WHY when you CALL a COMPUTER Call Center DO THEY say to REFORMAT your HARD DRIVE

United States
April 19, 2007 3:39pm CST
I have a Dell computer and love it, but think I was blessed with a lemon, I have had so many problems with and each time I call to Dell Tech Support (thank goodness for extended warranties) the first thing out of their mouth is that we need to reformat my hard drive, no diagnostic tests, nothing just let's do this. I find it so irrating and it always hits such a nerve. Today the first tech wanted to reformat my hard drive, immediately I asked for a supervisor and after sitting on the phone with a supervisor for 2 hours we resolved my issues without having to reformat my hard drive, in fact the supervisor said it was not necessary and not even anything he was going to ask me to do to my computer. So my question is has this ever happened to you? I reformated my hard drive 3 times last year and come to find out those were not necessary but the easy first solution.
4 people like this
20 responses
@sensesfail (2251)
• India
20 Apr 07
Statistics say that most of the computer problems are caused mainly when the operating system crashes or due to viruses.The OS crash can be repaired,it is possible but if there are chances for viruses to be present in it then there goes your system again.It could get you into problems causing you to call the call center again. So to avoid all these, the simplest solution to soft problems like OS crash or viruses is to just format the computer.This is the easiest and very effective too.It could sometimes lead to data loss if important data is not properly backed up. That is the main reason why the call center friends answer us this way.But if its something got to do with the hardware failure,formatting the system is not an option at all.The failure point has to be detected and the appropriate hardware has to be replaced.Hope this helped much.
2 people like this
• United States
20 Apr 07
Thanks for that great answer, you make it sound so much logical than what I perceived.
• India
20 Apr 07
well thanks for the best response.Glad to know that you understood what i was trying to say.
• United States
20 Apr 07
This happened to me before on several occasion. From my experience there is only one thing that I can say: the "tech" people usually have no idea what they are talking about. I have a feeling that nearly all these computer companies are outsourcing their technical support and usually the people on the other end of the phone line go by a list of answers that they have. When I try to explain something to them, they have no idea what they are even talking about 99% of the time. The answer that I get from most of them are the typical and expected ones such as, "you're gonna need to get your hard reformatted" or "you're gonna have to send it into us and we'll replace your hard drive" Because of all the bad experience that I have with these computer technical support, I've never really depended on them ever since I became more familiar with computers. I never buy extended warranties from any of them, because its just a waste of money I think. Those people really have no idea what they're talking about since they aren't trained an usually they are people who are working as outsource for the company, so that means they their accent might be hard to understand.
2 people like this
• United States
5 Jun 07
Yeah I know for a fact that Dell outsources it tech support, most of the time it is in India or some country far away, whenever I would get real angry with them they would send me to acceleration department (I think because my temper was accelerated, lol) but it was in Austin, I believe it was the only department of Dell that was not outsourced. Thanks for your response, it is truly appreciated.
@mirage108 (3403)
• United States
19 Apr 07
I have 3 Dell Computers and I have been lucky I had to call them one time and the tech that I got didnt say anything about reformating. His first step was, as my system was running real slow, was to have me run msconfig then goto the start up tap and disable all items running at start up. low and behold this fixed the issue I only had to restart the items I wanted to run at start up ie my messanger programs. Before I went and turned on my messanger programs he had me look through the windows add / remove programs from control panel. I read to him what was installed and when we came to the MSN tool bar that had indexing on it and uninstalled that and after that was done all my problems were gone. so no no tech support ever asked me to redo my HD
2 people like this
• United States
20 Apr 07
Feel fortuate mirage108 I have had to call Dell so many times that today they told me that if I wanted to swap my computer out with a brand new computer they would do that, I was going to until they said there was a 5 day period where I would not have a computer, I couldn't handle a day at home with no computer, I would go nuts, so I chose my second option, which was to fix the problem. Simple enough, it was my anti virus program making me freeze up, a few changes and I am up and running.
1 person likes this
@gberlin (3836)
19 Apr 07
I think you answered your own question in your last sentence. Reformatting your hard drive is the easiest solution. I have had a Dell for 5 years now and I have only reformatted it once because I was having trouble deleting stuff that I did not want anymore and I wanted to upgrade to windows xp anyway. I did not bother to call tech support.
• United States
19 Apr 07
It feels like they are reading it from a manual on what to do, drives me crazy, thanks for responding
@avonrep1 (1862)
• United States
20 Apr 07
Dells customer service since being out sourced to India, for lack of a better term sucks. I have three Dell Computers, and our last one we had fatal problems ever other day. It took me 11 months to get them to send us a replacement and them over another month to get it. Sorry that you are having problems with Dell. P.S. Though they say that their new employees know about computers, I was an IT major, they don't know anything, or at least the reps I have talked to haven't. I went through 38 different representatives of the company, plus over another 20 in Tech support. I know more than they do.
@jhartana (1085)
• Australia
20 Apr 07
They thought reformatting is the way to go to solve computer problem. While I tend to agree with this one however by reformatting the hard disk will create an extra layer on top of disc, making the head harder and slower to read. Too many reformats will lead to having many bad clusters and will eventually destroy the hard disk. I think it's best to fix the problem without reformatting hard disk, like repair Windows installation. You can also defragment hard disk regularly to prevent errors.
2 people like this
@cloud69 (113)
• Philippines
20 Apr 07
Maybe the Tech. support personnel you have talked to don't know anything that is why he wanted you to start from scratch that way you will be always assured that you problem will be fixed since you've got a clean install not knowing that it would be a burden on your part to reinstall all the software that didn't come with their system recovery cd.
2 people like this
• United States
19 Apr 07
You know why? because that's the easiest way to solve general problems about computers. And if i were the person that you talked to on Dell, i would say that to save time for me and because of my laziness too. But i am not that kind, i am just telling you my opinion on the situation. I think that's how it goes, for me.
2 people like this
@brokentia (10396)
• United States
20 Apr 07
I have found that seems to be their generic answer. If it is something that they think will take too long to figure out, re-format your hard drive and it will set it back to the default standards. Then, it is a quick and easy fix as you said. Heck! When my partner can not figure out what is wrong with the computer, even HE says that he needs to wipe it out and re-format the hard drive. Grrr!!! I find this very frustrating! And you know...I have read about your problems with Dell. And I can't help but say...I don't think I will ever get a Dell now. Even your keyboard seems to be a lemon! ha ha Sorry, not funny! But you seriously have had many problems...I just really feel for you!
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Apr 07
Tell me about Tia, I think I got a lemon on this Dell computer, although this is my third Dell to own and they have always stood behind their computers, in fact, yesterday they told me they would send me out a brand new computer if I wanted one, which I am considering if something else goes wrong. Thanks for responding.
@blueman (16513)
• India
20 Apr 07
no, didn't have such tech support, i think the guy at the tech support just want do his job the easy way and not bothered about your real problem.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Apr 07
I think that also, thanks for responding
@marciascott (25554)
• United States
20 Apr 07
Lori, I can't help you there, I know nothing about hard drives. did you finally get it together? You need to get it to work right so it doesn't interfere with Myot, We don't wont that.
• United States
20 Apr 07
Hey sweety, yeah I got it fixed, thank goodness, hopefully it will last awhile
@emeraldisle (13145)
• United States
20 Apr 07
If it helps you are not the first person, not even the tenth actually, that I have heard say similar things about their Dell Computer, that they got a lemon. I've heard it a lot and how they have had to reformat their computer several times a year due to system crashes. I have no clue as to why their system keeps crashing but I hear it more from Dell owners then anyone else. So please know you aren't alone in that. I do agree that most tech support and other computer operators I know default to reformating. It's the quickest and easiest thing to do for many of them. Why should they look through everything and try to find what is wrong when they can be back up and running in a few hours time by just reformating. Where as if they have to search for the problem, find a way to fix it, and then fix it they could be at it for far longer. I'm not saying they are right but I can understand the thinking.
@scammerwear (1433)
• Singapore
20 Apr 07
I was onsite IT support for a MNC a few years back. Like most support dept, we were under-staffed and ill-trained. Most of the time we just do the best we can with what we already know, and move on to the next case. It's the ugly truth, but with 20~30 cases a day, you just don't really have 2 hours to sit down with a user. Sometimes we KIV cases for weeks, in the end. Formating your hard drive might up with being the quickest solution.
@jasonsian (231)
• Malaysia
20 Apr 07
Formatting hard drive is the easiest way to solve problems. But that's what I dont like too. Since I assemble my computer myself, I have no choice but to format my computer myself. It's really hard to choose what files to keep and what to format as I am not able to backup all of the files. As for your problem, I would recommend you to use Ghost or Windows System Restore. This will decrease your need of formatting your hard drive as you can restore your computer to an earlier time when trouble comes.
1 person likes this
@jennybianca (12914)
• Australia
20 Apr 07
I have had that happen. I refuse to reformat my computer unless absolutely necessary.It creates all sorts of problems with loosing data, etc. SI think some computer technicians suf=ggest the reformat as it is the easist way to fix a problem, for them....
@santuccie (3374)
• United States
5 Jun 07
A reward for patience --------------------- Hi texasclassygal, Have you ever heard of a drive imaging program? It saves not only data files, but you entire operating system, settings, drivers, and all. I never get viruses or anything like that, thanks to my knowledge in security software, but I do test out new programs from time to time, in endless effort to stay current. Anything can happen when you do what I do. There are lots of Windows applications out there that may have compatibility issues with others, or just plain bad programming; next thing you know, your CPU is at 100% utilization, your cooling fans go into overdrive, and your mouse pointer is frozen. Some of these buggers are even bad enough to cripple System Restore, and really exacerbate things. Using a drive imaging program, such as Acronis True Image, you can get everything back exactly as it was when you had your computer right where you wanted it. You can even split an image into volumes of a preset size and burn to DVDs or CDs, which you can use to load the image onto a brand, new hard drive when the one you have finally fails. Sure, some problems can be fixed without having to blast the hard drive and load it all back up, but some can't. At the very least, you can create your own restore media, and save yourself hours upon hours of reinstalling, copying, and customizing if and when the worst does happen. Lots of luvs from California! -santuccie P.S.: Laughing at dumb jokes is still good for your health!!!
@santuccie (3374)
• United States
5 Jun 07
Oops! I guess I didn't erase Notepad completely. "A reward for patience" is from a discussion I just started. Sorry about that! :P
• United States
5 Jun 07
Goodness Santuiccie thanks for the heads up, do you know where I can get such a software in case I ever do have to reformat my hard drive?? You seem like a great guy to be friends, so knowledgeable on these kind of matters .. are you my friend?
@santuccie (3374)
• United States
5 Jun 07
Acronis True Image 10 Home - "A complete backup solution for your entire PC and important user data!" -Acronis
Hi,I've invited you to my friends list, if you care to accept.:) Most electronics stores carry Acronis True Image in the software section. I've uploaded a photo so you can see what the box looks like. I don't know what the price is where you're at, but it's fifty bucks here.
• Philippines
24 Mar 08
Usually the tech support would recommend that to shorten the call. As you say, it is the easiest solution. Tech supports have metrics that they have to follow and that includes the call handling time. Sadly, most reps would result to this and not provide good customer service.
• United States
4 May 07
What a crock! Unfortunately they will take the easy and fastest way out before doing what they should do! I would definitely make a complaint and perhaps even one in writing telling them what has happened. It should be well documented in their own system.
@VotreAmie (3037)
• United States
23 Apr 07
It seems that they always say reformat your hard drive because it's the simplest thing to do for them of course not for us. They don't want to sit there on the phone for long hours trying to figure out where the problem is. Good for you to ask for the supervisor. I know the hassle about reformatting the hard drive because my computer crashed few months ago and I was devastated by all the work I had to do to put my data back. Thanks for the information next time a technician asks me to reformat I will ask to talk to the supervisor.
@estherlou (5017)
• United States
22 Apr 07
We were constantly reformatting our hard drive about a year ago, and all we needed was more operating speed and RAM. We now have a new computer and it happens to be a Dell. I don't even know how to talk to "a real person" with Dell. I'm glad you were helped!