Bill's Blog

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

HP Settles Recovery CD Lawsuit

I got my notice of the proposed settlement well over a month ago and the court just approved the settlement. I figured I'd post about it, not only because I am involved, but also because its making rounds a few places and I am opinionated when it comes to the whole Recovery CD/Hidden Partition.

When I purchased the HP system two years ago at Best Buy, there was nothing to indicate that Recovery CDs were not included in the box (as they had been with every other computer I had ever purchased). When I first fired up the PC, I was prompted to create the recovery CDs. I attempted to run the CD creation process, following the directions on screen. Long story short, it didn't work. I made several calls to HP expressing my difficulties and finally managed to get a supervisor to authorize shipment of recovery CDs at no charge. I was relieved two weeks later that I had gone through the hassle of getting the discs, cause I needed them to reinstall the OS after a few patches didn't install correctly.

Fast forward to this past winter when I was obtaining some new Gateway laptops for the company I work for. I (again) was not informed ahead of time that they were moving away from shipping Recovery CDs. Their CD creating program did not work either (if I recall correctly, no matter what happened during the creation process, the verification process always failed - which stopped you at Disc 1). I still have not gotten them to ship CDs to me, though I am told you can order Discs with new systems now (similar to the Dell setup). After about a week, Gateway did supply me with a patched Recovery CD creator which skipped the verification stage and allowed me to burn the discs I needed.

As an IT Manager and heavy computer user, I see hard drives fail constantly. I understand there are problems with longevity of optical media and people misplacing discs, but I cannot understand why the PC manufacturers are getting away from including recovery CDs. If they want to include the separate partition, that's fine. But consumers should be told this ahead of time and given the option (both at the time of purchase and after the fact) to purchase Recovery Media. As Ed Bott, author and computer journalist, points out:

If you use Windows XP, you should have a Windows CD. Period. (One good reason: In Windows XP Home Edition, the Windows Backup program is in the Support folder and isn't installed by default. Backup is a good thing.)

PC Manufacturers like Gateway, Sony, Dell, and HP need to get back to the tried and true Recovery Discs. One for the OS, one for drivers, and as many for bundled applications as they need.

To find out if you are eligible for this settlement, click here.


Engadget: HP settles hidden partition suit
Ed Bott: Hidden partition vs. a real Windows CD
Dukes/Dolan v. Hewlett-Packard Settlement Web Site

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17 Comments:

  • I agree with you. I own a Compaq and I did not get a recovery disc. Nor was I included in the lawsuit. Which I feel is unfair. Compaq is made by HP and I have to go to there site to order parts for my machine.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 27 August, 2005 23:34  

  • If you do not qualify under the HP settlement, I would contact the lawyers that took the original case and see if they are interested in forming a class of Compaq users (assuming the circumstances are the same - the issue wasn't just that they did not provide a copy of XP's “ValueAdd” and “Support” folders).

    Related to this, my father just purchased an HP machine last week (I installed it for him over the weekend) and his did not come with recovery CDs. We haven't run through the recovery media creation program to see if the whole of XP is available for restoration or not.

    I wonder, with such a minimal cost for creating this media, why HP won't just include it in the box. Even if just for PR purposes.

    By Blogger Bill Blankmeyer, at 29 August, 2005 13:42  

  • The settlement was for only HP computers. I would check to see if your Fathers new HP qualifies for the free recovery disc.

    All I can really add to it is, I would NEVER buy another Compaq or HP computer again. Our first PC was an E-Machine. Never gave us any problem. Just quite using it when it got too small for us. I upgraded to my Compaq 18 months ago. If I would have realize what kind of headache I would be having. I would have bought the E I was looking at and bought the upgrades that attracted me to the Compaq. (DVD burner ect.)

    I did e-mail the lawyers, but have not heard from them yet. I finally broke down and ordered a recovery disc from HP. My compaq did come with a Support folder, I think. If that is what they want to call the program to make a recovery disc. However, the program to make a recovery disc is horrible to master. I made a disc, but I feel that something went wrong. Cause I had to reboot from the disc about 8 months ago when my system completely crashed. To make a long story short. Since then I had to reboot my system 4 months ago and it is acting really funny again. At first I thought it was a virus, but nothing. It come back clean. I also noticed that my RP part of the hard drive went from 13% free to 15%. The question in the back of my mind, Did I lose 2% of my info and is this why I am having so much problems? Sometimes I wished that I had my own answers for my questions. Then I would not so upset with my PC at times. So currently, I am waiting for my order from HP, so I can reboot from that disc. Then it is a wait and see if I have any problems in 4 months.

    Any ideas where I can have my system scanned for errors or virus. Currently I have had Norton's scan my system for viruses and like I have said. It come back clean from any known viruses ect.

    Thanks for you input.

    By Blogger Tracy, at 31 August, 2005 06:55  

  • Tracy,

    I just rechecked the settlement and my fathers is not one of the models listed. There are a couple possibilities for that, and I need to get in front of his computer again to determine which one it might be.

    HP and Compaq computers are not bad, and neither are E-Machines - though I've had problems with all three brands in the past. Occasionally, there will be a pc that will give you headaches. Some of that will relate back to the manufacturer, but some of it also lies with the user and the software being used.

    As far as the problems you are having, what do you mean by "acting funny"? You say you ran a Norton Anti-virus check on it that came up empty. Have you tried running any anti-adware/spyware programs that will search for other types of malicious software? A couple I would recommend to try would be Spybot Search and Destroy and Lavasoft Ad-Ware.

    I would also recommend trying another anti-virus scanner. I do not mean you need to replace Norton, just that running a second one when something seems wrong, is not a bad option. A free scanner for home/personal use is AVG Anti-Virus. I would download the program, disable Norton (it's not a good idea to have two anti-virus programs enabled at the same time), install AVG, update the definitions (also it wouldn't be a bad idea to check and make sure your Norton defs are up to date), and run a full system scan.

    The "Support" folder I was referring to would not be on your computer necessarily, but should be on the recovery disc you created (along with the "ValueAdd" folder). These folders are included on the regular MS Windows XP disc, but for the computers involved in this settlement, were not included in the recovery backup. In essence, HP was not providing customers with the whole of Windows XP. That was one of the major issues in this settlement.

    Good luck with your computer. I hope you get it back up and running smoothly. If I can answer any more questions, please let me know.

    Bill

    By Blogger Bill Blankmeyer, at 31 August, 2005 09:07  

  • What it is doing is, I will try to explain it. About every 5 mintues or so a box will appear in my task bar. Like my sysytem is being watched or monitored. Then disappear. Has time goes by, the box will appear more and more. Then once it gets down to about 2 mintues apart. My task manger will go nuts and all my exe. files & programs will stop working. Making my system crash. Right know the processes are starting, first sign is, I cannot restore nor can I get to my HD that has my recovery part to restore from there. So right know I am waiting for a good recovery disc from HP. So I can reboot my system from that. Instead of using one of my DVD's that I have made. Which I am being to feel might be the ticking time bomb.

    I have tried both the programs that you have told me about. Nothing, my system comes back clean. That is what is so confusing right know. All signs point to something. But nothing can be found.

    Thanks for you in put. All you input has been wonderful.

    Let me know if you having any ideas what is going on. Cause right know, most people I have talked about do not have any ideas and I was beinning to think I was seeing things. Til I hook my vcr up to my video card and recoreded my desk top and caught it on tape to show my family. Convincing them I was not nuts. that there is something going wrong.

    Once again I thank you from my bottom of my heart.

    By Blogger Tracy, at 01 September, 2005 00:34  

  • That is a very interesting set of occurrences. Most likely it is something virus or trojan related. When you get the recovery CDs from HP, run through those.

    If that doesn't solve your issue, I would check the computers memory (RAM). It's a long shot, but I have seen memory issues create a number of strange symptoms.

    Also, if your PC is still under warranty, I'd contact HP and see what they say. If the clean install from the recovery CDs doesn't fix it.

    By Blogger Bill Blankmeyer, at 01 September, 2005 12:30  

  • there is a way to build yourself a recovery disc

    see it at http://2daystip.blogspot.com/2005/05/build-xp-sp2-recovery-disc.html

    it worked for me...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10 October, 2005 17:07  

  • Bill,
    First, I received the notice of the case, and both of my HP's, laptop and desktop were purchased in 2002, which made me qualify. I received some disks with notices enclosed saying this:
    Dear Class Member:
    Enclosed please find the CD-ROMs that are being sent to you in connection with the form of relief you selected when filing a claim in the above-named matter. Please note we are including two versions of the ValueAdd and Support CD, one for Windows XP Home Edition and one for Windows XP Professional Edition. Only use the version that corresponds to your version of the Windows operating system. For example, if you have the Home version of Windows XP, only use the HOme Version of the ValueAdd and Support CD.
    Then it says for additional information to go to the website, which you have posted in one of the replies here...www.computersettlement.com...and it doesn't work anymore.
    The reason I'm telling you this is that the CD-ROMs I received do not work on either of my machines. They first sent me Home Edition, and both of mine are Pro, plus, when I went to put them into the laptop, and I have no idea which these are for (plus there is only one set, so who knows...are they proprietary to a certain machine?), the screen came up saying it isn't meant for this machine's system. So, I'm no better off than I was when the case came about, and the laptop has suddenly done something I'd never seen before. When I boot up, instead of going through the normal boot, I get a black screen with about 4 pixel blocks in white in various places on the screen and the notice says the system could not start. So, I tried again, and nothing can be done as far as I can tell...It is driving me NUTS! Can you help at all?
    Deb

    By Anonymous Debra L Clark, at 08 April, 2006 21:38  

  • Debra,

    Sorry, I did not get back to you earlier.

    If I were in your shoes, I would contact HP (through normal technical support channels) and explain to them that the discs they sent as part of the settlement do not work for your machines. Maybe you got a bad set or something. If HP is unwilling to help you out, I would recommend either contacting the lawyers in the case (even thought they've already finished their part of the case, they may be willing to direct you to a source of the correct discs) or you could contact HP about the possibility of purchasing replacement recovery discs. HP probably offers something for like $15-50 for those who have lost discs. In fact, one of the other commentors eluded to purchasing recovery discs from HP.

    By Blogger Bill Blankmeyer, at 11 April, 2006 14:20  

  • Bill,
    Okay, so you say to contact HP, but how do I get hold of the attorneys? Like I said in my first commentary, the website for the case does not work anymore...so that's out, and I do not even have the paperwork from the original case (my fault, I guess when I thought it was over, I threw them out), so I don't even have their names.

    I'll try the HP route first, and if I find out anything I'll let you know. I'm not about to pay for something they were supposed to have with the machines in the first place! I now have an ACER laptop, which is actually working now, compared to that stupid screen on the HP, I still don't know what happened, and why it did, all of a sudden.

    Thanks,
    Deb

    By Anonymous Debra L Clark, at 12 April, 2006 03:17  

  • Debra,

    This site http://www.casesettlementpage.com/ appears to allow you to email one of the attorneys involved in the case and submit questions. I would try that route.

    By Blogger Bill Blankmeyer, at 12 April, 2006 08:27  

  • hi, you know the i have with purchasing replacement recovery discs from hp, hp requires a credit card, which i do not have, so there is no way i can obtain these discs. their suggestion to borrow a credit card.
    tks rosemary

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 07 May, 2006 17:51  

  • This is for tracy, I also have an hp xp and have similar problems as you with the exception of the boxes that you said pop up alot. You may wanna try a registry cleaner, I found loads of problems I had on there that weren't picked up by norton or spybot that I installed.I did not get a recovery disc either, and my computer has crashed and is slow , and ive done everything I can think of , not being a pc wiz kid tho hee hee, I took all pics off and did restore many times, cleaned disc and cleared temp files etc, defragged, I'm just lost now, but my start programs are slow and sluggish, sometimes when i click to exit a window half of it will be left on the screen. The registry cleaner does fix some things but like everything in this old world you have to perchase the full registry cleaner for it to fix everything, or so it's been told to me. I hope this helps you tracy, good luck and keep fingers crossed for me lol take care all Phil - Memphis Tn.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 06 June, 2006 02:42  

  • HP, great company, but what a bunch of bubble headed morans for not including the recovery CD's. I'd like to know what the focus group was smoking and why they didn't at least include that.

    I've spent endless hours trying to find the correct HP recovery cd for a friends system, thinking, "Oh hell, that's easy, I'll help you out" What a journey I've been on. I'd like (5) minutes in a padded room with these propeller heads.

    Here's a suggestion HP - JUST MAKE A DAMN "HP HOME EDITION RECOVER CD" AND OFFER A LINK ON YOUR WEBSITE FOR A FREE DOWNLOAD. Now there's a freak'in revalation.

    Sometimes people can't see the forest through the trees.

    Jim Cory
    "The Karokee King"
    Go 43!
    "My King didn't die on a toilet seat"

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 30 October, 2006 19:37  

  • what ever happen with the class action suit: dukes/dolan vs. hewlett packard. i was one to receive the class action notice in the mail back in 2005. i go to the websites but they are no longer there.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 31 July, 2007 06:19  

  • Did you read the original post? If you were part of the Class, you should have received notice in the mail giving you the option to obtain recovery CDs at HP's expense. I received my set.

    By Blogger Bill, at 31 July, 2007 07:55  

  • Dear Bill,

    I need your Help,please....
    Name : Fernando Sitorus
    Address : Jl.H.Mahali No.50 Rt 01/04
    Pondok Cina
    Depok 16424
    Indonesia
    Email : ciapudan@yahoo.com
    Cell : +62-21-81510324733
    I had purchase HP Media Center 200y from bestbuy in new york 0n september 2003, and nobody tell me about this partition and I brought the computer to indonesia.In somereason, I didn't open the boxes and didn't set up my computer till 2007.
    In april 2007, I start to open the boxes and set up my computer, but everything was error, and I dont chance to create the recovery disc. I do contact HP, but the suggest me to purchase the recovery from website. for the information I'm not one of member of HP settlement, and I just read your blog.
    I extremly need this recovery.
    Thank you so much
    have a good day.

    By Blogger ciapudan, at 20 August, 2007 03:38  

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