshiba (which was just carry case for £35) ended up to cost twice as much and I still do not have the case.... :-( ...

Posted at 12/05/2006 3:43:38 by zuzana

re: Tecra M4 Repair Adventure Begins - Day One

Indeed. I continue to receive complaints via blog and email weekly. I plan to make a final post on this topic and close this thread.

Here's a new blog where you can register your Toshiba Complaints: http://bad-toshiba.blogspot.com/

Apparently, a complaint filed with the Better Business Bureau seems to have pull.

Good luck!

Posted at 12/06/2006 16:14:51 by Eric Mack

Tecra M4 Repair Adventure Begins - Day One

I bought my tecra m4 last year, 12/6/05, but now the LCD screen went blackout after overheat problem, 3 days ago. I have no idea but 3 days ago, while using my tecra m4 to study for my solid-state physic final exam, the temperature went up pretty quick high, so I shut it down right away. Afterward, when I turn it on, it last around 30 minutes or less, then the LCD screen went blackout and the fan starts to spin fast. Today, when I turn it on, the LCD screen is blackout at all time while the fan spin at vary speed (up and down)and the power-on LED is on. I just have to force it to shutdown.

Thank you to all of you posted here, I have a lot of hints from you guys. Now, since my final week over, I will call toshiba support right away and let see how it go.

Posted at 12/08/2006 23:35:51 by Pheng

Tecra M4 Repair Adventure Begins - Day One

Hi again,

Well, I sent my laptop to fix on 12/14/06, and call Toshiba Support Center every week to check on the status. Guess what? Everytime I called, Toshiba Support told me that they haven't find the problem because Toshiba haven't send the part they ordered. Toshiba Support also said that Toshiba will send the part late somewhere in January 30, 2007. I don't know how long do they want me to wait because my classes are starting next week.

Anyway, I'll keep update here again later.

Posted at 01/03/2007 20:42:47 by Pheng

Tecra M4 Repair Adventure Begins - Day One

Same with me in Indonesia, i bought this M4 via buy.com.

After 1 years 2 month this problem came, screen become red.

When i bring to toshiba service centre, they ask USD 1100,- bcs they will change the mainboard and out off warranty bcs it contaminated with some liquid in mainboard.

Crazy product...whos going to repair the notebook when it cost USD1000??????????????

Now i'm not sure it's becouse off that since you all have same problem with me..

Again...it's crazzzy product...

Posted at 07/23/2007 10:31:17 by sur

Tecra M4 Repair Adventure Begins - Day One

Two years in, my tablet goes blank. Next day get an email from toshiba out of the blue saying "You've had your Toshiba notebook for two years now. As you know, mobile computer technology is constantly changing and customers like you demand better quality and affordability" Wow what a coincidence! Dont think the repair is worth the trouble especially since its out of warranty. Think an apple sound good about now. Toshiba has lost another customer.

Posted at 09/11/2007 19:55:42 by Soli

Tecra M4 Repair Adventure Begins - Day One

My tecra m4 has turned out to be a nightmare.

My tecra m4 is only two and a half years old.

It no longer works. I took it to an authorized dealer and they tell me its the motherboard. They are charging me $1,142.00 to repair. They are out of their minds!!! I plan to have the dealer copy my files to disks, I'll plan to call toshiba to complain and I'm gonna buy me a Mac. Screw toshiba!!!

Don't buy their products!!!!

Posted at 10/11/2007 21:01:31 by IG

Tecra M4 Repair Adventure Begins - Day One

Im typing this on a Toshiba Tecra M4. Its filled with shitware and it freezes ALL THE TIME! Its been in constant sleepmode due to its crashing habit if I try to restart it. This laptop truly deserves the nuclear bomb.

Toshiba is my nemesis. I WILL SPEAK OF YOUR EVIL TO ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted at 12/28/2007 13:42:43 by Jonas

Tecra M4 Repair Adventure Begins - Day One

My Tecra M4 had stripes and garbled graphics (even on boot) just a few months after buying it. My graphics GPU fan failed, overheating the chip and unseating it from the mainboard. Now I can get the tablet working again by getting the GPU really hot, but the clean graphics dont last long once put into use with a properly running fan. Toshiba really screwed the public on this one. Many reports of this problem and many complaints about service.

Posted at 01/23/2008 18:45:59 by Joseph

Tecra M4 Repair Adventure Begins - Day One

I stumbled on this blog and concur, the M4 is shit. In 18 months I've had 4 mother board replacements and now a screwed up battery charging circuit has ruined 2 new batteries and 1 older but good one, so it's going back for it's 5th major repair. Thankful that I bought the extended warrantee, but obviously I cannot rely on this device. Hopefully, Mack Camera who is obligated on the warrantee will realize that they'd be better off finding me a non-M4 replacement. By the way, all that screen stripinging that is mentioned is due to capacitors popping in the graphics circuitry. NVidia has the same problem on many Dell's as well, but it is still Toshiba's problem, ultimately.

Posted at 02/01/2008 16:39:46 by Craig

Tecra M4 Repair Adventure Begins - Day One

I was a Microsoft employee and used the Tecra M4 and loved it for over a year. I left MS and decided to get a used Tecra M4 since I thought it was good.

However the nightmare began and now I might as well buy something new for the price of repairing it. I did see some shops will for very little replace motherboard components instead of the whole motherboard but is that really the answer? Should I just sell this thing for parts or keep for my Grandkids to marvel at like we do with the old stone plows?


Posted at 04/04/2008 8:30:14 by Bryan Lubeck

re: Tecra M4 Repair Adventure Begins - Day One

Brian, I decided to keep my M4 and let my children use it as a dedicated tablet. I like the large screen. All of the problems I have had and the fan noice will prevent me from using it. My poor experience with Toshiba will make it a vary log time before I every buy or recommend Toshiba gear. I am very pleased with , my Lenovo X61 Tablet PC.

Posted at 04/06/2008 14:29:08 by Eric Mack

Tecra M4 Repair Adventure Begins - Day One

I have had my Tecra M4 for since April '06 with with only occasional lock-up or freeze issues on certain software programs - something a reboot would always fix. A bit of a nuisance but I have tolerated it. Now I am having screen problems for the past 3-4 months and am at a point where I can no longer look at the screen without going blind! Areas that should be white are a beautiful shade of aqua (although other areas show a bright white), and I have just in the past week noticed the issue stated above by several users that blacks are now red. I also notice lines running from tip to bottom of the screen. Based on what has been posted above, where do I stand? Is this an LCD replacement, wiring, a board , or does anyone really know? I would like to fix this unit but do not want to send it off based on the horror stories above. Looking for advise, can this be fixed or is it time to scrap? Other than the current screen issues I really do love my laptop.. please advise. Rich

Posted at 12/13/2008 10:16:17 by Rich Ollier

re: Tecra M4 Repair Adventure Begins - Day One

Rich, I resolved to enjoy my M4 as long as it lasts and then not to purchase or recommend any more Toshiba computer products until they can demonstrate that their customer service has improved.

Posted at 12/13/2008 11:45:09 by Eric Mack

Tecra M4 Repair Adventure Begins - Day One

the screen on my tecra m4 doesn't display anything . It simply stays off . All the lights come on and the fan buzzez randomly but the screen will not work! . Hooking it up to an external monitor doesn't work either.

I simply don't have the money to get this fixed or buy a new laptop so it looks like I will be without one for quite a while :(

Posted at 03/23/2009 17:31:04 by peter whittington

Tecra M4 Repair Adventure Begins - Day One

Hi Peter, Press F8 and turn the laptop on. Start in Safe mode. Delete the Nvidia drivers in CP. Restart and look for latest Nvidia Driver.

Posted at 05/04/2009 0:04:41 by lloong

Tecra M4 Repair Adventure Begins - Day One

I bought my Tecra M4 in 2005. It was heavy, and its battery wouldn´t last that long, but was an excellent experience while it lasted. However, last year (May 2009) it died. The video chipset apparently overheated and failed. The warranty period expired a couple of months before the failure. The worst thing was my experience with the Toshiba authorised repair centers. By chance I was staying in Argentina where the official representative has no interest in repairing machines outside the warranty period. All my dealings with the recommended repair services was a nightmare. They charged me $300 USD in advance to later discover that they misdiagnosed the failure. All this took months and still today (May 2010) I don´t have my Tecra M4 repaired, and they haven´t returned my $300 USD. Toshiba disn´t do a thing to help or to guide me with the problem. Unfortunately, the reputation of Japanese manufacurers and its client support systems are going down the drain. I still would like my Tecra M4 repaired but can´t find who, where or how to do it for under $850 USD. They told me that I need to change its MOBO, but according to several blog entries, there´s an overheating problem that needs to be addressed. My question: does anybody know anything about this problem, and how to solve it? Right now, I´m in Argentina, but will soon move for a job in HK. Any help will be appreciated. Thank you.

Posted at 05/22/2010 16:01:11 by Alberto

Discussion for this entry is now closed.